May 31, 2010

May 30, 2010

May 29, 2010

I'm going for saves since we have a limit on pitching starts


 And two videos to close it all out...



May 28, 2010

NBC's fall lineup

I think that, come fall, I may be watching even less television than I already do.





Check out more of NBC's fall lineup here.

And just so you know, Mad About You is probably my favorite sitcom ever, but that Paul Reiser Show looks like a crappy remake of Curb Your Enthusiasm (which I hated.)

May 26, 2010

Fork it!

Ah, a game in which you are a fork trying to stab sugared toast.

The plotline itself is a grabber, in't it?

May 25, 2010

Alphabet game: G is for artists

Seriously?  Yes, seriously.  My favorite songs from G artists is this week's playlist.

May 24, 2010

Not alphabetically thematic but something I wanted to hear today...a little bit o' soul...

May 21, 2010

Billy Connolly: what an accent

I would happily listen to Billy Connolly read the phone book.  His voice fascinates me that much.



That interview continues here.

























May 20, 2010

Glee's best yet

I'm pretty well hooked on Glee.

Shut up, I know, but I dig it, and I especially dug this number from this week's episode.

Grease gets a little cleaner

Quick question about this trailer.

At 0:57 and 1:32, didn't the characters originally have cigarettes?


Grease Sing-A-Long in HD

Trailer Park Movies | MySpace Video


I didn't like it when Spielberg took the guns away from the agents in ET.  I didn't like it when Lucas took the first shot away from Solo.

And I don't particularly like this - politically correct, though it may be.

Reviewing my world

This week's reviews are going to be a bit of all over the place...eating, reading, watching...it's media and food...intake both culinary and intellectual...

The worst of the week is Relish Modern Tapas, a restaurant over in Mason behind Deerfield Towne Center.  We visited Relish because they had an offer up at Groupon, $30 worth of food for $15.  The Girl had been to Relish before with girlfriends of hers for an evening of drinks, and she'd seemed interested in heading back to try the food.  So when Groupon offered up the deal, I grabbed it.

Typically, if we visit a restaurant where the food is disappointing, the choice has been mine.  This time, however, the poor choice belongs to The Girl, because the food was disappointing and bland.  The service was mediocre.  The menu was unhelpful.  The atmosphere was lacking in thematic unity, neither fish nor fowl, elegant nor casual.  People sat down near us in camouflage shorts and t-shirts as well as linen shirts and fancy slacks.

The biggest issue we had with Relish, however, was with their food. We're far from tapas experts, having been to a total of one tapas restaurant between us, but this didn't seem like tapas to us.  Instead of the small plates, each costing in the range of $5-8, encouraging us to purchase a selection to share and try, Relish had plates in the $10-15 range, some of which came with sides, some of which came without sides - neither was made clear from the menu.  So some dishes came out appearing to be full entrees - my steak with a side of potato wedges and a small salad, for example - while others came out as small meats to share - The Girl's fried shrimp with a tiny, lettuce accompaniment.  The waiter offered no assistance in clarifying which were meals and which were to be combined with the sides - and the price ranges didn't seem to differentiate.

Had the food been excellent, we might've overlooked even all these flaws.  As the food was drastically underspiced, bland, and poorly prepared, however, the combination resulted in an absolutely disastrous meal.  My steak was presented sliced for sharing, but the $15 steak was no more than a half an inch thick meaning that my request for medium rare was all but impossible.  The potatoes were cold, rubbery, and lacking in any flavor.  The mashed potato balls - breaded and fried - were tasteless.  The Girl's shrimp were well prepared but could have used a stronger seasoning.

The only redeeming feature of the entire meal was the two complimentary cookies presented with the check.  The almond wafers were quite tasty.

We won't be returning to Relish modern tapas.


Next up, the cinematical Kick-Ass for which I have been waiting with bated breath.  The previews were awesome and the marketing solid.

Clearly, this was a masterpiece waiting to be seen.

Only it wasn't.  On this one, Katydid and I part ways, it was a boring film.

The pacing was poor - action scenes alternating with comedic, slower scenes, never allowing the film to establish a definitive flow.

The killing was boring.

The part that bothered me more than anything else, however, was inability of the film to establish a consistent world.  I don't care whether there are superheroes in your film or not.  You can tell a great story either way.  Whatever.  I don't care whether you need me to accept that time travel is possible or that Hitler died in a theater rather than a bunker.  Whatever.

Just set up the rules of your world and play from there.  I'll follow along happily because I'm all about the willing suspension of disbelief.  I'm in a movie theater, like my favorite place in the world.  I want nothing more than to get lost in whatever world you want to create.

But don't set up one set of rules in the beginning - there are no superheroes, people can't do impossible crap like that - and the ignore the rules halfway through the movie when it suits your need for a balletic fight scene.  No, if there are super martial artists in your world, don't let the twelve-year-old magically turn into one just so you can film a cool scene.  If everyone has to rely on pretty reasonable, real-world-ish physics, then don't put the lead dufus in a jet pack with Gatling guns mounted up top because he's going to flip the hell over the moment he fires.  And don't let the same jet pack fly thirty miles before it runs our of fuel.

Keep you world consistent, and I'll roll along.  Refute the rules that you've written, and I'm out.

Here, I'm out.

I'm not quite as out as Roger Ebert - or for the same reasons - but I'm out.

In the comic vein of late...quick shots 'cause there have been a bunch...
  • Old Man Logan - Wolverine's the last hero standing in a post-apocalyptic future.  Shocking, I know.  But in this one he's become a pacifist because of some horrific, traumatic event in the final battle with the super badguys who finally won and took over the world.  As much as that all sounds so very formulaic and repetitive of things that have come before, I thoroughly enjoyed the full eight-issue collected series.  Tip to tale, this is enjoyable story telling.  The art is appropriately dusty and faded.  The road trip aspect works as a way for Millar to show us the new realities of the world that he's created for the Canucklehead, himself.  The reveals are slow enough to be teasing but big enough to be dramatic and rewarding.  I'm giving it a full two thumbs up.  Check this one out even if it's another Hulk/Wolverine outlast everybody else battle at the end.
  • Fantastic Four: Masters of Doom - I don't get the big reveal here because I'm not a regular 'round these Marvel parts, but that didn't stop me from enjoying this run as another of von Doom's tutors/masters/trainers returns to Earth to see why Victor hasn't dominated the Earth as their training should have allowed him.  Yeah, they 'kill' Doom in the first couple of episodes and reveal themselves (there are two of them) to heavy badarses based pretty much on that one action.  Yeah, we all know that Doc Doom isn't really gone no matter how 'dead' he's made.  But it's a fun read as Millar gives a final send off to the First Family of Marvel.
  • Batman: King Tut - sucked...awful...and the trade paperback is pretty much a two-issue story fleshed out by unrelated Bat-tales.  Dumb. 
  • Huntress: Year One - horrible...boring...hard to follow...dumb.  Turns The Huntress into an even more annoying, one-dimensional character.  Has Catwoman stop on the rooftop a pro-feminist chat and a smoke on the rooftops with the Huntress.  This series is horrible and should be avoided at all costs.
  • The Beatles Experience - the opening page tells the tale of a being of pure thought/energy/whatever floating through the universe searching for some adventure, requesting a turn living a lifetime in a soul that makes a difference.  It only gets dumber from there.  Also a huge two thumbs down.
  • Hellboy Library Edition, Vol 1 - I've picked a few Mignola's up here and there from the library - BPRD, Abe Sapian, stuff like that - but never anything in the core of Hellboy, so this is my introduction to the comic world of the big ugly.  I've seen both of the movies, but nothing of the comics.  Thankfully, this was a great introduction, collecting the two first mini-series for Mignola's greatest character.  The Library Edition isn't quite the equal to DC's Absolute editions, but it's a high quality printing that does show Mignola's dark palate off nicely.  Definitely worth a read but probably not a purchase.


Remember Catch Me If You Can?  Entertaining, light-hearted trailer that turned out to be a rather serious, kind of dark film?

Yeah, same thing this time.  The trailer for The Informant suggested Matt Damon being silly, hamming things up, and Damon did do some of that.  The movie, however, didn't keep a light-hearted tone throughout.  Instead, it ended up being a lot more serious than The Girl and I expected.

Not a bad film, but certainly one that we felt was misrepresented.  Nothing spectacular, just decent.  Thankfully, the character of Damon's lead is thoroughly entertaining.

That's it for me, folks.  I'll be back in a few days with some more reviews because I have a bunch of other things to review...

  • Iron Man 2
  • The Wire
  • Kings of Leon (two albums)
  • Steve Earle - Washington Square

Locklanders locked up

I've made my opinion about pranks known.

And I have especially and absolutely no patience for or enjoyment of senior pranks.  Either the students go too far and cause significant damage/problems/inconveniences or they don't go far enough, and the prank is lame.

The little space in between - where senior pranks are witty, not damaging, not harmful, not derivative, and actually creative - is a space smaller than the blade of a pen knife.  It's impossible for any group of students to find that space, to stick the landing on that space.

Senior pranks should not be done.

One of the school districts bordering Princeton found this out this past weekend when twenty seniors - just under a quarter of their graduating class of eighty-seven - were arrested for breaking into Lockland High School (one of the twenty hid in the school until the janitorial staff left for the night Thursday and let the others into the building) and trespassing.  Their plan - according to the Enquirer article - was to 'move all the books from the library into the cafeteria, but the library doors were locked.'

Wow...that's just hilarious.

Books...

in the cafeteria...

Holy crap, I think I just pooped myself from the laughter.

Instead, officers from Lockland, Evendale, Woodlawn, Wyoming, Reading, and Arlington Heights responded to a neighbor's call about a break-in at the high school.  From the first Enquirer article, '[a]t one point, Evendale police even had one student at Taser-point, and a paramedic squad was sent to the school after one student suffered a panic attack, according to Hamilton County emergency communication reports.'

The dumbest part of the whole thing is the parent - whose younger son is at Princeton High School - who 'said he knew ahead of time his son was going to participate in a prank at the school and that the teen’s mother even dropped him off at the school.'

And the parent are complaining that '[t]he police have blown it out of proportion. [The students] did not break in. They were let in. Yes, that’s trespassing, but it goes on every year.'


C'mon, folks.  These kids will be - assuming that they're prosecuted and convicted - guilty of breaking and entering and trespassing.  They'll get their diplomas - they've earned the credits, taken the classes, made the grades - but they'll graduate as felons-to-be.

And I'm just fine with Lockland's plans to deny the students the privilege of walking in their graduation ceremony and intent to let the police/prosecutors/whoever prosecute the kids to the fullest.

They don't deserve the chair or anything, but they certainly deserve far more than a slap on the wrist for this one.

The side bar on the first Enquirer article, by the way, has a nice little list of other senior pranks that have gone wrong at Cincinnati area schools in the past decade or so.

Update: Reasonable middle ground was found.

May 19, 2010

Mackey Sasser returns

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a record holder.  The man is legend for what's on the back of his jersey.

At the moment, however, he's a liability because of what's above the jersey, between his ears.

Something went wrong last year with Saltalamacchia.  There was a collision and a shoulder injury followed by a couple of surgeries.  Once Saltalamacchia returned from the injuries, however, something else had mysteriously gone wrong.

He'd become unable to make the simplest of plays for a catcher, the throw back to the mound.  After three years in the bigs and hundreds of games at all levels, after making that most routine of throws thousands of times in his life, Saltalamacchia suddenly started missing. 

He would throw the ball into center field over the head of the pitcher.  So the next time he would over compensate and throw it into the grass well short of the mound.  He shifted his release point, started throwing side arm, over the top, around the world, whatever, anything just to get back to routine.

At this point - a year after the problem first appeared - Saltalamacchia is down in AAA Oklahoma City mashing the ball and missing the mound.  In Friday's game, Saltalamacchia missed five throws in the first inning and twelve throws over all.  Apparently his throws to first or second are all just fine, but his throws to the pitcher - the ones where he has time to think about his motion - are adventures.

It's amazing just how much professional athletes run on muscle memory, on not thinking about what they're doing but rather simply clearing their minds and relying on instinct and repeating motions that they've made millions of times before.  Once they start thinking about that motion, however, instead of just making it, something goes wrong.  They become Steve Blass, Mackey Sasser, Steve Sax, Chuck Knoblauch, and now Jarrod Saltalamacchia.  They consult doctors, hypnotists, voodoo priests, anyone who might be able to help them.

I wish Saltalamacchia luck in coming back to the majors.

May 18, 2010

Check the Cool Wax

Update: The direct links to files hosted on Check the Cool Wax have been removed as per a cease and desist order.  Read the full details of the order here.

Oh, my gollies...

You have to Check the Cool Wax.

We're talking hours and hours of time lost in my life from just today alone. I've never been there before, but I know I'm going to be spending a whole crapload of time there in the future.

The concept is a simple one. Some guy - no clue who he is other than my frickin' hero - has taken a bunch of music from old LPs and 78s and 45s and burned them into mp3 format, which he then posts.

We're talking stuff like...
  • A disco Wonder Woman theme
  • William Shatner Live
  • Joe Piscipo and Eddie Murphy together
  • Jerry Reed's "The Bandit"
  • Dean Martin doing "I Walk the Line"
  • Beasite Boys "She's On It" which didn't appear on cd until the Sounds of Science compilation
  • Mel Torme's "Secret Agent Man"
  • Pee Wee's "Surfin' Bird"
  • The Merry Marvel Marching Society
  • Old Beastie Boys commercials
  • Rappin' Rodney Dangerfield
Honestly, I could post hundreds and hundreds of links from this that entertained me. Go, spend an hour or two on broadband and have a blast.

Update: I've been served

The cease and desist notice that I mentioned on Friday is now up on Chilling Effects.

You're now free to check it out in all its legalistic glory.

See paragraphs like this:

Our use of a notice in this form, as required by Google, is meant to
facilitate Google's removal of the infringing material listed above and we
neither admit nor accept that Google is a 'service provider' for the
purposes of the DMCA or that it is necessary to serve, or that Google is
entitled to be served, a notice in compliance with the DMCA. IFPI itself
and on behalf of the IFPI Represented Companies expressly reserves all
rights in this regard.

and this:

However, please note that we do not
admit that we or the IFPI Represented Companies are responsible for
detecting infringing material and notifying you of it.

The gist of the complaint (the full text of which I'll include after a jump) is that...

These sites are offering direct links to files containing sound
recordings for other users to download. The copyright in these sound
recordings is owned or exclusively controlled by certain IFPI Represented
Companies.


I went back through that post, and I certainly was offering direct links for the downloading of recorded materials (from the Check the Cool Wax blog) that IFPI copyright holders had not authorized.  Now that I know what the complaint was, I'm going to remove the links, point out the Check the Cool Wax blog in general, and repost the original post without the links.

Check the full text of the complaint (in case Chilling Effect ever goes away) after the jump...


Alphabet game: F is for artists

Forget forgetting about this...we're all the way to the F's this week...

May 17, 2010

Memo to the sporting media

I don't care where LeBron James goes.

At some point this summer, LeBron James will sign with an NBA team - the Cavs, the Knicks, the Bulls, the Heat, the Clippers, the Massagno. At that point, please report it.  Report the hell out of it.

Until then, you don't have any idea where he's going to sign.  It's just idle, stupid, annoying speculation.

So shut up.

May 15, 2010

Two weeks of this stuff back-logged


Gravité from Renaud Hallée on Vimeo.

May 14, 2010

I have been served

Interesting email in the gmail inbox today...to quote...
Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others. As a result, we have reset the post(s) to "draft" status. (If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.) This means your post - and any images, links or other content - is not gone. You may edit the post to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the post in question will be visible to your readers again.

A bit of background: the DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. If you believe you have the rights to post the content at issue here, you can file a counter-claim. For more information on our DMCA policy, including how to file a counter-claim, please see http://www.google.com/dmca.html.

The notice that we received from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the record companies it represents, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects at http://www.chillingeffects.org. We do this in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Please note that it may take Chilling Effects up to several weeks to post the notice online at the link provided.

The IFPI is a trade association that represents over 1,400 major and independent record companies in the US and internationally who create, manufacture and distribute sound recordings (the "IFPI Represented Companies").


Sincerely,

The Blogger Team

Affected URLs:
http://distantearthling.blogspot.com/2010/05/dame-shirley-bassey-performance-2009.html
http://tuneldotempomusic.blogspot.com/2009/02/worlds-famous-supreme-team-hey-dj.html
http://makingchemistry.blogspot.com/2010/05/pretend-you-cant-take-what-you-found.html
http://indiehere.blogspot.com/2010/05/keljet-lcd-sound-system-remix.html
http://honkiesonholiday.blogspot.com/2009/02/mixtape-4-sweet-sweetdocs-baad-aassss.html
http://elrincondelpiojex.blogspot.com/2010/05/disturbed-sickness-2010.html
http://popmonstergpmv3.blogspot.com/2010/05/extreme-lady-gaga-leaks.html
http://ruzannarahmat.blogspot.com/2008/09/nsync-god-must-have-spent-little-more.html
http://popmonstergpmv3.blogspot.com/2010/05/california-gurls-feat-snoop-dogg-katy.html
http://elrecreodecaruso.blogspot.com/2010/05/panteradiscografia.html
http://prosofobiak.blogspot.com/2010/05/doors-doors-1967.html
http://darkneurotic.blogspot.com/2010/05/mia-born-free.html
http://rihannasboi-skinz.blogspot.com/2008/11/beyonce-world-wide-womanwww-slow-down.html
http://thisisoneclick.blogspot.com/2008/07/bunch-of-updates-again.html
http://wongiesmusicworld.blogspot.com/2007/07/remix-baby-beyonce-green-light-got-me.html
http://electriczoo.blogspot.com/2007/09/back-from-dead.html
http://thisissoscene.blogspot.com/2009/04/yo-gabba-sceeeeeene.html
http://anightoutwithdiscodave.blogspot.com/2009/04/black-blood-aie-mwana.html
http://fordoyo.blogspot.com/2009/07/flipsyde-someday.html

http://themixfactory.blogspot.com/2010/04/essential-swiss-progressive-house-mixes_24.html
http://thefreshguideline.blogspot.com/2010/05/yet-again.html
http://stdjselection.blogspot.com/2010/05/3oh3-my-first-kiss-ft-keha-and-more.html
http://energgymix.blogspot.com/2008/03/set-dj_08.html
http://prostylemusic.blogspot.com/2010/04/inna-fleeo-dj-burak-coskun-2010.html
http://shellgrowback.blogspot.com/2009/08/silly-sundays-rupert-holmes-psycho.html
http://musicsnobsanonymous.blogspot.com/2010/05/new-ratatat-party-with-children.html
http://cristhianpaiva.blogspot.com/2010/05/sandy-manuscrito-2010.html
http://rapmusicpremieres.blogspot.com/2010/05/roscoe-dash-all-way-turnt-up-feat.html

http://tuwebdedescargas.blogspot.com/2010/05/joaquin-sabina-vinagre-y-rosas-2010.html


http://ohheavenlydog.blogspot.com/2008/11/better-swing-child.html
http://j-mandujano.blogspot.com/2009/11/vico-c-babilla.html
http://garpurumputmediamp3.blogspot.com/2010/01/animal-collective-brother-sport.html
http://idtmi.blogspot.com/2006/10/check-cool-wax.html

http://hiphopalbumbase.blogspot.com/2010/04/r-kelly-untitled-2009explicitretailgrou.html
http://hiphopalbumbase.blogspot.com/2010/05/jay-z-blueprint-3-2009explicitretailgro.html
http://hiphopalbumbase.blogspot.com/2010/05/eminem-relapse-2009explicitretailgroupr.html

http://thisjustins.blogspot.com/2010/05/50-cent-before-i-self-destruct.html
http://musiconvinyl.blogspot.com/2008/12/adventure-rupert-holmes.html
http://anglophilesanonyous.blogspot.com/2008/01/rogue-wave-lake-michigan.html
http://downloadtaky.blogspot.com/2010/04/le-vibrazioni-le-strade-del-tempo.html

http://shinealighthome.blogspot.com/2010/05/drake-all-night-long-miss-me.html
http://djandrezinhosp.blogspot.com/2010/05/rupert-holmes-him.html
http://thesentimentalmusic.blogspot.com/2010/02/terminal-rupert-holmes.html
Wild, man, just wild.

Sadly, I can't point you to the offending posts (mine and all the rest) because Blogger has, indeed, thrown them back into draft status.

The basics of the post (from way back in October 2006) was that I dug the Check the Cool Wax blog.  It was - and only still sort of is - a blog in which the blogger took old 45s and LPs, spun them into digital content, and posted the results as downloadable mp3s - typically zipped for space.

He had rare work from tons of artists, many of whom I'm down with, and I pointed out a dozen or so particularly cool cuts on his blog, and I included a record cover from Music to Read James Bond By as a period-appropriate album that had been then-recently on Cool Wax.

As of now, I'm not sure what the supposed copyright infringement was - my posting of the photo might be considered an offense, and I'm fairly certain that what Brainwerk (the blogger of Cool Wax) was doing was massively copyright infringement, but my admittedly limited understanding of copyright law doesn't make me think that my linking to someone else's copyright infringement would necessarily be an offense on my part - and I'll not be able to find out exactly what the complaint was just yet because the official cease and desist order - sent, understandably to Google rather than to me - hasn't yet been posted on chillingeffects to whom Google says they send all cease and desist notices.

Copyright in the digital age is fascinating, man, fascinating, and I'm looking forward to seeing the official complaint before I go off half cocked and start screaming about the man locking up my words, muzzling the voices of the downtrodden, but I am certainly curious to see the official complaint from the complaintant.

In the meantime, feel free to check the cool wax.  The blog hasn't been udpated since at all since August 2009 and not regularly since summer 2008.  Many of the download links still work, however, so there's still a bunch of good stuff to be had.

Admittedly, I feel kinda like the boys here...



Edit - I got a second email about three hours after the first one.  Similar but not quite identical content...
Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others. As a result, we have reset the post(s) to "draft" status. (If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.) This means your post - and any images, links or other content - is not gone. You may edit the post to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the post in question will be visible to your readers again.

A bit of background: the DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. If you believe you have the rights to post the content at issue here, you can file a counter-claim. For more information on our DMCA policy, including how to file a counter-claim, please see http://www.google.com/dmca.html.

The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects at http://www.chillingeffects.org. We do this in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). You can search for the DMCA notice associated with the removal of your content by going to the Chilling Effects search page at http://www.chillingeffects.org/search.cgi, and entering in the URL of the blog post that was removed. If it is brought to our attention that you have republished the post without removing the content/link in question, then we will delete your post and count it as a violation on your account. Repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account including deleting your blog and/or terminating your account. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel.

Sincerely,

The Blogger Team

Affected URLs:

May 13, 2010

Seriously, just videos again

It's hectic all around today...









Yup, I'm reblogging a video from Kyle and adding to it.

This is how little I have prepared and time to catch up right now.  Hey, at least there was a theme.

May 12, 2010

Why do people drive AT these things?

We'll just call it a day by throwing up a third video today...yeah, that's the equivalent of a full, regular post, right?

Inception trailer

I'm in...


Our funny first guy

Oddly, there's a word at 1:15, but our President is funny enough that his remarks at the White House Correspondents Dinner are actually worth watching...

May 11, 2010

May 10, 2010

Back tomorrow...

Normally, I set the blog up for the week over the weekend.

This past weekend, however, I wandered with The Girl to Washington, D.C. and didn't touch a computer (other than to bop into the public library and make a reservation for Saturday dinner).

So I'll be back in the swing of things tomorrow.

Until then, write your own blog post explaining this...(from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick)...


The fifth one ended up in France.

May 7, 2010

"Princeton grad chases Olympics, fights hunger"


G-Movement: Chris Smith from Action Against Hunger USA on Vimeo.


Every week or so, I check the Cincy Enquirer's website ad search for any Princeton-related articles.  This week I got lucky and found an article headlined "Princeton Grad Chases Olympics, Fights Hunger" about a Sharonville man who must've graduated from PHS just a year or two before I arrived there, Chris Smith.



Smith was a wrestler and pole vaulter at PHS who then headed on to UC where he has since earned his masters and come within three inches of qualifying for the US Olympic team in 2008.  Now, however, he's working on qualifying for the Jamaican team as his Dad was Jamaican and would set a Jamaican national record if he reaches his personal best of 5.50 meters (~18 feet).



He's also fundraising for Action Against Hunger and is one of five athletes sponsored through Gatorade's G Movement program.

Feel free to check his blog and chuck in a buck or two if you have extra lying around.

May 6, 2010

Elegance in presentation

There are few things that delight me more than does the elegant visual presentation of numerical information, so today I present to you the Score Tracker.


I don't know that it'll ever catch on - or whether it should or not - but it's so pretty and well presented.

Check out the other examples over on the Hardball Times page.

May 5, 2010

Lonnieburger Baskets: Sammy's Gourmet Burgers and Beers


Yeah, there isn't a rubric here.  I couldn't come up with one that would work for all the varieties of burgers that we could run into.

But we needed to get this show on the road, so we have now, officially begun with Sammy's Gourmet Burgers and Beer in Blue Ash.

I'm gonna go with general and fully arbitrary ten-point scales for all the important stuff.  No clue whether this is the best way to go through things since none of the ten-point scales are defined in the least, but this is how we're going through the reviews:
  • burger - straight up, how is the patty, the bun, the bare-bones basics
  • toppings - what kinds of options, how are they prepared?  I'll always go for bacon and cheddar if it's available.  The Girl gets to venture as far afield as she wants to - maybe to pick from the house specialties or to go straight, pure burger.  This may take a second try if the toppings can't be judged the first time out.
  • ambiance - what's the restaurant feel like - good can be fancy or plain, but it has to feel right
  • fries - hot, crispy, tasty - all varieties can fit in this as long as they're good
  • cost - this one's a little more mathematical by its nature...$10 for burger, fries, and a coke of some sort is a five...anything more expensive than that loses points...anything less wins points...
So, let's get to this thing...

Burger
  • No choice of how to cook the burger (medium, medium-well, whatever) but that makes sense because Sammy's make a bit of a hybrid burger - not thick enough to qualify for a grilled-style but not thin enough to be a thin and crispy burger.  The burger was served in a butcher paper triangle wrapping it and settling it into the red, plastic basket next to the fries.   Burger and fries were both served hot, and the butcher paper kept the bun moist - almost steamed - making for a very soft bite into the bun.  This, however, matched the texture of the burger as the grind of the meat was more a sausage texture - the kind of sausage patty that McDonald's serves - making for a very smooth burger chew.  The burger wasn't grilled but it didn't feel fried - either way it lacked any crispness to contrast the smoothness of the meat.  All in all, the burger was nothing special and nothing that we'll be coming back for.  Burger - 4 

Toppings
  • This, apparently is what the whole Sammy's experience is all about.  Their menu lists a half dozen specialty burgers - Tex-Mex, mushroom, Chili, ragita, Chipotle, classic, Hawaiian, guacamole - plus some other burger-ish options - a chorizo burger, a pinto bean patty, and a veggie burger.  This is a place that doesn't even have anything as plain as an untopped burger, a cheeseburger, or even a bacon cheeseburger.  I had to go off the menu and order what is going to be my standard for this exploration.  The Girl went with the mushroom burger - no onions, swap the Swiss in for the cheddar.



    The mushrooms were fresh and decently sauteed, though we both would've gone for them to be a little darker and more well cooked.  These were still a little firmer than they could have been.  The cheese on both burgers was nicely melted, but the bacon was on the undercooked side - not raw by any stretch, just not crisp in the least - and .  Again, a soft bun, a soft burger, a soft bacon.  If the topping are the big thing, the toppings should be out of the park.  They weren't.  Maybe the more esoteric specialty burgers are better.  The descriptions read like they'd be outstanding, but the toppings we had were good but not spectacular.  Again, Toppings - 5
Ambiance
  • The place isn't big, and we got there at about the busiest time of the week - 7:30 on a warm Friday night.  There's an outside deck - non-smoking, major plus there - but we took the first open table which happened to be inside.  We were told it would be a twenty-minute wait, and there were a few benches to sit on while we waited.  We were seated between ten and fifteen minutes after we took our spot on one of those benches.

    Sports is the clear theme as there are three or four framed futbol jerseys on the wall - international jerseys (I didn't recognize the teams from the kits), one of which is signed.  There are five or six flat screens around the room - one of which was showing NASCAR, the others Cavs-Celtics game 1 when we left and Italian soccer when we got there.

    The place was hopping and had a strong neighborhood feel along with a touch of Hispanic (Cinco de Mayo banner, tex-mex and chorizo on the menu, soccer on the tube).  I dug it, but it isn't anything unique, anything that doesn't exist in any of a dozen other places around the city.  I'll give it Ambiance - 6
Fries
  • The fries type that these can fit into would be plank.  They're mostly wide fries but cut with a little waffle so they aren't flat planks.  Then they get a light batter - imagine a Rally's fry but without any of the spice and with a lighter batter before they're fried.  The fries were served nicely hot - as was the burger, in case I hadn't mentioned it already - but lacked any sort of distinctive taste.  They were correctly cooked and served but just bland.  I'll give Fries - 5.
Cost
  • Burgers range from $8.50 (the classic) to $9.50 (the chorizo and guacamole) - except for the pinto ($5.95) and veggie ($6.95).  The burgers come with fries, no extra charge.  The drinks aren't listed on the online menu, but they were $1.95.  That puts us at about $11 per burger, fries, and a coke.  As it's slightly above my arbitrarily-defined average point, Cost - 4.
Other stuff
  • Domestic bottles of beer $2.75...Domestic microbrews (macro though they may be) and imports $3.75.  I'm not so beer-drinking, but The Girl says that's cheap enough and the selection was good...+1
  • We went for the jalapeno bottlecaps.  We'd tried them for the first time at Black Angus a month or so ago.  Black Angus's were better.  These were kind of mushy in the center but generally well cooked - nice, even batter, no crispies in with the peppers.  I'm guessing they weren't battered in house just based on the evenness of the coating. +/- 0

So, our score...
  • Twenty-five out of a possible fifty.  We have our clubhouse leader - admittedly because there's only one player in the clubhouse.
And away we go...

Other burger joints being added to the list...
Update: Feel free to check out another local blogger's take on Sammy's Gourmet Burgers to see that my review was about right. 

    May 4, 2010

    Alphabet game: D is for artists

    We roll ever onward with the D's this week...

    May 3, 2010

    Who are you?

    I know.  I'm a shill for Google in just about any way possible.


    And Picasa is a Google product that I use to manage all my photos at work and at home.

    And yet, when I started playing around with the People feature and identifying a few faces, I wasn't particularly impressed.  Yeah, I could go through my one-hundred-eighty-thousand faces one at a time.  It would just take me forever.

    Then I clicked a little lower to check out the individual on the list of names I'd been developing.  By then, Picasa had begun using my identification to make reasonable guesses as to the other faces that I'd not yet defined.

    And it was right like 90% of the time - which is pretty darn impressive.

    May 1, 2010

    Posted while giving a practice AP test...on a Saturday, no less!

    I'm not entirely sure about this week's links and how they came to be...