October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

via this isn't happiness


Realignment in the past few years...
  • Big Ten (now 12 teams) - got Nebraska...rumored to get (but probably not gonna get) Notre Dame, Texas, Missouri, Iowa State, Rutgers
  • SEC - got Texas A&M...rumored to be getting Missouri and dozens of other teams
  • Big Twelve (now 10 teams) - lost Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M...rumored to be losing Missouri...getting West Virginia, TCU...rumored to be losing pretty much everybody at one time or another
  • Pac-12 (formerly -10) - got Colorado and Utah
  • Big East - lost West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse - rumored to be getting Central Florida, Houston, SMU...rumored to be losing Connecticut, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Louisville - rumored to be falling apart entirely
  • ACC - got Pittsburgh, Syracuse
  • Mountain West - lost BYU, Utah, TCU - got Boise St, Fresno St, Nevada, Hawaii
  • WAC - lost Nevada, Boise St - got Denver, Seattle, UTArlington, UTSan Antonio, Texas St - San Marcos
  • Big Sky, MVC, OVC, all the other conferences - lost relevance - got screwed in the deal
Clear advantages here...
  • Chaos makes for thoroughly entertaining chatter for a very short while.
  • Mo' money, mo' money, mo' money (for the already wealthiest college athletic programs)
Clear disadvantages here...
  • Incessant chatter from sports talk radio/television about rumors and half truths and things that they generally have no idea about at all
  • Inability of most any sports fan to name the full roster of teams in his/her favorite conference
  • Lack of stability of conference rules
  • More conference championship games (in football and basketball, further cheapening the regular seasons)
  • Continuing lack of football playoff system
  • Continuing hypocrisy of college sports 'student-athletes' (The link is to a long article; I warn you. It is, however, an excellent article.)
  • Ever increasing lack of me giving a crap about any conference
  • Ever diminishing profile of college basketball relative to college football
  • Big 10's new logo and Legends and Leaders divisions

October 30, 2011

Streaming music: Florence + the Machine

Apparently MySpace still exists.

Who knew?

I only know because Florence + the Machine are streaming their new album (in stores if you're still into that whole tangible music thing on November 1) on their MySpace page (thanks for the pointer, ew)

I'll admit that I haven't listened to more than the first minute or so yet, but their first album was a knockout, and the new album already has a great review from Entertainment Weekly.

October 29, 2011


October 28, 2011

Halloween music - part 2

More of the same...a little more contemporary than yesterday's list...enjoy 'em...

October 27, 2011

Halloween Music - part 1

All appropriate for work or school...play 'em to death this weekend...

October 26, 2011

TableTopics: #19

Question #19: Is there only one soul mate for each person?


This one's a little awkward to answer since I'm all married and stuff, but in my head it really all comes down to the math of the thing.

I'm one of seven billion or so people on the planet. I'm a fan of girls, so that narrows things down to 3.5 billion for my soul mate.

Let's look at some numbers to see how many of those 3.5 billion I'll ever meet:
  • My high school graduating class had about 400 students - 200 or so girls.
  • Let's include the girls three or so grades each way of mine. That's 1200 more girls.
  • I went to college with no girls. None at all. Shut up. It was a great school.
  • By the time my career is over, I figure I will have taught with a couple hundred female teachers.
  • I teach somewhere in the range of fifty young women every year. If I teach for thirty-five years, that's 1750 female students.
  • I figure I will have bumped into another couple thousand or so women and girls along my life. Let's say 2000 to be safe.
That puts us at 5500 women I will have dealt with in my life. Let's double that number to assume I'm being gregarious. Heck, let's triple it and round up some to hope I maybe meet 20,000 women in my life - many of whom are pretty far out of any age range where I would be possibly even consider spending my life with them.

20,000 / 3.5 billion is 0.00000571 that means at an absolute outside best, I might meet 0.000571% of the female population of the planet. That's a 0.000571% chance I'll meet my soul mate if she exists, and we can assuredly eliminate a huge portion of the 20,000 because I'm not attracted to them...not age appropriate for them...in a crappy mood when I happen to bump into them...too busy failing them...creeped out by the fact that they're like as old as my Grandma...

That means if there is a soul mate out there for everyone, I have to assume that I'm never gonna meet mine, and dang near everybody else is never gonna meet theirs. So if I am to believe that there's a soul mate out there for everybody, then I also have to assume that we're pretty much guaranteed never to find that soul mate. For me that's was more depressing than assuming that we just don't have a soul mate.

That being said, I don't view this as an actually depressing thing. For me, it means that I don't have to hunt for that perfect one. I just have to look for someone who makes me really happy, who I find attractive, and who is a pretty outstanding rommate. I'm all good with that.

In case you're late to the party, here's the deal...

Here's what I've answered so far...
  • #25 - "I Know What Love Is" by Don White
  • #35 - no business 
  • #36 - MLK, Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech on the National Mall 
  • #16 - What life experience has strengthened you the most?
Already requested answers...they'll be answered (probably in this order)...
  • 22...24...27...32...37
Feel free to request other answers in the comments.

October 24, 2011

A winning combination

With a blog titled Rainbow Zombies Ate My Unicorn, you might expect a little bit of everything, but you'd be wrong in this case.

They/he/she only post/s things about rainbows, zombies, or unicorns.


(By the by, the focus of the blog is strongly not but there occasional moments. Be warned...)

October 22, 2011

Dance, varmit, dance!

Yeah, excuses...I didn't post enough this week.

Everything Is A Remix: KILL BILL from robgwilson.com on Vimeo.

October 21, 2011

The music of my childhood VHS tapes

We continue through the hits of the 1980's with this week's movie playlist...

Cry along with me, would ya?

October 17, 2011

Wilco on NPR

It's two of my favorite things - Wilco and NPR - together again at last.

October 14, 2011

More college radio

Hopefully today's playlist is made up of 25 correctly-credited songs.

Berlin & Kim Wilde? I'm embarrassed that I didn't catch that gaffe myself.

We continue with last week's college radio hits of the 80's. They're not nearly all alternative and college-y this week as lots of these were big hits, but they're all adult enough to have fit into a station of college kids who think they're adults but also awesome enough to have gotten the wider play that college kids just want to tap into.

Enjoy 'em...

October 13, 2011

TableTopics: #16

Today; question #16: What life experience has strengthened you the most?

There are a trio...

I can't remember whether I've related this story on the blog or not. If so, congrats to the regulars for being around long enough (six years, two months, and twenty-six days as of today) to finally hear me repeat myself. I'm sure I've never done it before...in this forum, anyway.

I'd spent much of my elementary, middle, and high school career unintentionally cultivating a tidy little persona as the smart alleck, smartest guy in the room. I was quick with a comment - most likely an unkind one - and snappy with a comeback to pretty much anything said.

I hadn't entirely noticed the totality of my self pigeon-holing until I came back for my first visit home from Wabash. I was at a friend's house -Todd Kanning's, specifically, if that means anything to you. Many of our group of friends was back together for the first time, and I found myself falling far too easily into the role that I seemed to have written for myself. It wasn't a happy feeling, and I decided to change who I was in my group. I can't say that I am not quick witted or that I don't tend to have a snarky comment at the ready much of the time, but I hope I at least recognize that I don't have to lead with those words all the time.

Next up comes the totality of my time at Wabash. I'll admit that I never felt in high school that there was anyone around smarter than I. I wasn't the valedictorian or anything, but I felt I could have been if I'd wanted to, and I was the best test taker (because that matters in the long run) at New Albany High School. I never felt that I needed to work at much throughout the course of high school. I cruised fairly easily through and ended up doing pretty well (I can still quote my class rank, my SAT, and my AP scores in case you're curious as to the depth of my immodesty).

When I got to Wabash, however, the professors generally weren't impressed. I was an intelligent young man, probably on the high side of the bell curve, but I was surrounded by intelligent young men, some of whom were clearly my academic superiors. Even at Wabash I wasn't necessarily working my hardest, but I was working far harder, at least. During the second semester of my freshman year, I took an English class about short stories. I thought myself a pretty good reader and a talented writer, so I assumed I was in for a breeze. Sure, the class was for juniors, but I was one of three or four freshmen in the class, and I wasn't worried. I got my only Wabash C in that class, and I was the better for it. Prof Stern was a creature I hadn't know before, and he demanded a whole lot more than I was ready or - at the time, anyway - able to give him, and I saw these things happening more frequently at Wabash. Sure, I was pushing work off until later than I should have been, but I was having to start the final push earlier and earlier, to work harder and harder, to spend hours in the library studying where I'd been able to do the same in twenty minutes in high school. Academically, Wabash pushed me, and I'm the better for it.

The single most formative experience for me, however, was my time in Scotland. I went overseas knowing almost no-one (there was one other Wabash chem major there, but Doug and I hadn't necessarily been tight in Crawfordsville, and I didn't anticipate being all that tight with him over there.) I was free to create myself as whomever I wanted to be. I could be more outgoing, freer with a drink, more pursuant of the ladies, more whatever, and through the course of the year I found out which aspects of my personality I was happy with, which ones I wanted to jettison (as much as that's possible), who I wanted to be and who I was comfortable being. I came back a much more confident, fully realized person who was ready for the world to begin. I can't think of any experience that was more transformative than my time in Aberdeen. I can't recommend overseas study high enough for anyone. I was revelatory for me, and the classes weren't bad either.

In case you're late to the party, here's the deal...

Here's what I've answered so far...
  • #25 - "I Know What Love Is" by Don White
  • #35 - no business 
  • #36 - MLK, Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech on the National Mall
Already requested answers...they'll be answered (probably in this order)...
  • 19...22...24...27...32...37
Feel free to request other answers in the comments.

October 12, 2011

Avengers trailer

You choice of formats.

Ok, I'll go see the movie, but only because you twisted my arm.

October 11, 2011

TableTopics: #36

Question #36: Which historical event would you like to (have) witness(ed)?

There's kind of a difference here between witnessed and  took part in.

It's we're talking took part in, then there's not even a question for me. I would have wanted to walk on the moon. For my money it's still the single greatest accomplishment that mankind has ever managed. We sent our exemplars to another celestial body where they had to bring every single thing they would ever need (food, water, wait, shelter, all of it), let them wander around (for as much as three full days - check it),  and brought them all back safely.

It's an achievement that will be phenomenal to see if we ever manage to top it, and it's still an event that leaves me speechless. I currently have a book of moon landing photos checked out. I've checked it out a half dozen times. There is nowhere or nowhen that I would rather be...or to have been.

Now, in terms of events that I would have wished to witness happening...

Two answers...the first one is to say any of hundreds of hypothetical/mythical/miraculous events from religions. If I could include the qualifier of 'whichever religion is right', then I would want to see some undeniable, absolute proof that religion is correct. I'd be fine seeing God (or whichever god) create the universe or Earth or life or whatever. I'd be fine seeing Jesus's loaves and fishes or to watch his tomb for three days. I'd be fine to see - and be able to comprehend - anything proving beyond any doubts that some religion (and I don't care which one - I don't have a dog in this fight). I have absolutely no faith in religion, believe that science and random chance over a long time span, and I would be fascinated to hear that I have been wrong low these many years.

On the third hand, if I had to go with picking a real, historical, definitive date, that's tougher.

It's tough to pick any science experiments because so many of the that we speak of as being singular events aren't really singular events.  They're experiments that come out oddly, are repeated, and are are eventually explained over the next few weeks or months. There is rarely a singular event to see with those.

Some of the historical dates that I would want to see, that are among the most important, were also probably rather nondescript. I'm thinking here of the first books being printed by Gutenberg. The actual event itself probably wasn't the fantastic spectator event that a wish like this one should be preserved for.

Maybe I'd go for seeing the Kennedy assassination. It would be nice to once and for all know who shot Kennedy and from where. I could take back recording equipment (if it's within the rules of the wish) and solve the mystery once and for all.

I'm thinking going back to Roanoke to see what happened to the settlers could perhaps be a bit unsafe for me, assuming that I would be physically present at the event I am witnessing. Since we don't know what happened, I'll assume that I would be vulnerable to it happening to me, as well.

Seeing Columbus come ashore on the new world would be pretty impressive.

Witnessing a great sporting event - Babe Ruth's called shot, Bill Mazeroski's home run, the Milan championship basketball game, the Mexico City Olympics with Bob Beamon's long jump for the ages, seeing Larry Bird's duel against Dominique Wilkins in the playoffs, any of Pete Maravich's games, Jordan's 63 in the Garden, Wilt's100, Reggie Jackson's 3 HR World Series game, Pudge's HR in the '75 World Series - would be neat to see, but this one calls, I think, for something grander.

When it's all said and done, I think I would have to pick something that was a singular event, one that we know to be stirring, emotionally rousing, and historically important. That leads me to think about being in the audience for a great speech. As to which one, I'll pick one that's admittedly fairly recent in terms of the scope of human history, but it's the one that exemplifies great speeches to me: MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The combination of setting (flanked by Lincoln, the Washington monument, the reflecting pool, the capitol), the speaker (MLK's cadence throughout this one is note perfect), the gravitas of the moment (the pinnacle of nonviolent protest against racial injustice in America) makes this my choice.

I would wish to have been a member of the audience for MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech.

In case you're late to the party, here's the deal...

Here's what I've answered so far...
  • #25 - "I Know What Love Is" by Don White (way more detail here)
  • #35 - no business (more details here
  • #36 - MLK, Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech on the National Mall
Already requested answers...they'll be answered (probably in this order)...
  • 16...19...22...24...27...32...37
Feel free to request other answers in the comments.

October 10, 2011


8Tracks will return next week, Calen. Don't freak out.

Thanks to SuperPunch for pointing this one out...

As to why this exists, well...um...because...see what they were doing was...if you think about the...because...

Yup...that's right.

October 8, 2011

In which the links take a look

October 7, 2011

Lay your hands upon the dial and FEEL the power

We get a little more serious than last week's bubblegum theme with this week's first College Radio of the 80's playlist. There'll be another one next week. Be sure to tune in.

October 6, 2011

Thank a teacher

Taking a week from the TableTopics...haven't had time to write this week's...

In the meantime, take a minute to thank a teacher...

It's a tough enough job that a little encouragement (thanks, Ben Young, wherever you are) helps keep us moving along.

October 5, 2011

The Devil Made Texas

Texas is screwed...

From Jeff Masters' WunderBlog...
The devastating Texas drought that has already cost over $5 billion could continue for nine more years, predicted Texas State Climatologist John Nielson-Gammon in an interview with Reuters yesterday. "It is possible that we could be looking at another of these multi-year droughts like we saw in the 1950s, and like the tree rings have shown that the state has experienced over the last several centuries," Nielson-Gammon said. Drought statistics released yesterday by the U.S. Drought Monitor showed that over 96% of Texas is experiencing the two worst categories of drought, extreme and exceptional. The past 12 months have been the driest one-year period on record in Texas. The main blame for this year's drought can be put on La NiƱa, the cooling of equatorial Pacific waters that deflects the jet stream and takes rain-bearing low pressure system away from Texas. Other large-scale atmospheric/oceanic patterns called the Pacfic Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) have also favored dry conditions for Texas this year. When the AMO brings warm ocean temperatures to the North Atlantic, as it has since 1995, Texas is typically dry. Texas also tends to be dry when the PDO brings cool ocean temperatures to the coastal North Pacific next to North America. This has been the case since 2007 (except for late 2009 and early 2010.) In a post earlier this month in his excellent blog, Climate Abyss, Nielson-Gammon has this to say about the influence of global warming on the 2011 drought:

Precipitation: The balance of evidence does not support the assertion that the rainfall deficit since October 2010 was made larger or more likely by global warming.

Temperature: Compared to long-term averages of summer temperature,the rainfall deficit accounted for about 4°F of excess heat and global warming accounted for about 1°F of excess heat. Warmer temperatures lead to greater water demand, faster evaporation, and greater drying-out of potential fuels for fire. Thus, the impacts of the drought were enhanced by global warming, much of which has been caused by man.

And, yes, I did see Brian Dwan live in college. He and his electric dulcimer opened for They Might Be Giants.

The lyrics, in case you needed them...

Oh, the devil in hell they say he was chained,
And there for a thousand years he remained;
He neither complained nor did he groan,
But decided he'd start up a hell of his own,
Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being shut in a prison pen;
So he asked the Lord if he had any sand
Left over from making this great land.

2. The Lord He said, "Yes, I have plenty on hand,
But it's away down south on the Rio Grande,
And to tell you the truth, the stuff is so poor
I doubt it will do for a hell anymore."
The Devil went down and looked over the truck,
And he said if it came as a gift he was stuck,
For when he'd examined it carefully and well
He decided the place was too dry for a hell.

3. But the Lord to just get the stuff off His hands
He promised the Devil He'd water the lands,
For He had some old water that was of no use,
A regular bog hole that stunk like the deuce.
So the contract was signed and the deed was given,
And the Lord went up to his spread up in heaven.
The Devil soon saw he had everything needed
To make a good hell and I'll say he succeeded.

4. He scattered tarantulas over the road,
Put thorns on the cactus and horns on the toads,
He sprinkled the sand with millions of ants
So the man that sits down must wear soles on his pants.
He lengthened the horns of the Texas steer,
And added an inch to the jack rabbit's ear;
He put water puppies in all of the lakes,
And under the rocks he put rattlesnakes.

5. He hung thorns and brambles on all of the trees.
He mixed up the dust with jiggers and fleas.
The rattlesnakes bites you, the scorpion stings,
The mesquito delights you by buzzing his wings.
The heat in the summer's a hundred and ten--
Too cool for the devil and too hot for men,
And all who remained in that climate soon bore
Stings, cuts, bites, scratches, and blisters galore.

6. He quickened the buck of the bronco steed
And poisoned the feet of the centipede.
The wild boar roams in the black chaparral.
It's a hell of a place that we've got for a hell.
He planted red pepper beside of the brooks;
The Mexicans use them in all that they cook.
Just dine with a Mexican and you will shout,
"I've got hell on the inside as well as the out!"

October 4, 2011

Reality Television...oxymoron

This is why I hate 'reality' television.

It's clearly not 'reality' in the least. It's a manufactured, manicured, groomed simulacrum of reality.

It seems painfully obvious to me that the judges (including a thoroughly creepy Randy-Jackson-alike on the left) have been told to open the scene looking angry and dismissive of the schlub in front of them. Handlers have already screened this schmuck and seen that he looks like crap but has a great voice.

A story...a storyline...ratings GOLD!

Everything about this entire scene - the pauses, the edited crowd reactions, the dramatically lit mixing board, the distantly-shot but immaculately mic'ed reaction shots that make us think we're somehow seeing intimate moments between mother and son -  just smacks of so much fakery and image management that it makes me want to throw crap at my computer monitor.

October 3, 2011

Ashes and Fire streaming

Thanks, again, to NPR for streaming another full album before its release.

This time it's Ryan Adams's Ashes and Fire. Check it...nice, easy, pleasant music.

October 1, 2011

The links...what else were you expecting?

Rock 4A Cause tonight...c'mon out...

IT'S THE 90S! from Everything Is Terrible! on Vimeo.