November 30, 2006

Bring back the A-Team

It's an entertaining premise, this one. Some crackers Brit has apparently convinced channel 4 to give him enough cash to fly to LA and spend a couple of weeks trying to get all the A-Team guys back together.

By the end, it proves that persistance, good nature, and freakishness will get you pretty far in this here world.

Take a gander, but beware that some of the language is not work-safe:

November 29, 2006

Check the cool wax again

There isn't much more that'll get you into the season than some cool christmas music.

I'm so eager for our first snow day and all the ornaments getting onto the tree this weekend.

November 28, 2006

Guerrilla blogging

Turns out that there is truly something new in the world of blogging for education.

There's the Guerilla Season blog project in which students from a Missouri school are holding a book discussion as big as the continent, involving students from schools in California and a few places a little closer to Missouri.

I think that might actually be envy that I'm feeling.

November 27, 2006

Wabash Forever...Co-Ed Never!

A week or so ago, a friend of mine sent me a link to an article in the Indy Star about Wabash College.

The title of the article reads Steeped in tradition or stuck in the past? with the subtitle Wabash College's all-male heritage is a point of both pride and introspection, and it's not a bad little article. It opens with a poor quoting of the Gentleman's Rule - the only code of conduct enforced at Wabash:
The student is expected to conduct himself at all times, both on and off the campus, as a gentleman and a responsible citizen.
The article continues to do a decent job of exploring some of the issues raised in Wabash's continued existance as a single-sex institution - all from a decidedly liberal slant, leaning toward the side of "why stay all-male?" rather than from a "what is good about staying all-male" angle.

Brian's simple question to me was Thoughts?, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to throw down my general thoughts about Wabash specifically as relates to its status as an all-male institution of higher learning.

In the abstract, I am probably pretty opposed to the concept of single-sex education. Any group that excludes people on a wholesale basis - be they whites, women, hispanics, Muslims, plumbers, or left-handed gay accountants, is anathema to the very spirit of these here great United States of America, and I went to Wabash as a stupid freshman who was probably in favor of Wabash becoming a co-ed school - as are at least some of the former students and at least current faculty member certainly still echo this sentiment, going so far as to refer to the current single-sex environment of Wabash College as An Albatross Around Our Necks.

And, in spite of all of that, I will fight for the continuation of Wabash's grandest tradition - its all-male identity - with every ounce of my spirit and hope until my last breaths.

Wabash is a unique place, one that is more special to me than is nearly any other place that I have every been lucky to know. I spent three years (one year spent overseas in Aberdeen) at Wabash and would struggle to find a place that I can imagine being more important in shaping who I am as an adult, a man, and a person. I was challenged intellecutally more at Wabash - inside the classrooms, at late-night discussions back at the fraterntiy house, and around campus - than I ever was before and in ways that I rarely have been since.

I learned about friendship at Wabash - admittedly, friendship with other men, primarily - and what it means to be able to lift up your brother and friend while at the same time challenging his way of thinking or going about his life without tearing him down. I learned how to challenge thoughts instead of the thinker behind them. And I was pushed more academically than I ever have been since or even remotely was before my time at Wabash.

Wabash is a place that can foster the most base instincts of young men - drunken frat parties, immature hazing, and sadly misogynistic jokes of the worst kind. It is the culture of the male sports locker room stretched over a four-year education, and there is little hope that every aspect of such a culture could possibly be positive.

There are, without a doubt, asses at Wabash. I knew a number of students - some of whom were certainly fraternity brothers of mine - who I would be loathe to say were on their way to becoming the gentlemen that Wabash purports to produce. This would certainly be the case at any institution - be it of college-aged students or much older "adults".

But Wabash made me, and it has made a great number of other outstanding men who would not be who they turned out to be if they had not been given the opportunity to attend Wabash College. For that reason alone, I will join the chorus of voices who long sing thy praise, Old Wabash!

If you're interested in knowing what Wabash College truly is like, take a while and visit the campus. Ask around what the professors and students think make it unique, why they think the college should stay all-male or why they think it might be better as a co-ed school.

I'll place money that the answer to "what makes Wabash unique" won't be the all-maleness, the local bars, the social scene, or anything that you might expect to hear. It'll be the tradition, the familial atmosphere, the common cause of 850+ men joined in a common pursuit of making themselves into the best that they possibly can be.

I doubt that many of my friends who went to Purdue or Indiana University would give similar answers. You might hear about better basketball teams than we had at Wabash or bigger bar scenes or more famous faculty, but I don't know that I signed up for those when I went to college.

I have a ton of new websites that are relevant to my topic today, and I couldn't fit them all into my above post, so I'll just give a slightly annotated list of them here:

November 26, 2006

Celebrity vanity projects

Ok, I'm looking for a little help with today's post. I'm trying to hunt down the worst celebrity vanity projects on YouTube.

Here's what I've got so far:Can anybody find other examples?

And I'm not talking about celebrities making minor, dopey cameos like this. I'm looking for entire albums or songs and videos that are recorded just because the person is famous.

November 25, 2006

It's kind of a big deal

No matter what anybody says to you, size does matter.

For example, a scene that might be funny is going to be much, much funnier with midgets - especially if the project has Billy Barty.

And the flip side is true, often things are more entertaining if they're significantly larger than normal.

Ain't the bell curve great?

November 24, 2006


It's nice that so many people are willing to make so much stuff for you that there's an entire generator blog to offer free services to you.

Just this week alone, you could get a custom Pope Benedict quote, personalized medical scripts, your own Borat postcard, yourself Warholized, Captain Haddock insults, an evil santa, or custom dyslexic text.

And you can use them any way you want to.

November 23, 2006

Continuing the chicken theme

It's just about the dumbest game out there: Volley Pollo. You're a giant-headed cartoon chicken who uses that noggin to bounce around a volleyball to another giant-headed chicken.

There are no levels, no difficulty settings, no ability to really challenge yourself once you figure the game out, and yet I've probably played it a hundred times since yesterday.

For me, at least, it's been addictive.
Oh, and happy Thanksgiving.

November 22, 2006

Mike the Title-less Post

Ah, the glories of the headless chicken.

It seems that - in the olden days before the magical interweb - there was a chicken who became famous because his head was cut off but he didn't die.

Yup, today I offer you four links to go learn about Mike, the Headless Chicken:So, so weird...

November 21, 2006

Bond...Outstanding Bond

Thankfully, Bond is back.

The holiday movie season has begun in earnest for me as there are four or five movies that I want to see out in the theater for the first time since early summer: Stranger Than Fiction, Borat, Casino Royale, The Departed, and Fast Food Nation. Friday got me started into the season with a 4:15 Friday afternoon showing of the newest Bond flick: Casino Royale.

I am thrilled to say that this was easily the most enjoyable Bond movie in years - perhaps in decades. Daniel Craig carries himself as though he had been playing Bond for his entire life. Eva Green is gorgeous as Bond's love interest, and the story cracks with excitement and believability that have been lacking in the past half dozen Bond films.

Casino Royale has been written as a relaunch of the Bond franchise, returning the character to simpler roots and telling a tale of how he shifted from being James Bond to being Bond, James Bond, and the scribes have done a great job of distancing him from what has come before while staying true to the character and leaving in enough notes that show the building of the character that any Bond fan will consider things just right.

Spoiler warning: everything below should be read after seeing the film.

We open with Bond taking his second life and earning his double-O status and then move to Bond's first misstep as a double-O agent: entering a foreign embassy and killing an visibly unarmed captive on security camera footage that is given to the world press.

From there, the story begins in earnest with Bond picking up what will become his trademarks one by one: the Aston Martin, the martini - shaken, of course, the Walther PPK, and the tuxedo. Nothing seems forced, however, and Craig plays every discovery freshly and originally, bringing new life to a character that had become a suave parody of the interesting, rougher spy as which he had begun.

The traditional elements of a Bond film are all present: beautiful women, fast cars, card games, neat gadgets - but none of them are as over the top and ridiculous as they had begun to be in the last run of movies in the series. Instead of a hotel made of ice, we get a gorgeous, old-school European casino. Instead of a villian who threatens the world with a comandeered laser-firing spy sattelite, we get a villian whose job is to make money for terrorists.

Bond stops the bad guys through force of will and body, not through some form of pen that twists and becomes a helicopter. It's a refreshing change and is played straight, with almost none of the humor that had also come to become stale and trite in the run of Pierce Brosnan Bond films.

We enter the film knowing who James Bond was, and leave knowing that the overplayed, too suave for his own good super spy is no more.

The Bond is dead. Long live the Bond.

November 20, 2006

Mass Media Wasn't just a Class

All sorts of media have come and gone past my eyes and ears since I last mentioned any of it to you's a bit of catsup...

I'm starting to think that Nightwing might've been better off if they'd just killed him in Infinite Crisis. The further and further along this series has gotten - my reading culminating for now, at least, in Mobbed Up - the worse and more directionless it's gotten. They've seemingly tried just about every possible plot twist that they could imagine: Dick becomes a cop, Dick has a kid, Dick goes undercover, Dick becomes a frickin' mob enforcer.

C'mon...this is just crap. I have no clue where the storyline that lead to this was, nor do I care at all. Nightwing's character was written as being upstanding enough that there's no way at all that the actions of this trade are even remotely within that character.

This is piece of dreck that should be set free and slaughtered from the "One Year Later" jump. Nightwing has never found any sort of direction as a series, and it seems that it never is going to. Let it go, folks. It's toast.

The end of Greg Rucka's run really doesn't do much of a job selling the otherwise consistently high quality of the rest of his run. This trade is a jumbled mess trying to put together three different, very disparate storylines - the disappearance of the Olympian Gods, the battle between warring Amazonian tribes, and the coming/blossoming Infinite Crisis.

Rucks does about as much as he can manage with the storyline, providing an abortive battle for the control of Thymiscaria (or however it's spelled) and some sort of semi-understandable reasons for the Olympian Gods to do something or other about leaving this immortal realm.

The reasons don't really matter as the volume jumps back and forth between the storylines all while allowing Wonder Woman to do something about turning herself in to the United Nations for killing Maxwell Lord. She seems to think that she's no better than a normal person while also showing that she knows better than normal people and she has to ignore the same rules she forced herself under.

Read the rest of Rucka's run. It's far better than this trade's finale suggests.

Two not very good trades in a row. Let's see what we can do to change that around.

Ah, Ultimate Iron Man - finally some quality comic book action this go 'round. This is a very worthy addition to the ever impressive Marvel Ultimates Universe, allowing us to understand how this version of Tony Stark was born as a genius and aged into an interesting character.

Stark isn't the genius drunkard of Marvel's Earth-616. Instead, he's a child born with a couple of rather odd mutations because of his mother's scientific experimentations during Tony's gestation. Tony has more neural tissue than a normal person, and the trade off is that he's always in pain - until his first drink of champaigne. He's also a total mechanical genius who puts together a suit to protect himself and do a bit of defense contracting.

The writing is tight, and the twists from the original Iron Man storyline are excellent additions to the mythos. It all comes together into an excellent read, one that could have gone on much longer than the five-issue miniseries that it was written to be. Quality read...the first quality of the posting.

Jarhead isn't as bad as some folks made it out to be. It's a story of one soldier who is trained to kill anonymously and from long range. He spends his entire time in the Iraq war - Desert Shield cum Desert Storm and never fires a single shot. The entire movie is spent telling the story of time being killed, waiting, wondering about the girlfriends back home.

There's almost no action - certainly no real fighting - but we are given some phenomenal images of recreations of the burning oil fields of Kuwait as the soldiers attempt to cope with the destruction and isoltation, their own need for and avoidance of death and destruction.

There are great moments in this film. The burning oil fields, in particular, are the most striking images, staying with me after the film. Little elese, however, does. The film is a film of waiting and hoping - but never for anything that is quite definable or grasped by the filmmakers. Jarhead doesn't work, but it's a decent attempt.

I think, however, that it was done much better in The Thin Red Line.

Time for a random movie from the shelves of the Sharonville branch library. This one was Criminal, chosen because of the two big name members of the cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal and John C. Reilly. Both are pretty quirky, quality actors, the kind who haven't yet found a movie that they could truly headline entirely on their own - though Secretary came pretty close for Mags.

THis film is a tale of a con man conning a con man, both of whom get double crossed in the end - maybe. It's not entirely clear until the very end of the film who's been pulling the strings for the whole film, and once it does become clear, the movie ends well. Until then, however, the movie is a bit too clever for its own good, suggesting - but not quite revealing - an increasingly complex level of twists and double crosses, the two main characters never showing enough trust for each other to make either entirely likeable.

The film is clever. It's also well acted. The problem is that it's a bit too clever for its own good, and the characters aren't engaging enough to draw the viewer entirely into any emotional investment in the plotlines.

Criminal isn't quite good enough to be fully recommended, but it's not bad. The ending made for a much better film than did the rest of the movie. Two thumbs up for Maggie Gyllenhaal, though, who continues to choose quirky films while putting together a pretty decent resume so far.

The oversized JLA: Heaven's Ladder isn't a very good story. To quote the Silver Bullet review:
Heaven's Ladder is without a doubt the dumbest story - if you can call it that - since Mark Waid's "genius" reasoned that the JLA could not enter No Man's Land and do their job because of the infestations of Big. Yellow. Birds.

Heaven's Ladder attempts to be thought-provoking only to fail miserably. A child can see how this story misses the basics. It fails to entertain because it is too busy expounding upon an intensely parochial exploration of religion both real and fictional. It fails to distinguish the characters through their dialogue.
The plot is stupid. The artwork is overwraught. The concept is dumb.

And it's a weird size. Why? Why? Why?

So much crap in the superhero genre - which makes Alan Moore's Top 10: The Forty-Niners look so much more like an absolute gem.

The graphic novel is a prequel to Moore's maxi-series Top 10 which I haven't been able to hunt down from the library just yet, and all of the reviews state what I'll state: The Forty-Niners is excellent...not the finest that Moore's ever written, but excellent.

Moore's tale tells some of the backstory of Neopolis, the setting for Top 10, a city where everyone is superpowered, where the United States government has legislated that all these folks go.

The story could go in all sorts of directions, and does tease a few of those: vigilante powder keg, action adventure, mystery; but the true story is of the small, totally human missteps, slights, and discriminations that the characters are a part of. Using superheroes, Moore has crafted an entirely human tale.

The characters aren't black and white charactures as we often see of stories set in the 1940's - with gorgeously pale artwork from Gene Ha. Instead, they are rich, nuanced people who allow Moore to reflect on the changes that came in our society in the post-war years.

Excellent...and full of tons of easily-missed details...

It took me a long while to get into Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions. The early parts are so disjointed - intentionally so - and hard to hold onto the story thread that I struggled with enjoying the book (on tape, admittedly).

By the end, however, I was absolutely ready to yet again sing Vonnegut's praises most highly.

By the end of the book, Vonnegut has crafted a gorgeous exploration of the relationship between an author and the characters he has created, how each influences the other rather than the typical one-way street.

Vonnegut inserts himself deeply into the story and brings forth characters from a great number of his books: Eliot Rosewater, Kilgore Trout, Francine Pefko, Kazak, and many more. The book is Vonnegut's gift to himself on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday, on which he has chosen to set free his creations.

Vonnegut's novel is spectacular and difficult. He has crafted a gorgeous work of meta-fiction. Next up for me from his work is either going to be Cat's Cradle or Galápagos. It likely won't be the supposedly rought translation of the book into film.

Oh my lord, did Spamalot stink.

At $50 a seat for the cheap seats three levels above the deck, we found ourselves looking down on a number of recycled gags, hackneyed jokes, and few - if any - original ideas. From the moment nearly every character stepped on-stage, the punchlines and situations were predictable and rote.

Few original laughs were had in the evening - the French castle guards being the lone bright spot - and the only people that I would predict truly enjoyed the night were the people who watch the film week in and week out.

If you laugh at Monty Python's The Holy Grail regularly and continue to enjoy it thoroughly, then you'll likely love the traveling performance of the musical.

If you don't, you won't.

C'mon, to give you an idea of how thoroughly devoid of funny gags this thing was, they actually broke into Peanut Butter Jelly Time.

With Book 4, the Promethea series continues to wander further and further from traditional comic storytelling as Promethea wraps up her journey through the Kaballic (sp?) and search for something.

I've wavered from positive to negative about Promethea in my journey through the series, and this volume finds me feeling more of the same. In a paper for one of my Kent State classes two weeks ago, I commented that what we're doing on the internet educationally is, to a great extent, no different from what could be done without the internet. We're reading text and watching videos, things we could entirely have done (with a different format, admittedly) before we went online.

Alan Moore's Promethea certainly cannot be accused of doing the same with graphic novels. Moore takes steps so far away from anything that other graphic novel writers and artists have done that the series is a true revelation. As such, however, it is often difficult to follow and enjoy. This might be a comment on my intelligence, my understanding, or even my openness to new things - or it might be that Promethea doesn't quite reach what Moore is trying to grasp for.

The latter part of this volume is, however, more conservative and, hence, more enjoyable for me, as Promethea returns to Earth and had to battle her stand-in to retain the title of current incarnation Promethea.

For all the faults, Moore's series has me by the guts as I am now on a search to find the fifth collected volume, finishing out the series.

I broke down and grabbed Justice League Unlimited: Season 1 and worked my way through the four discs and twenty-six episodes.

It's a simple thing to say that the series was phenomenal, absolutely stunning and geeked out to the highest.

I think I watched all the episodes in three sittings - maybe four, spending most of the time slack-jawed at the amazing comic book goodness that was almost more than I could take. Cameo appearances, in jokes, humor, drama, romance, and a masterful story arc that spanned the latter half of the first season and the entirety of the second season (both were released under the Season One label on the DVD set) make for what has to be one of my all-time favorite comic cartoon series and one that I was happy to drop my $45 to own.

The creators and writers clearly have a deep understanding of and love for their source material. Though they do often appear willing to part from the absolutely pure source material, they through in so many references and off-hand comments that the geekiest of the geeky viewers will have his (let's be honest, not many her) heart soaring.

It's an absolute knockout and a note for note perfect series, from the first notes to the last lines of the second season: Who guards the guardians.

Amazing, phenomenal, an total out and out must-own for comic fans.

Go buy it...and soon.

I was kind of surprised at how enjoyable Joe versus the Volcano was. I'd heard pretty awful things about it since its release a decade and a half back now, but it turned out to be a pretty enjoyable bit of fluff.

It's a little heavy with the strong imagry - the first bunch of scenes are so grey and industrial as to be overbearing and the orange drink on the islanders is a bit over the top - but it sort of works to create an atmosphere that's over the top enough that the ridiculous actions and luck of the characters don't seem too impossible.

Meg Ryan - in three roles, one of which has her in full on cutest of the 80's and 90's mode - does a nice supporting bit beside Tom Hanks who was taking a bit of a break from his multiple Oscar-winning years.

All in all, it's a fun lark but nothing too substantial or marvelous. Loads of people like the flick, though, so it must have something going for it.

This summer was shaping up to have been a classic one in American, major-label comic books. DC was rocking Infinite Crisis - the long-anticipated, much foretold sequel to the excellent Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Marvel was all geeked about Civil War

And then everything crapped out.

This volume of Superman: Infinite Crisis is a volume-long battle between the Supermen of Earths 1 and 2, each blow between the two producing - I swear I'm not making this up - rippled in the time stream. Somehow, every time they hit each other, they cause different famous comic events to have happened differently. One Superman doesn't die to Doomsday. The other dies to the Anti-Monitor. One banishes Dr. Light instead of mind-wiping him. The other does something. It got confusing - with the artwork doing to keep things straight.

The concept is interesting - taking a look at the major events of Supes's last few decades and seeing how things would have gone differently had slight changes been made, but it just doesn't work.

I become less and less enchanted with the various permutations of Infinite Crisis with every review that I read, but I'll still slog my way through the collection - which appears to be different from the originals, interestingly.

November 19, 2006

It's Almost Professional

Apparently, sports are a big part of life to a whole lot of folks.

Most folks out there are aware that Cincinnati is the home to a couple of professional sports teams: the Reds and Bengals.

Not nearly as many are familiar with the fact that the Cincy area is home to a half-dozen more professional (or at least semi-pro) sports teams.

There's the Cincinnati Kings - members of the second division of the USL as well as the Ladyhawks who are also part of the W-League of the same organization.

And there are the Cincinnati Marshals - of the National Indoor Football League and residents of, it appears, Mason, OH - about ten minutes from my homestead.

On the north side of town, we can find the Cincinnati Excite of the American Indoor Soccer League.

The two biggest non-major-league pro sports teams around Cincy, however, are - weirdly - the two hockey teams: the Cyclones and the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks - the latter of which look to be moving to Windsor, Canada.

It's odd to me that so many professional sports teams would be flitting with profitibility and continued existance in a market that just doesn't seem to be able to consistently support such teams. Oh, sure, we'll publicly finance a couple fo multi-million dollar stadia, but we won't go see rinky-dink semi-pro teams eek out a living.

I remember when I was a child going to games over in Lousville for the Louisville Thunder and feeling like I was getting in on the ground level of something special, that not too many other people around understood just how cool this soccer thing was and how exciting it was to see something that was new and that few people knew about.

It was cool. It was different.

And yet, I still haven't seen any of these non-major-league teams in the Cincy area.

November 18, 2006

Advice, Part 9: Ignore

Simple enough and done.


No honest, meaningful, universal bit of advice or knowledge can be summed up in a pithy statement.

Every bit of advice has a situation in which the action of taking and following that advice would be absolute worst choice, and every bit of advice has an equally valid and opposite bit of advice.
  • Look before you leap.
  • It's best to dive right in and get started.

  • Pride goeth before a fall.
  • Razzle dazzle 'em.

  • Take a minute and wait. See if things get better.
  • There's no time like the present.
So no matter how wonderful and seemingly meaningful a bit of advice is, it is going to absolutely be the wrong thing to do - at the very least - a quarter of the time, so you might as well chuck most all of it out the window.

Find your own path. Look at every situation as unique and evaluate every choice individually. It might be like previous situations, and it might be as frickin' new and different from those situations as is possible. So the thing you did before that worked might never work again.

The fates might be against you.

The whims of luck and fortune might be blowing an entirely different way than you would like them to.

So, do whatever the heck you want to do - whatever you think might be the right choice, and see where it takes you.

Might be a good result, might not. Could've been better; could've been worse.

Doesn't matter.

What's happened is happened, and all you can do is look at the next situation and see what're your choices from there.

Thanks for reading.

Pay no attention to anything that I've said whatsoever.

November 17, 2006

Link blogging works for me...

It's been a while since I've pointed out the blogs in my heavy rotation, and I'm not finished with today's other blog post on the recent spate of atheist articles, so...

Here are the blogs that I check daily - in the order I typically check them:
  • Gus's Journal - a former student's infrequently updated livejournal
  • UniWatch - a daily blog on the "obsessive study of athletics aesthetics"
  • Official Order of the Stick Community - informing me of the newest postings on OOtS, my favorite webcomic
  • No Sheep - a personal blog playing around the subjects of comics, movies, and technology
  • We Are Game - regular postings of cool webgames...recent posting slow since a baby was dropped on the blogger
  • Transbuddha - the holy mother of all video and game blogs...outstanding and my favorite daily visit anywhere
  • Candy Addict - populist candy blog with awesome occasional give-aways
  • Dan Century - personal blog that frequently hits entertaining websites and videos
  • Candy Blog - a slightly more upscale candy blog
  • Technically Overboard - my second favorite blogger each day...more techie, video game, computerish than the others
  • Collected Editions - currently on hiatus until December rolls around, this is the best blog for reviews of trade paperback editions of comics...quality stuff
  • You Know It - another former student's (not mine, admittedly) personal blog...wonderful, self-created artwork
  • I am Kyle's Self Indulgence - my Missourian doppelganger's personal blog...leans a bit to the left, to the comics, and to the Beck...a great read every day or two...
  • Randomg Musings of a Twisted Mind - another personal blog with less frequent updating...probably only worth it if you know the blogger, as I do
  • My Thoughts - personal blog of an old friend...newish blog...lots of link blogging, music and sports postings
  • Voice of the Common Man - philosophical blog centering around Theory of Knowledge in the IB times times frustrating...I lurk more than I post, but I do occasionally jump into the world
There are also a couple of not school-appropriate blogs that I frequent, but I'll not be pointing them out for you folks.

The finest links of the past week from these blogs - to tempt you into heading over there:

November 16, 2006

Return of the mix tape

I long for the days of the days of the mixtape. I've mentioned that before.

And now it looks like I might be able to get back into the game thanks to It looks like their robots are coming thorugh with some outstanding thematic products. Admittedly, there are issues with the fact that there's no side one-side two dichotomy as there was with a perfect mix tape, but that's a minor issue.

There are a few songs listed there (and a few themes) that are a little dodgy as far as work appropriatness, but it's all text - and fairly small text - so feel free to browse away.

November 15, 2006

Sweet and so very sour...

By now, most of the sports world knows that a couple of days ago Bob Knight did something.

Depending on your point of view, Knight struck a player, hit a player, made contact with a player, or pushed a player's chin.

Again, depending on your point of view, Bob Kinght...I'll admit that I tend to side with the Knight defenders, and that colors everything that I hear and see about Bob Knight.

I grew up in the shadows of his glory, a shadow that ruled most of Southern Indiana and nearly the entire state as he won three national titles in just barely more than the first decade of my life. He was a larger than life personality whose actions and incidents were all treated with a wink and a chuckle.

It is clear, in retrospect, that Knight was given too long a leash and he learned that no matter what actions he took, he would be lauded. No person needs to believe that he (or she) is entirely above the rules of their business or common decency.

And he is a man who 90%+ of his former players will defend to the absolute ends of their days. He is one of the greatest and most skilled coaches to ever tread the hardwood of a college basketball court. He is an articulate and intelligent man who simply seems unable to control his own passions and competitive spirit.
Knight and his Texas Tech wingman Myers were right about this latest incident: Knight doesn't have to apologize for a thing. This wasn't even a misdemeanor.

But Knight's problem isn't what he did this time, it's what he might do the next time. It's always what he might do the next time.

- Gene Wojciechowski on
It saddens me that so many people think of Bob Knight as a bully, a jerk, an ass - but it saddens me even more to think thank Knight has no one to blame for that other than himself.

We all make our legacies in this world, and most of those legacies will be complex, but Bob Knight's is especially so.

A brief update on our 6000-yr-old planet

I've done a couple of passing mentions of evolution and creationism here on my blog in the past, and I think I've even mentioned the forthcoming creationist museum (though I can't find the former post, sorry).

But it looks like there's big news with the forthcoming Northern Kentucky creationism museum.

Seriously, I'm going to be like the first in line when this place opens.

Beaker will be all over the place.

There was also some lesser news on the creationist museum front.

November 14, 2006

In which our hero's resolve weakens...

I'm really starting to think that I should get cable...

Want to watch tv...

The first mathematical guitar genius

I am an absolute sucker for statistical analysis applied in surprising places. I'm guessing atha anybdoy familiar with my blog knows about my jones for baseball stats, but here's a new one for me.

Recently, Bill Simmons mentioned a New Yorker article about some mathematically-inclined who have taken it into their minds to make some sense of movie profits.

They analyzed hundreds of scripts, plotted various aspects, and attempted to find correlations between the script aspects and the final movie revenues.

Nuts, right?

Nope, turns out that they've had a good deal of success.

Take a gander if you've got a moment or two...

In similar things on the web, there are a couple of math movie databases and one simpler movie math site.

November 13, 2006

At long frickin' last

It's been a long enough time coming, but it looks like boradband over power lines is finally going to become a reality.

It's been hanging around in parts of Cincinnati for a while, but it's only been available in the Hyde Park area (go for it, Achilles).

The major benefits of the boradband over the power lines is that the broadband service comes into every power outlet in your house. All that you'll need will be a modem on the power cable of your computer, and you'll be able to use the internet from any outlet in the place.

Think of the savings for a large business that wants to rewire their system - no more laying cable throughout the place. Instead, it's a single adapter as power comes into the building and then one plug-modem for each computer.

It'll be cool, folks.

November 12, 2006

Cute death

Who doesn't love cute, cuddly little bacteria, viruses, and parasites?

They're so adorable and cutesy that I just want to...





This si waht we're making into cuddly little cretures?

Isn't that kind of icky?

I guess it is icky, but it's the sketches are nicely well done, and the site would certainly make things easier to learn for a lot of school kids out there.

There are, of course, other options to get cuddly microbes.

November 11, 2006

Advice, part 8: Learn

Ok, bear with me. We have two more weeks of this - including this one.


Seems a simple enough thing, eh?

You find something you don't know about, hunt down a good book or watch a tv show or ask somebody, and then you know more about it.

There's a whole bunch of reasons to learn something:But I'm going to endorse learning for a reason that's different from most all of those: learn because it's fun.

Ignorance doesn't even know that it's ignorant. Knowledge and intelligence, however, are always looking for more knowledge.

It's a quizical thing to think that knowledge is something that gets hungrier and hungrier the more you feed it, but that's almost how this works. Once you learn something, you find more and more questions that need to be answered. Instead of a vicious circle, it's a wonderful, self-catalyzing cycle.

Plus there's the sheer joy of udnerstanding how things work, how everything is interconnected. Life is - in my eyes - so much richer if you see where the lynch pins of everything are held.

It's a question that I ask of my honors chemistry students early in their year: is the world more beautiful if you know how it works, or does that knowledge tear away the beauty for you.

I am always disappointed when one of them writes that knowledge does tear away the beauty, but it is simply a very different world view than the one I have. For me, knowing about the atoms and forces and reactions of the world, knowing the motives and history of those involved makes that world much richer for me.

So, do yourself a favor and pick something taht you've been wonderfing about and start learning.

Go read about a music group, learn how to make something, find out about something you never knew existed.

November 10, 2006

The power of visuals

I'm a sucker for a well presented visual idea.

I'm about to dive into reading a cool-looking book that probably suggests a bit about that feeling.

I've also mentioned my digging of various baseball stat sites, and I continue to be excited with new, better ways to present information in a way that makes the information instantly, easily understandable.

And along comes Idiagram - a site of a visual designer in the State of Mass. He's got some really cool ideas about explaining processes and ideas. Some of them are a little complex, and others are absolutely gorgeous.

It's certainly a site worth playing around on.

Thanks, by the by, to good ol' TD for sending the link my way.

Good stuff...

November 9, 2006

Like Nazi Olsen twins...

I'm not even going to link to today's blog subject because I don't want to direct web traffic even to their Wikipedia entry, but it's a group called Prussian Blue. I haven't the foggiest clue how or why my friend bumped into the group's entry, and I'm not going to concern myself with it because my point doesn't center around Prussian Blue at all.

Instead, I'm going to hit the more general points.

One, I don't blame children for being ignorant. They are products of what they've been taught. Once they begin to grow up and think for themselves, however, they are fair game for being insulted, looked down on, and judged for their stupid beliefs.

Two, there are enough archetypal stories of people of hatred who have come to refute that hatred that I believe it is possible for such people to let go of their ignorance and hatred. It must not be an easy thing, I will admit to that, but it is, I believe, possible. For examples, see American History X and The Autobiography of Malcolm X - two of the more moving works that I've had to pleasure to consume. Because of this, once people have had an opportunity to grow and learn and put away childish, biggoted beliefs, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Three, I have no real problems with hatred. There are a number of things that I'll admit to hating, and even a few people who would be pretty close to that realm with me.

My problem is with blank, blind, ignorant hatred.

Hate someone that you've come to know. Go right ahead. Take a moment to get to know them, see who they are, find out how they act, observe them for a while, and then hate the holy heck out of them. I'm not going to fault you.

But don't hate somebody before you've gotten to see them in action, and especially don't hate an entire group, because you certainly haven't had a chance to meet all of those people yet.

Fourth, if you're going to be part of a movement, at least get cute t-shirts. As repugnant as the concept of a cartoon Hitler is, I kind of respect the graphic design spirit in the picture above. For some reason, though, the mustache looks a little like a smiley face licking its upper lip. I still think the t-shirts are a neat design, though, no matter how repugnant the sentiment and beliefs of the people wearing them

November 8, 2006

Nacriscism takes hold (if I could spell it, anyway)

It's been far, far too long since somebody rated me. Too long since anybody rated my dad or my sister (at her old school), too.

Of course, my wife's new school barely registers yet.

November 7, 2006

Heh...stick in the muds...

Kinda funny story over on

The USS Intrepid - a floating museum in New York City's harbor - seems to be stuck in the mud.

Big, gigantic of the largest, most powerful warships of death, rainer of hellfire from the skies upon the godless opponents of the United Gosh-Darn States of Ameruka...backbone of our naval superiority over ever tin-pot dictator who might pop his head up...






And we can't seem to get it out.

Oh, sure, we're hoping that an unusually high tide might help us a little bit at some point, but we're pretty much clueless as to what to do otherwise.

Feel free to watch the lack of progress on their live webcam on the museum website.

Feel free to chuckle as much as you need to.

Good Bye Bob Barker

hey ellen filling in today
as a long time viewer of the price if right, i was very disappointed to hear that the beloved bob barker is going to retire next year. i have been watching that show since i was little and waiting for the day i could be in the audience. i had hoped i could go with a group of people at college but by the time i get to college next year, bob will be gone...and whats the use in going if he won't be there? i don't think they will be able to replace him. no matter how lively or entertaining the next guy is, he will always remain in bob's shadow. after he leaves, the show will never be the same.

That's Ellen, she's my student aide. I've got two more of them, and I think I'll be letting the drop a little knowledge on you from time to time.

November 6, 2006

The miracles of the Children's Broadcasting Corporation

Everybody knows and loves Sesame Street. It's on in something like four billion countries and is watched daily by like fourteen trillion children under the ages of four.

Heck, a fair number of people probably even remember 3-2-1 Contact. It was on for a dozen years, and it had the ever classic "Bloodhound Gang" mysteries.

But the forgotten middle child between the journey from Sesame Street to 3-2-1 Contact was the excellent The Electric Company, weening little children from their learning of the letters into more complex words and psychadelic images. The Electric Company wasn't on the air for nearly as long - only a half dozen years total, but it left a lot of classic images in my brain.

Check out some of them that are available over at - before they're yanked down for copyright infingement.

November 5, 2006

Ah, cats...

I think of myself as a dog person. My family always had a dog when I was growing up, and Karlen and I got a dog within a month or so of us moving into our first house. We're a two-dog family now, and they're beautiful boys.

But we're also a cat family. She came to me with a cat - the only one still with us to this day, Aylah. She's a loving cat who is social to a fault, coming back again and again to be petted no matter how much you mess with her. Many people comment that she's one of the friendliest cats they've met - almost always being around when strangers are here.

We've had as many as three cats at any one time - both the others came from friends or family whose situations changed and who couldn't take the cats with them.

It's probable that once Aylah leaves us, we'll stick to being a dog family, but I will admit to really digging the one cat that I've really come to know. She's a cutey...

November 4, 2006

Advice, part 7: Love

But now faith, hope, and love remain-these three. The greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13


There are so many different quotes about love out there, and most of them are basically cliche, adopted already by any of a hundred thousand cutie college coeds for use on their flashy, cutesy website.

But love is not something that should be summed up in one cutesy quote - sometimes it takes three:
Love is a many splendid thing.
Love lifts us up where we belong.
All you need is love!
Moulin Rouge
Love isn't something that can be summed up in any sort of quote or cliche or movie line; it's simply too much and too important for that.
If you have it [Love], you don't need to have anything else, and if you don't have it, it doesn't matter much what else you have.
~ Sir James M. Barrie
But we struggle so much with attempting to define it and nail it down so that we can say just why we love who we love. So that we can help our friends to find the happiness and joy that we have in it, we search for the right words to do love the honor and justice that we feel that it deserves.
Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
~ Franklin P. Jones
But our words cannot do love justice. Love is too big, too wonderful, too much for us to do anything more than hint at its true essence. To capture even a snapshot of love is to do it a desservice by leaving out every other aspect of its being.
He loves but little who can say and count in words, how much he loves.
~ Dante Alighieri
Love is more many-faceted than a d30. Love is the most wonderful thing in the world, bringing us to greater heights and happinesses than we will ever experience otherwise, and love is the most hurtful thing possible - taking everything that we believed in and allowing it to be broken and twisted and hurt in ways we never thought imaginable. Love is laughter and tears, friendship and anger, calm and exciting.
Love is like pi -- natural, irrational, and very important.
~ Lisa Hoffman
And love is nothing that anyone can ever tell you about. No two loves are ever the same, because love is a combination of two people, each depending on and needing the other, and at times, each subsuming their individuality to the greater good of the combination. No matter how I or you or anyone attempts to describe their love, their lover, their joy to anyone else, the words are but a pale shadow of the truth.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.
~ Helen Keller
We are no more able to touch and grasp love, to hold it in our hands, to disects its being and number its parts than we are to hold onto the air, to freedom, to sunshine, to joy. Love is the ultimate failing of science because no matter how long we number the carbons and analyze the chemicals of our brains and our pelvises, we engage in the ultimate act of reductionist thinking, believing that we can put love to a board, pin its wings open, and allow every other member of the lab to coldly explore our finidings.
Love is a rose
but you better not pick it
It only grows when it's on the vine.
A handful of thorns and
you'll know you've missed it
You lose your love
when you say the word "mine".
~ Neil Young, "Love is a Rose"
This week's advice, then, is the simplest of all and the most impossible to give:


Allow yourself it be open to love wherever you happen to find it.

Take care of love once you have it.

Do not take love for granted for their is nothing more important than it.

And cherish it with all your heart, soul, mind, body, money, and time - for there is nothing more important than it and nothing that is so horrible to waste or lose.

And remember to wish your wife a happy birthday as many times and in as many ways as you can manage. Happy birthday, cutie pie.