February 28, 2013

The Big East is dead! Long live the Big East!

ESPN is reporting that the 'Catholic 7' schools have finally agreed to keep the Big East name as they form their new conference. The parts of the article that surprised me...
  • Joining the Catholic 7 schools -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, and Villanova -- in the new "Big East" this fall will be Xavier and Butler, sources said.

    Creighton has emerged as the favorite to become the 10th team, and would also join next season, according to sources. - Really? So we'll have NYC teams playing against Nebraska teams?
  • The departure of the Catholic 7 schools, which would officially begin their new league on July 1, also could mean Notre Dame joins the ACC this summer instead of 2014.

    Sources said Notre Dame has planned on remaining in the Big East for the 2013-14 academic year as long as the Catholic 7 schools did so. However, if those schools left before then, the Fighting Irish would also look to join the ACC this summer.

    If unable to join the ACC in 2013-14, the Fighting Irish would consider spending one season in the Catholic 7 league before moving to the ACC in 2014, a source said. - Notre Dame, whore of the world...how the heck would the Catholic 7 really start play this fall?
  • While Butler, Xavier and, most likely, Creighton are expected to join the new Big East this fall, the Catholic 7 schools are also expected to add Dayton and St. Louis in 2014 for a 12-team league.- Wow...that's an interesting league then. Barely in existence and already looking to get bigger. Sheesh...
  • In the past two years, 16 schools have left or announced they were leaving the Big East. - That's a pretty staggering number. Man...

Bringing it all back - in just over a week's time

Thanks, hulu, for putting together a collection of JT's best from SNL just in time for his fifth time hosting...

February 27, 2013

Bilge Clearing

My list of bookmarked sites about which I'm planning to write at some point has become ridiculously long and unwieldy, so I am clearing it all. Some of the links haven't been presented to you before because I didn't quite know what to say about them. Some haven't been written about because I never quite finished up reading/watch them. I started them, enjoyed the beginning but never got around to the end because they were just too sizable. (tl;dr - too long, didn't read)

Instead of the usual, insightful commentary, you get brief thoughts, and I get a phenomenally smaller list of bookmarked sites.

February 26, 2013

Never heard of it...

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the bombing of the World Trade Center (the truck bomb in the parking garage, not the airplane crashes that finally brought it down). I was looking up some of the details on Wikipedia this morning and clicked through (as I am wont to do on Wikipedia) to the Bojinka plot, one of three See alsos (with the 9/11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing). all links are to Wikipedia today...
The Bojinka plot (Arabic: بجنكة‎; Tagalog: Oplan Bojinka) was a planned large-scale three phase Islamist attack by Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. The attack would involve a plot to assassinate Pope John Paul II, an air bombing of 11 airliners[1] and their approximately 4,000 passengers that would have flown from Asia to the United States, and Murad's proposal to crash a plane into the CIA's headquarters in Fairfax County, Virginia, in addition to the plan to bomb multiple aeroplanes.
The plan was obviously unsuccessful, but I don't remember hearing about this plot at all.

Does anybody out there remember hearing about this at the time?

The coming last year

Princeton High School's current building has to survive one more year. In the fall of 2014, we are scheduled to move across the street into the new Princeton High School/Middle School complex, a single building with common spaces (cafeteria, main gym, auditorium) connecting the two school wings.

Since the announcement of the new school and the eventual destruction of the old building, maintenance has been a bit less urgent, and the cracks have begun to show around school. In general, the issues have been survivable and workable. Maybe half the hallway clocks are working, the drips in the 'covered' walkway through the courtyard have been less likely to be repaired,

In some other ways, though, the building is aging very, very quickly. Twice this year we have had power outages - once in only the music wing and cafeteria, once throughout the whole school. This past Friday we missed a day of school because the fire alarm control panel stopped working - leading a repairman to open his conversation with a principal by saying, "Wow, I haven't seen one like this in fifteen years."

Bit by bit the old girl is falling apart, and I am at least looking forward to the coming year when things really go to pieces.

One day Don Freeman walks into Mathews Auditorium to find all the seats mysteriously gone, the floor replaced with a lush carpet of moss.

We close the second floor to any staff or students save for fifteen-year-olds as the creatures there seem to be angered by anyone of a different age.

Two lights in the community room consistently flash Morse code messages over and over - "He is coming...He is coming...He is coming..."

Triceratops are found in the technology wing when Mr Simpson unlocks the doors in the morning. They seem to be adapting to CAD use but are still struggling with fine motor skills on the mouse.

The electrical outlets in the small gym and rooms next door are all flipped upside down overnight.

All windows on the third floor look out not on Chester and Sharon Roads but rather on mid-twentieth century London during the Blitz.

The hallways are littered with students turned to stone whenever they speak aloud any of a half dozen swear words viewed offensive by the Native American spirits.

Three rooms in the 600 wing are filled three inches deep with water. Even when the doors are opened, the water stays. Shop vacs running for hours on end can't seem to make any dent in the depth of water. Shark fins are seen cutting through the surface of the water in spite of the fact that no shark could survive in water that shallow or green.

No sound can be made in room 446B.


At least there would be good stories to tell from the year.

February 25, 2013

Pluto Rocks!

It may not be a planet anymore, but that doesn't mean we can't learn about Pluto.

Recently scientists found two new 'moons' (numbers 4 & 5) orbiting Pluto, and today- by noon, in fact - is your last day to vote on what the moons should be named.

My choices after the jump so as not to influence your choices.

February 24, 2013

Cool stuff...

Cool stuff from Colbert...

More about Lil' Buck...

More on YouTube...

February 23, 2013

Entire nations crumble at the mere mention of your name...

February 21, 2013

Hope springs again?

We haven't had a snow day in nearly two years at PHS, and we're friggin' due.

Maybe Friday (predicted ice/sleet for Friday morning from Winter Storm Q(?)) can finally pan out for us.

February 20, 2013

Dangerous thoughts

After last night's win, I'm starting to dream of a sixth banner...


February 19, 2013

Let's take a trip

I'm thinking I'd like to start visiting some of the best college basketball arenas in the country, maybe one a year, probably over Christmas break.

I'd rather get to them in the heart of conference season, maybe sit courtside during the big rivalry game, but that could be a bit cost and time prohibitive.

So, what are the best arenas in the country?

  • According to ESPN's Andy Katz...(arenas where I've already seen a game crossed off)
    • Kansas - Phog Allen Field House
    • Duke - Cameron Indoor Stadium
    • San Diego State - Viejas Arena
    • Louisville - KFC Yum! Center
    • Butler - Hinkle Fieldhouse
    • Indiana - Assembly Hall
    • New Mexico - The Pit
    • Gonzaga - The Kennel
    • Arizona - McKale Center
    • Kentucky - Rupp arena
  • According to Travel Channel (repeats from prior lists avoided)
    • Syracuse - Carrier Dome
    • Arkansas - Bud Walton Arena
    • Oklahoma State - Gallagher-Iba Arena
    • Vanderbilt - Memorial Gym
    • Stanford - Maples Pavillion
    • UCLA - Pauley Pavillion
    • Utah State - Smith Spectrum
    • Penn - The Palestra
    • North Carolina - Dean Dome
    • Minnesota - Williams Arena
  • Fannation (repeats avoided)
    • Michigan State - Breslin Center
  • From RantSports (repeats avoided)
    • Wisconsin - Kohl Center
  • From Rivals.com (repeats avoided)
    • Florida - O'Connell Center
    • St Bonaventure - Reilly Center
    • UNLV - Thomas & Mack Center
Of those, anybody have a particular recommendations?

February 18, 2013

Update: The end is nigh

More meteor (not asteroid) coverage...from Friday...

February 16, 2013

It's so rugged that you're going to come out stronger...

February 15, 2013

The end is nigh...

Very cool...meteor in Russia fell to Earth during the daytime...lots of video of it streaking across the sky before the breakup and crash...

Update: Bringing everything out into the light

There are, of course, other options to displaying the Lego collectible minifigs than the one I'm likely choosing.

I could build vignettes for each of the figures, like Cecilihf has done...

...and then to connect them all into one mess of a collection...a visual cacophony...

I think I'll pass on that, though I do dig a number of the individual vignettes.

February 14, 2013

Harlen's new sister

Looks like we'll be getting a new dog next week...

Say hiya to Clementine...

Thanks, Adore-a-Bulls.

February 13, 2013

Update: The buying spree beckons

The Girl added one more purchase for the list of things to get once she's gainfully employed again: a family photo.

I've long wanted to get a family photo of the two of us and our pets. It's a little late to get one with LeRoy, but it's not too late for Ayla and Harlan.

She proposed getting a sitting with the Phodographer, a Cincinnati woman who does studio or in-house sessions for pets (and secondarily their owners). She's a little pricey, but she does good work - both of high quality and of charitable mind, particularly for Adore-a-Bull Rescue, about whom I might have some news soon.

Check some of her work with the Adore-a-Bull folks here...

How cute're they?

February 12, 2013

A little classical shopping

At Princeton's recently-performed Coffee House Theater performances, I was lucky enough to see "Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread", a one-act play satirizing Philip Glass's musical style.

Sadly there aren't - that I know of, anyway - any videos of the Princeton performances. There are some still photos (click forward from that one), though.

The one-act is spectacular, though, and I think you should take a few minutes to see some of the performances that were captured and posted online...

February 11, 2013

The buying spree beckons

The Girl isn't far from joining the world of the employed again after three years of undergrad and graduate school. Three years ago she was RIFed from her school librarian job and headed back to school to get her masters degree as a Speech/Language Pathologist. At that point we went from being a two-income couple to a one-income couple paying for grad school. We've been financially okay, but things have been a little less consumery around here for the past few years.

Come June, however, we go back to being a pair of DINKs, and that means that the purse strings will be loosened a bit. So we've been doing some early dreaming.

Things in the considerations for purchasing upon resumption of DINK status...

  • cable television - We currently have basic cable, the kind of cable that the customer service representatives answer with 'you mean standard cable'. Nope...basic. Twenty-some channels, no ESPN. It's mostly local stations plus Bravo, WGN, Ion, E!, and some other crap channels. That means I miss BCS bowl games, early rounds of grand slam tennis tourneys, and some other sporting events that I would like to watch. I would be okay with watching them on my computer (or eventually computer hooked to the TV), but that requires an ESPN subscription through cable for now.
  • steak - The Girl and I once spent something like $1500 on steaks in a year. Seriously. She said that to me a couple of weeks ago, and it's totally true. I don't think we need to go that crazy, but I do kind of miss going out for nice dinners from time to time.
  • cookware - The Girl is a cook. She's not a chef or anything, but she's a pretty good cook and enjoys doing it. The skillets and saucepans are pretty banged up and not-so-non-stick anymore. We need better stuff to use. Cooks Illustrated has an a la carte set (reg required) that we would most likely consider.
  • smart phones - Man, I want one of those. The Girl wants one a little less. We're both cheapskates, though, and don't like the idea of paying for the internets twice a month.
  • television - The television that we're currently rocking - there is only one in the house, by the way - is about fifteen years old now, a flat screen with a bit tube behind it. It's also not as big as we would like to to be - about 29" diagonal - meaning it's a little tough to have four people play Mario Kart together and that movies are a little less impressive than we would like them to be.
  • mattress - The Girl really wants a memory foam mattress, ideally with the flexible base so she can sit up in bed. Personally I have no interest in the bendy thing, and I think she'll quit looking at one if and when she sees the price of it ($2800 from tempur-pedic for the split queen).
  • vacation - It's been far too long since we got out of town. We're both a little stir crazy. Vacations for us can be anything from camping for a week or so (cheap) to a couple of weeks in DC or NYC or Chicago (expensive). We just need to get out.
There's no rush for any of these things, but the thinking has begun.

February 9, 2013

It's kinda nice to live the bachelor life again...

February 8, 2013

More want

Man, I want this to be offered as a purchasable poster...

February 7, 2013

Ewan McChucklebones

Ewan McGregor on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson

And, because it's criminally underseen, the trailer for Shallow Grave, McGregor's breakthrough and Danny Boyle's first film.

February 6, 2013

A little desk concert

Pokey LaFarge from the NPR Tiny Desk Studio (office)

No more broken arrow

We have a few nuclear weapons in our US military stockpile. I don't know if you've heard.

The part that occasionally frightens me is that we've stored a few of our extra weapons in rather awkward places - like the North Carolina swamps, in wilds of northern British Columbia, of the southern coast of Spain, and other places. In each of those places, and in a few others, the United States military had an accident that resulted in the loss of a nuclear weapon - never to be found again.

The loss of nuclear weapons is apparently a frequent enough occurrence that Wikipedia has a category of articles related to it: Aviation accidents and incidents involving nuclear weapons.

  • 1950 - A US plane had its engines freeze up over British Columbia and was forced to drop its nuclear weapon - with 'natural uranium (?)" but without its plutonium core - before it crashed...weapon detonated
  • 1961 - after an accident of mid-air refueling, a B-52 fell apart and dropped two nuclear weapons into the North Carolina swamp...weapon never found...
  • 1961 - (Same year, two months later) a B-52F decompressed, dropped to lower altitude, and ran out of fuel before crashing to the ground with its two nuclear weapons (both of which were, from what I can tell, recovered)
  • 1964 - B-52 (pattern?) crashed in Maryland with its two nuclear weapons intact after its vertical stabilizer broke off...weapons recovered
  • 1965 - A Sea-A-4 was accidentally pushed off of a US aircraft carrier during a training exercise...weapon never recovered, assumed still lying in 16,000 ft of ocean
  • 1966 - a US military plane explodes on mid-air refueling, dropping four hydrogen bombs, three near a Spanish village, and one into the ocean...three weapons recovered, ocean-dropped weapon never found
  • 1968 - US B-52's cabin caught fire over Baffin Bay (between Canada and Greenland), forcing crew to abandon before the plane crashed into the sea and the four (FOUR) hydrogen bombs to detonate their conventional explosives and spread their radioactive material across the ocean...weapons destroyed...



I'm thinking maybe we should rethink just flying those things around...or having them at all...or even making them...

February 5, 2013

Here's to the first football game I remember

This was a cultural touchstone, man, and I'm happy to have read this oral history of the "Super Bowl Shuffle".
Dan Hampton (Chicago Bears defensive tackle/defensive end, 1979-90): They had approached me to be in the thing and I refused because of being superstitious. I thought it was presumptuous to say, "Oh yeah, we're going to the Super Bowl" when the franchise had never been in one. Willie gave me lyrics, I can't remember, "something something Danimal," or something, and I said there's no way. They hastily rewrote it and went to McMichael and he'd seen that I wasn't doing it and asked why, and I said, "You idiot, you're more superstitious than I am, I ain't gonna jinx this," and he said, "You're right, I ain't going to do this either." It ended up going to Mike Richardson. 
Mike Ditka (coach, Chicago Bears, 1982-92): I didn't know anything about it. It surprised me when I found out. But we had a fun group of guys, and I never discouraged them from having fun. That wasn't the way I did things. Did I think it was inappropriate? No. If you don't think you're going to win, then you're not going to win, that's why I thought [the song] was pretty much a symbol of the fact that they thought they were going to win.  
Valdiserri: After a somewhat humbling first loss on Monday night, we arrived [in Chicago] probably at three in the morning. This thing had been scheduled for an eleven o' clock taping at the Park West. This was not ideal, because we had unnaturally worn our home uniforms for an away game at Miami, and those uniforms had to be cleaned, so we had to get our equipment manager to launder the uniforms and I had to physically take them down to the Park West.


Mike Tomczak (Chicago Bears quarterback, 1985-1990/Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew guitarist): I watched a lot of MTV, and I kind of knew the gyrations for air guitar, so I tried to bring some of my Eric Clapton knowledge, if you will. It was fun — by far one of the more enjoyable experiences of that year. I think I mentioned to Bob Seger at a concert after that season that I played guitar in a music video, and he said, "How'd that go for you?" I said, "Fine, because it wasn't plugged in."
It's even better than this Behind the Music that Fox put together a decade ago.

Plus, it was able to remind me of the existence of this poster, about which I had entirely forgotten.

I remember watching the Bears thump the Patsies in the Super Bowl...from Tumbleweed (a local Tex-Mex restaurant in m'home town)...in a snow storm...with nobody other than my family in the restaurant...

February 4, 2013

Picture Perfect

Sometimes the photos deserve a stand-alone post.


Taco Punk - pairah or savior?

My mom sent me a a pair of clippings from the Louisville Courier-Journal this week.

One was about Wabash hiring a new president. Good to know because I didn't even know they were looking.

The other one was of more interest, however, as it was about a Wabash alumnus - whose time in Crawfordsville overlapped mine - and has opened a Louisville restaurant named Taco Punk. The restaurant markets itself as using only locally-sourced meets (and produce where possible), paying their employees a livable wage, composting or recycling nearly 90% of their waste, and serving high quality, quick service (fast?) food - primarily tacos. The restaurant is owned and cheffed (?) by Gabe Sowder, a Wabash grad from a year after me, and a native of Jeffersonville, Indiana, next door to New Albany, where I grew up.

This past summer Taco Punk got a scathing review in the University of Louisville's student newspaper, the Louisville Cardinal. questioning the revitalization (or gentrification, I'll admit I know nothing at all about the area other than where it is) of the Butchertown/Phoenix Hill/NuLu area of Louisville. The review reads to me like angry, college newspaper writing looking to yell about yuppies and rage against the food machine, all of which just might have colored the reviewer's opinions of the food.

Or maybe not; I haven't been to Taco Punk yet - hadn't heard of it before this weekend, honestly.

Sowder wrote a reasoned and polite rebuttal to the Cardinal review on his Facebook page, and he has since put up a Kickstarter to help them expand their catering business, build an outdoor dining/performing/art area (earning a metro sewer grant for rainwater runoff management), and keep the business afloat a little longer. The Kickstarter campaign has supporters and detractors again lined up and enraged.

I don't know about the gentrification (or revitalization) or the NuLu neighborhood. I'm more in the know about the Gateway Quarter in Cincinnati proper (and I'm not terrifically in the know there).

What I do know is that a Wabash man - a contemporary of mine, a guy from right next to my home town, is trying to do something good - for the environment, for his employees, for his hometown (or the major metro area in which he grew up, anyway), for local charities (promoting donation nights), for his neighborhood, and for his customers,

I pledged $50 to support him, and I wish him well.

If you happen to have a few bucks, feel free to pledge a few his way.

February 2, 2013

I got you, babe

(embed removed because of autoplay)