August 31, 2013

Standin' on shaky ground...ever since you put me down...

August 28, 2013

The Grammy curse

This summer, Calen and I got into a discussion about whether there is a curse on the winner of the Grammy for Best New Artist. In the end we went through all of the winners and divided them into four categories. So, is there a curse?

(Sadly the papers on which the original divisions were written have been lost. I should've scanned them in far sooner.)
  • Legends
    • Bob Newhart '61
    • The Beatles '65
    • Marvin Hamlisch '75
    • Mariah Carey '91
  • Solid careers
    • Bobby Darin '60
    • Peter Nero '62
    • Robert Goulet '63
    • Tom Jones '66
    • Jose Feleciano '69
    • Crosby, Stills, Nash '70
    • The Carpenters '71
    • Bette Middler '74
    • Natalie Cole '76
    • Sade '86
    • Tracy Chapman '89
    • Toni Braxton '94
    • Sheryl Crow '95
    • Lee Ann Rimes '97
    • Christina Aguilera '00
    • Alicia Keys '02
    • Norah Jones '03
    • Maroon 5 '05
    • John Legend '06
    • Carrie Underwood '07
  • Minor careers
    • Bobby Gentry '68
    • Carly Simon '72
    • America '73
    • Debbie Boone '78
    • A Taste of Honey '79
    • Rickie Lee Jones '80
    • Christopher Cross '81
    • Sheena Easton '82
    • Men At Work '83
    • Culture Club '84
    • Cyndia Lauper '85
    • Bruce Hornsby & the Range '87
    • Jody Watley '88
    • Marc Cohn '92
    • Hootie & the Blowfish '96
    • Paula Cole '98
    • Evanescence '04
    • Amy Winehouse '08
  • Weak, weak choices
    • Starland Vocal Band '77
    • Milli Vanilli '90
    • Arrested Development '93
    • Lauryn Hill '99
    • Shelby Lynne '01
  • Too soon to tell
    • Adele '08
    • Zac Brown Band '09
    • Bon Iver '11
    • fun. '12
  • Who?
    • The Swingle Sisters '64
    • Esperanza Spalding '10
 The count...
  • Legends - 4 (but one isn't in music)
  • Solid careers - 20
  • Minor careers - 18
  • Weak, weak choices - 5
  • Too soon to tell 4
  • Who? - 2
I'm going to say that the award is far from a curse but that it's also not a guarantee of long-term success.

August 27, 2013

Our idiot children

The Girl and I don't have any kids, but we have two cute dogs. The fool on the left is Hollis (named after the outstanding Christmas tune "Christmas in Hollis"), and the fat girl on the right is Clementine (named before us but fitting the song-dog theme with "Darling Clementine").

Feel free to go 'awwww' any time now.

Admittedly, Hollis looks kind of like a special child there, but he's not. He's a tough little mug.

Bonus points!

UPDATED as of 12:52pm 8/25/13

It's that time of the school year, new students, new chances for bonus points.

Here's how my students can earn bonus points this year:
  • first 5 people to leave a comment here on the blog about some post
    • congrats to ?? (Mike2500 and James Muffinman need to say who they are) (still available)
    • must actually say something substantive about a post that looked interesting (not just "hey, gimme points")
    • the account name cannot be your own name...for example, me making an account called Lonnie Dusch wouldn't work. Feel free to mention your name in the comment, though, so I can assign points appropriately.
  • first 5 people to join the honors Facebook group or the CP facebook group
    • congrats to Fayth, Hannah, Tanner, Karina, and Yuliya for honors (DONE)
    • congrats to Emma and Allison for AP (still available)
    • congrats to Catherine for CP (still available)
  • first 5 people to have a an adult family member (parent, stepparent, grandparent, whatever) join the honors Facebook group or the CP Facebook group
    • congrats to ?? for CP (still available)
    • congrats to ?? for honors (still available - one joined, but the student already had the points for emailing me)
  • first 5 people to send me an email to my school account
    • congrats to Jasmine, Rushona, Alena, Michael, and Francisco (DONE)
That's 30 opportunities for extra credit.

No one can earn more than 5 points total here to hopefully spread things out some.

Oh, and the only AP folks eligible are the ones I haven't taught before. Emma, Jonathan, Lira, and Allison - go for it! All of my honors and CP students are eligible.

August 26, 2013

The Disposable Man

I am absolutely fascinated by the human drive to climb Mount Everest and the utterly ridiculous differences in the world up there from the world down here, what it does to the human body, and all the science involved.

I find the initial efforts to summit Everest brilliant and horrific at the same time. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay - as well as the first oxygen-less summitting from Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler - are heroic and stunning and deserve every bit of the historical notoriety that they have received.

I'm also horrified by the current adventure tourism that is leading to more and more people summitting Everest without anywhere near the proper preparation and skills and doing so on the back of the sherpas, far too many of them are dying because of the job. There is a great article over on Outside Online about that last part. (Thanks to Fresh Air for covering the story.)

It's not something that most of us are ever going to remotely consider, but DO NOT climb Everest.

You will die - or you will pay someone to die for you.

August 24, 2013

Wilco...wilco...wilco will love you, baby

August 23, 2013

Which side are you on, boys, which side are you on?

Calen mentioned casually that her son had to take a political views inventory on the site (it's listed under 'quiz' on the site) for his social studies course this fall.

He's apparently fairly well split down the middle, agreeing almost equally with the Dems and the Republicans. I thought I knew fairly well where my beliefs lie, but I'm always curious to take a survey.

So, before you cheat and look at the answers, lemme explain the set up of the survey.

Questions are asked. For example, the first asks "What is your stance on abortion?". A radio button lets you choose "pro-choice," "pro-life," or "choose another stance." If you click "choose another stance," five more options pop up along with an "add your own stance" option. There are 43 total questions, and you can also give each issue a ranking of how important the issue is to you (on a five-point scale).

So, what's your guess on how well (from 0% to 100%), my opinions would agree with these five political parties (listed alphabetically here):
  • democrats ?
  • green party ?
  • libertarians ?
  • republicans ?
  • socialists ?
My scores are after the jump.

August 21, 2013

17 for 22

Who's got more than our team's 17 for 22 that our trivia team racked up last Monday?

Answers after the jump, and no cheating.
  1. How many wings does a housefly have?
  2. What is the name of the newspaper where Peter Parker works?
  3. How many minutes are the a quarter of an NBA game?
  4. What was Boy George's band's name?
  5. On what continent is the Cape of Good Hope?
  6. On the cover of the Beatles' Abbey Road album, which Beatle is barefoot?
  7. What was the product of the Manhattan Project?
  8. What mythical creature is the official animal of Scotland?
  9. What was the name of the movie starring Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis as serial killers? Bonus: Who directed the film?
  10. What make blue cheese blue?
  11. What sport do the Nashville Predators play?
  12. Name a year when Beethoven was alive.
  13. Was FDR a Democrat or a Republican?
  14. Name the explorer who named Canada for the French.
  15. Name the actor who was in Reservoir Dogs, From Dusk to Dawn, and National Treasure.
  16. Who was president when the Wright Brothers made their first successful flight?
  17. What sport is Kelly Slater a national champion of?
  18. In what year did Tony Blair become prime minister, the movie Titanic premiere, and ___?
  19. What two movies did Jennifer Grey and Charlie Sheen appear in together? 
  20. How many countries border Belgium? Bonus: Name them.
Answers coming...

August 19, 2013

Lego, not Lego

The Lego group has a bunch of adult fans of Lego (AFOL) - me among them.

Some of those fans are dedicated enough that they just aren't satisfied with just the official Lego releases.

So they turn to BrickArms where they can get Lego-scaled rocket launchers...

...or custom Shaun of the Dead figures...

Or they turn to MMCB for their most custom of cloth, minifigure-sized accessories like custom-colored, phoenix-printed capes...or general dracula-style capery for their minifigures...

...or Arealight for their custom Star Wars-themed Lego-ish figures

...of Brickforge to get all sorts of minifigure-fitting weaponry and accessories...

...and Custom Crazy's Shop for war hammers and skull armor (and lots more)...

...Brick TW's store for oriental accessories and fully-chromed minifigs...

...or Citizen Brick's ink or 'botany' enthusiasts...

Me, I'm just going to be happy with the collectible minifigs series 11.

August 17, 2013

Links are back...

...with a vengeance...

August 16, 2013

They call me 'her'

One last chance to guess the theme of today's playlist (which is also the theme of Wednesday's playlist).

Give up?

August 14, 2013

8Tracks returns, too

If the blog is coming back - and it is, I promise three updates a week, maybe more if the muse strikes - then 8tracks are coming back, too.

I'm not telling what today's theme is.

Friday's 8tracks will have the same theme, though, and I'll reveal it then...if nobody has guessed it first.

August 12, 2013

Thoughts on the ubermench

Thoughts on Man of purely rambling form...

Spoilers abound...

August 9, 2013

Lots of Rock Lists

I think we're pretty much all suckers for lists.

If you are, check out's page of classic rock lists.

You'll find the best songs by dozens of artists (Queen, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and LOTS more), the best guitar solos (of Randy Rhodes, Eddie Van Halen, the US national anthem, more), best rock feuds, career-saving albums, career-killing albums, and lots, lots, lots more.

And start with these lists...

August 7, 2013

The Pale, Blue Dot

Each week ZenPencils illustrates a quote, a speech, a something.

Recently they hit one of the most wonderful quotes around, Carl Sagan's Pale, Blue Dot speech. Take a look at the full comic on their site.

And see the original photo (from NASA)...

(You have to know where to look to see us.)

...and an animated response...

Pale Blue Dot from ORDER on Vimeo.

More images of Earth from space can be found over here, too.

August 5, 2013

Update: Hope ya like the new me

It's been seven years (almost to the day) since I posted a list of things that I would buy/do when I won the lottery.

With the lottery PowerBall jackpot currently up in the $300 million range again, The Girl and I spent another ride home from The Hometown daydreaming about how we will be spending our clearly inevitable dosh.

Lots of the things haven't changed, but there are a few updates and additions.

First, the job at PHS is almost certainly going to go by the wayside. I'm more eager to travel than I was back then, so I'm not going to hang around in Cincy for nine and a half months of the year.

Next, The Girl and I are going to rent a house somewhere on a warm beach every summer. We'll also invite a bunch of close friends (and their kids, since pretty much all of 'em are breeders at this point) to join us for as much time as they can manage (a week, a weekend, a couple of weeks), and we'll pay to fly them there.

I'll sponsor a couple of ASM's summer camps. I may or may not still work at them. I enjoy the heck out of doing that.

I'm going to pay to have Richard Thompson play the Southgate House (Revival, officially) and reserve myself the table just over his shoulder when he's on stage. My mom gets to pick where Bob Dylan gets to play for her. The Girl and I are going to see John Mellencamp at the Bluebird in Bloomington (I know, sis, you've seen him there already.) And we'd be flying Calen with us to see U2 at some bar in Dublin. Heck, she's been there, so I'll let her pick the bar.

And, in the biggest change, we'll be buying 7475 Lesourdsville-West Chester Rd (google maps & bing). It's not too far from where we live. It connects diagonally with The Best Man's backyard. It's got a whole bunch of trees and space to keep the subdivision rats a bit away. Then we're going to call up This Old House to build us a new old house. We have some ideas of what we want in this new, fantastic house...
  • lots of windows (like this house)
  • a sound system built into the walls and with ipod docks around
  • a deck with built-in grill and a hot tub
  • a room for the dogs to hang out in when we're gone, with outside access to a fenced run
  • LEED certification
  • a great garden layout from Roger Cook
  • a guest house for friends 
  • more trees - probably in a variety of species so no one pest can kill 'em all