January 31, 2014

Hey, aren't you Lot's wife?

I tend not to be a reflective individual, but sometimes you just need to take a moment and see where you've been...

Things that went well...
  • We have two marvelous, new dogs: Hollis and Clementine. Both are, again, named after songs: "Christmas in Hollis" and "My Darling, Clementine." We got Clementine in February and Hollis in August. I wasn't ready for either one, but The Girl was ready, and I have thanked her a dozen times over. Hollis is the white dog there in the pic, the one who looks like me might be mentally challenged. He isn't at all. He's a smaller dog than we've had before (about 45 pounds), and Clementine is marginally larger than we've had before (around 65 pounds). They're a spectacular match for each other as he's younger and more energetic than she, forcing her to play more than she would otherwise do. She's inherently lazy, as we saw when she was the only pet around the house for a month or so.
  • I said yes when Becky Brown, a music teacher at PHS, asked me if I was interested in being on the Ohio Education Association's Board of Directors. It odd to me that I've never been an officer - not a building rep, not a president, not a treasurer, nothing - of my local teachers union but I'm one of fifty people running the state's union. I'm absolutely loving being there, though. I'm learning things every single meeting, contributing to the betterment of my profession locally and on a state level, and having a blast.
  • I taught four summer workshops around the country, two of them with Calencoriel. I stumbled into ASM's master teacher program and have found myself a teaching family, somewhere that I feel very much appreciated and somewhere that I have been able to do teaching that's reinvigorating in so many ways. This summer I'll teacher four more workshops: Indianapolis, IN; Butte, MT; Houston, TX; and Provo, UT (maybe). I've also been running a second blog for the camps and the master teachers.
    • I worked two camps back-to-back, flying directly from Houston to Salt Lake City. A few other master teachers I had spoken to said working two back to back was a killer, but I actually found the second week to be easier as I had the curriculum right at the front of my brain. Setting up the labs was easy because I'd just done it all. I knew what I needed and when I needed it. 
    • I was also the more experienced master teacher in Provo, something I hadn't been before. In the past I'd worked as the junior master teacher or on even footing with Calen. I think I set a good example for Cynthia and might, in fact, be working with her again. At least I'm doing the Provo camp this summer, too.
  • I posted full scans of twenty old PHS yearbook. Admittedly much of the work was done by my student aides at school, but I at least directed the project and am finally seeing production from a project that I had been working on half-heartedly for a few years now.
  • In general, I'm in a better mood at school. I spent a couple of really angry years at PHS, holding back a lot of feelings toward our administrative team, and I've been learning much better to let those things go, to understand what is and is not within the span of my control, to know my role within the building. I think the OEA and ASM stuff has helped that because I can look outside the building for affirmation when I need it.
  • I continue to enjoy most of my interactions with my students. I'm not necessarily thrilled about the part of the teaching job outside the classroom, but I still enjoy what I do within those four walls.
Things that didn't go so well...
  • I find myself becoming less and less inclined to do the grading work that I need to do for my job. This is a problem. I'm putting things off, planning to wait until breaks and weekends, then not doing what I need to do on the breaks and weekends. It's not a good pattern.
  • I'm also less interested in doing anything for the PHS website other than the aforementioned yearbook project. I don't get the impression that anyone above me is paying attention to whether I'm doing a good job or not. I get praise whether I do a good job or not. Positive feedback and behavioral modification is not happening.
  • I'm heavier and less active than I have been at any point in my life. I'm not at all happy about that or the fact that I'm edging toward having to buy larger pants. That has to change and soon.
Things that just were...
  • The Girl and I lost two of our pets this past year. Our cat Aylah passed away in the morning of July 4th, and Harlan had to be put down earlier that same week. I'd spent much of the summer away from Cincinnati, and I wish we hadn't had such an awful week, but I'm glad that I was in town to go through this with The Girl.  It's still tough to look at pictures of the two pets without tearing up. The Girl still has Harlan's picture as her phone's background and LeRoy's pic as her Facebook banner. The sadness wells up from time to time, and I miss all three of our first pets something fierce at times.
  • The Girl finished up her Speech and Language Pathology (SLP) masters degree and returned to Hamilton City Schools. I'm proud of her decisiveness and willingness to accept the need to return to school for retraining when her chosen career, school librarian, didn't go out the way that she had hoped. She's enjoying the SLP work but not necessarily the workload.

January 29, 2014

Update: My top tens

In a post two weeks ago, I listed my top ten movies, books, albums, comic books, and restaurants. I ended by asking if there were any other top tens you'd like to know. Smamy asked for my favorite sports venues.

In no particular order but grouped by sport...
  • Seymour High School (high school basketball)
    • I spent a number of March Saturdays in the Seymour gymnasium, often watching three games in a day, something that doesn't happen in the Indiana state tournament any more, sadly. I sat courtside. I sat in the highest extremes. I saw Bobby Knight in the stands. I saw Damon Bailey break the state scoring record. I saw New Albany win, and I had my heart broken.
  • Southport High School (high school basketball)
    • I've only seen a game and a half there, both in the same day when New Albany was undefeated and headed to an obvious state title - only they weren't because of Brownsburg High School and Gordon Hayward.
  • New Castle High School (high school basketball)
    • New Castle's gymnasium is the largest high school gymnasium in the country with seating for 9,325 rabid fans. I've never seen it full, but I love going to the Hall of Fame tournament whenever I can.
  • Dayton Arena (college basketball)
    • Five games are played there in a day for the Ohio high school basketball tournament, and they're pretty good games since it's the round of 32 for the state. I've never managed my dream of seeing all five even once. I have seen Princeton play there a number of times in the lucky years when the team is good and the tournament draw is right. I also got to see Indiana edge Temple in the second round of the NCAA tournament last year - admittedly in slightly worse seats.
  • Assembly Hall (college basketball)
    • Indiana's gymnasium is the first place that I saw a college basketball game, and at this point it's the last one I've seen one. Throughout the years I was taken there by my parents, and I've come to make a pilgrimage there once a year as an adult. I love the place.
  • Cintas Center (college basketball)
    • This is another place where I've seen Princeton's state title hopes end unsuccessfully and thankfully stay alive a number of times. It's often where the first few rounds are played and always where the Cincinnati area's final four representative is decided. Once since I've been at Princeton that representative was that Vikings.
  • PNC Park (baseball)
    • The Girl and I have made a number of rounds to various major league ballparks over the years, not having visited a new one for a long while now, though. The Pittsburgh stadium, at the confluences of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers is absolutely the perfect stadium. It's marvelously well designed and gorgeous.
  • Wrigley Field (baseball)
    • Without romance, without beauty, without the marvels of baseball, this is an aging, outdated, cramped stadium. With the romance, with the beauty of the ivy, with the marvelously picturesque, it's near perfection.
  • Mud Hollow (soccer)
    • Sure, this is because I lived in the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house and was able to watch a soccer game on our land, haranguing the visiting goalie from over his shoulder - we weren't allowed to stand right behind the goal. Once we were even told by the university that we were being too nasty and negative and had to move to the sidelines. I'm not proud of it, but those were some good times.
  • Little Giant Stadium (football)
    • For the homecoming games and parades and beauty pageants alone... 
I've been two NFL stadia - the Hoosier Dome and Paul Brown Stadium (only from the concession stands, never seeing an actual game).

I've been to a number of major league baseball stadia...
  • Atlanta - Turner Field 
  • Baltimore - Oriole Park at Camden Yards
  • Chicago - Wrigley Field, US Cellular Field
  • Cincinnati - Great American Ballpark, Riverfront Stadium
  • Cleveland - Jacobs Field
  • Detroit - Comerica Park
  • Miami - Sun Life Stadium
  • Milwaukee - Miller Park
  • Minneapolis - Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome (now torn down)
  • New York - Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium (both now torn down)
  • Philadelphia - Citizen's Bank Park
  • Pittsburgh - PNC Park
  • St Louis - Busch Stadium (now torn down)
  • Washington, DC - Nationals Park
...and a few minor league ballparks - Durham, Indianapolis, Louisville, Dayton.

I've seen big-time tennis in two cities - Cincinnati and Indianapolis, including the Davis Cup in the latter.

I've seen one major league soccer game - the Columbus Crew when they were playing at The Horseshoe on Ohio State's campus.

I've seen high school basketball in dozens and dozens of other gymnasiums - mostly in Indiana and some in Ohio.

I've seen a couple of minor league hockey games - in Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

January 27, 2014

Back to basics to say goodbye

I've been in on Community since the beginning, and I'll certainly agree that last season found the show wandering. This season, though, with Dan Harmon back as show runner, the series has hit its stride with this week's episode being among its best...great, great stuff...

January 25, 2014

This show that you're watching right now is paid for by those ads you just watched.

January 23, 2014

Random ten playlist

Today's random ten playlist from iTunes...I've no idea in which order they'll appear for you, so here we go...
  • "Desperado" by The Eagles (3 stars out of 5 on iTunes) - Oh, God, how I hate the Eagles. I get that they're historically possible and sold tons of records, but I just get ridiculous, California, late 1970's excess whenever I hear them. I get the feuds and the drugs and the money and the booze and the ridiculous reunion tour with tickets costing hundreds of dollars and being one of the first tours to take full advantage of VIP tickets for fifty- and sixty-year-old fans who have moved on to Bentleys instead of VW vans. "Desperado" is barely passable to me. Of their entire output, I only really like "Seven Bridges Road" and "Hotel California"...maybe "Heartache Tonight". Other than that, I can pretty much pass 'em all by.
  • "Judy's Turn to Cry" by Lesley Gore (3/5) - It's not a bad song, and I have a soft spot for what I refer to my students as 'white people oldies' because when I generically call music 'oldies,' a vast section of them think I mean 1970's and early 1980's r&b.
  • "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" by Elvis Presley (3/5) - This one's from the Sun Sessions CD, and it's from my favorite era of Elvis. Yeah, I jokingly love the fat-Elvis phase, but I really love his early, gospel-, bluegrass-twinged rock and roll.
  • "Games" by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals (4/5) - It's been a little sad to be without any new Ryan Adams in two and a half years (longer if you discount that release which had been recorded five years earlier.) After years of three albums - including this one, Jacksonville City Nights, it's been like a bit of withdrawal for me.
  • "We Only Come Out at Night" by The Smashing Pumpkins (4/5) - I think the Pumpkins hit their artistic high water mark on Mellon Collie, and I particularly like this weirdly both melodic and dissonant track.
  • "The Late Greats (live)" by Wilco (4/5) - Easy five-star track in its original album version and even on Kicking Television, but this recording's a little heavy on audience noise. If I have to suggest a few tracks for somebody to start on Wilco, this is certainly in the first ten or so. It's a great rock song about all the best bands.
  • "I Was Made for You" by Rivers Cuomo - This one's from Alone: The Home Recordings, a collection of demos and unfinished songs that Cuomo released two volumes of. There aren'te finished gems here, but there are a number of really interesting songs that either never got developed or did and ended up in different forms. Good stuff from a prolific writer.
  • "Hope Your Happy" by Blackroc (3/5) - The idea of Blackroc is an odd one to me: a combination of the Black Keys and numerous rappers, but it works. Not every track's a hit, but many of them hit solidly. Good stuff, though there are better tunes on the album than this one for me.
  • "Ripple" by Jimmie Dale Gilmore (4/5) - I love JDG's voice, but he's certainly a unique sound out of the Texas Panhandle. He's twangy and rangy and a great songwriter - though this is a cover - and he's a heck of a lot of fun...mark it a zero, Smokey .
  • "Sugar Magnolia" by Grateful Dead (3/5) - Meh...yeah, it's pretty enough, but it just never gets anywhere for me.

January 20, 2014

Thank you, Styx

Who doesn't love a good illusion, especially one you can play with?

Grand-Illusions.com has a fun assortment of novelties for sale and a digital museum of other fun toys that the owner has collected over the years. To make things even better, they have videos showing off almost all of the items.

I'm most interested in...

The nitonol spoon...

January 18, 2014

It's time to stop arguing and start time traveling...to the time machine!

January 17, 2014

My top tens

Tastes shift, and favorites come and go.

It's a fact of life.

Because of this any attempt to list my ten favorite whatevers will only result in a list of my tastes at the moment. A year down the road, things in favor could fall out, and others could take their place.

With all that as caveat, I offer up my all-time top tens (or so, and in no order within each list)...
  • Movies...(not necessarily the greatest, just my favorites)
    • Hero
    • The Usual Suspects
    • Dr Strangelove
    • Fight Club
    • Hoosiers
    • The Muppet Movie
    • The Player
    • The Thin Red Line
    • The Big Lebowski
    • Goodfellas 
  • Books (must've read each at least twice to earn inclusion in the list)
    • Brave New World
    • Slaughterhouse 5
    • The Electric Brae
    • The Book of Basketball 
    • Infinite in All Directions
    • Haunted
    • Iowa Baseball Confederacy
    • Radioactive: a tale of love and fallout
    • The Disappearing Spoon
    • The Great Shark Hunt 
  • Albums/CDs (the most prone to shifting tastes...avoiding Greatest Hits packages)
    • My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West
    • The Heist - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
    • Blood on the Tapes - Bob Dylan bootleg
    • A Ghost is Born - Wilco
    • Plastic Beach - Gorillaz
    • Alright, Still - Lily Allen
    • Gold - Ryan Adams
    • Graceland - Paul Simon
    • Step Inside This House - Lyle Lovett
    • Body Talk - Robyn
    • Traveling Wilburys - Traveling Wilburys
  • Television Shows (also very much prone to shifting tastes)
    • The Wire
    • Deadwood
    • Scrubs
    • Mad About You
    • Parks and Recreation
    • Bob's Burgers
    • Archer
    • The Daily Show
    • The Colbert Report
    • Sportscenter
  • Albums/CDs (greatest hits collections only)
    • Action Packed: The Best of the Capitol Years - Richard Thompson
    • The Best of 1980-1990 - U2
    • A Quiet, Normal Life - Warren Zevon
    • Carry on Up the Charts - The Beautiful South
    • Decade - Neil Young
    • The Hits/The B-Sides - Prince
    • Just Another Band from East LA - Los Lobos
    • Personal Best - Harry Nilsson
    • The Very Best of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
    • The Very Good Years - Frank Sinatra 
    • Comics (not full series)
      • Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow
      • Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader
      • Spider-Man: Blue
      • Supreme: Story of the Year
      • Pride of Baghdad
      • Superman: Secret Identity
      • Eternals
      • Batgirl: Year One
      • Superman: Red Son
      • Batman: The Long Halloween
      • Superman/Batman: Absolute Power
      • Dark Knight Returns 
    • Comic series
      • Planetary
      • Sandman
      • Invincible
      • All-Star Superman
      • Powers
      • Watchmen
      • Astro City
      • Ultimate Spider-Man
      • Astonishing X-Men (Whedon's run)
      • Fables
      • DMZ 
      • Locke & Key
      • Scott Pilgrim
    • Restaurants & foods
    Are there any other 'favorites' that you'd like to know?

    January 15, 2014

    "Hoosiers revisited" visited

    A couple of weeks ago Calen and I went to New Castle High School to see the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Classic tournament - won by Greensburg in two impressive performances - and stopped by the Hall of Fame and museum across the parking lot. While we were there we tried watching "Hoosiers revisited", a video playing in the museum.

    Luckily there was a sign saying the video was available on YouTube.

    And, yeah, I have something in my eye. There's an eyelash. Shut up...

    And, man, I need to gets to Knightstown.

    January 14, 2014

    The speed of plot returns just in time

    I've mentioned things happening at the speed of plot before, and it's absolutely one of my favorite story tropes.

    The concept makes a brilliant return in the most recent Order of the Stick comic, one of the best ongoing comics out there. Read along and catch up. The plot'll wait for you.

    January 13, 2014

    Quotes from the past

    Back when I was in college I collected quotes. It feels very much a college thing to do: to use other people's words to explain who you are. I was beginning to look beyond my walls, to explore a far larger world than New Albany, and I wanted to know with whom - with which great thinkers - I was going to align myself.

    I included these quotes in my teacher education portfolio, at which every intereviewer would allegedly (but not really) look, or so my professors told me. I printed the quotes out and made them into a bulletin board. I saved them into a Word file that's been following me around, stored on computer after computer for nearly twenty years now.

    I haven't looked at the quotes in a long while now, and I don't know that every one agrees with who I am so much as who I was or at least who I wanted to be.
    • “ Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation.  The foundation for such a method is love.” - Martin Luther King, Jr. - December 11, 1964
    • “ L’amor che mouve il sole e l’altre stelle. “ - Dante Alighieri
    • “ A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous. “ - Ingrid Bergmen
    • “ What you do speaks so loud that  I cannot hear what you say.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
    • “ Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.” - Leonardo da Vinci
    • “ Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions.  You may have a heart of gold - but so does a hard-boiled egg.” - anonymous
    • “ The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” - Eden Phillpotts
    • “ What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.  It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.  It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” - Crowfoot
    • “ A thermonuclear war cannot be considered a continuation of politics by other means.  It would be a means to universal suicide.” - Andrei D. Sakharov
    • “ An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.” - Victor Hug
    • “ First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out,
      Because I was not a Jew.

      Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out,

      Because I was not a Communist.

      Then they came for the Trade Unionists and I did not speak out,
      Because I was not a Trade Unionists.

      Then they came for me,

      And there was no one left to speak for me.”

      - Pastor Neimoeller (Nazi Victim)
    • “ I may not agree with a word you say, but I shall defend unto my death your right to say it.” - Voltaire
    • “ You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” - Robert Zimmerman
    • “ Good and evil both increase at compound interest.  That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance.” - C.S. Lewis
    • “ Love your life, poor as it is.  You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse.  The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode.” - Henry David Thoreau
    • “ Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.  Do throws off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.” - Mark Twain
    • “ Avoid what is evil; do what is good; purify the mind - this is the teaching of the Awakened One [Buddha].” - The Pali Canon
    • “ The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.” - Mark Twain
    • “ The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that is the essence of inhumanity.” - George Bernard Shaw
    • “ Lord, what fools these mortals be!” - Puck - Midsummer-Night’s Dream
    • “ Human subtlety...will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature, because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.” - Leonardo da Vinci
    • “ To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.” - Theodore Roosevelt
    • “ From the intrinsic evidence of his creation, the Great Architect of the Universes now begins to appear as a pure mathematician.” - Sir James Hopwood Jeans
    • “ There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.” - George Bernard Shaw
    • “ Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” - Malcolm Forbes
    • “ One impulse from a vernal wood
      May teach you more of man,

      Of moral evil and of good,

      Than all the sages can.” - William Wordsworth
    •   Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammerschool; and whereas, before, our forefathers had no other books but the score and the tally, thou hast caused printing to be used; and, contrary to the king, his crown, and dignity, thou hast built a paper mill.” - Henry VI, Part II - Shakespeare
    • “ All of us can think of a book...that we hope none of our children or any other children have taken off the shelf.  But if I have the right to remove that book from the shelf - that work I abhor - then you also have exactly the same right and so does everyone else.  And then we have no books left on the shelf for any of us.” - Katherine Paterson
    • “ Use the talents you possess for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except for the best.” - unknown
    • “ In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose” - J Robert Oppenheimer
    • “ Science is built up of facts, as a house is of stones.  But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.” - Jules Henri Poincare
    • “ Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe.  I dispute that.  I say that there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.” - Frank Zappa
    • “ The plow is one of the most ancient and valuable of man’s inventions, but long before he existed the land was in fact regularly plowed, and still continues to be thus plowed by earthworms.  It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as these lowly organized creatures.” - The Formation of Vegetable Mold Through the Actions of Worms - Charles Darwin
    • “ Had I been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.” - Alfonso the Wise
    • “ Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

      All mimsy were the borogroves,

      And the mome raths outgrabe.
      Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

      Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    •    The frumious Bandersnatch!” - Lewis Carroll
    • “ Golden teeth and golden tones, welcome to my presence!” - Dr. Teeth - The Muppet Movie
    • “ When I am playful I use the meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude for a seine, and drag the Atlantic Ocean for whales.  I scratch my head with lightning and purr myself to sleep with the thunder.” - Life on the Mississippi - Mark Twain
    • “ One food for the rest of my life?  That’s easy - cherry Pez.  Cherry-flavored Pez.  There’s no doubt about it.” - Vern Tessio - Stand By Me
    • “ Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I’m delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever.” - Baron Munchausen
    • “ Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.” - Scottish proverb
    • “ Life’s like a movie / Write your own ending.” - Kermit - The Muppet Movie
    • “ There’s someone out there for everyone- even if you need a pickax, a compass, and night goggles to find them.” - Harris T Telemacher - LA Story
    • “ One word frees us from all the weight and pain of life: the word is love.” - Sophocles
    • “ Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” - Henry David Thoreau
    • “ What most people need to learn in life is how to love people and use things instead of using people and loving things.” - unknown
    • “ And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.” - Abraham Lincoln
    • “ Man is a successful animal, that’s all.” - Remy de Gourmont
    • “ Man seems to be a rickety sort of thing, any way you take him; a kind of British Museum of infirmities and inferiorities.  He is always undergoing repairs.  A machine that was as unreliable as he is would have no market.” - Mark Twain
    • “ Let us give Nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do.” - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
    • “ If cattle and horses, or lions, had hands, or were able to draw with their feet and produce the works which men do, horses would draw the forms of gods like horses, and cattle, and they would make the gods’ bodies the same shape as their own.” - Xenophanes
    • “ Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a car.” - Laurence J. Peter
    • “ Operationally, God is beginning to resemble not a ruler but the last fading smile of a cosmic Cheshire cat.” - Sir Julian Huxley
    • “ Friends do not live in harmony, as some say, but in melody.” - Henry David Thoreau
    • “ What is a friend?  A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” - Aristotle
    • “ Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.” - Mark Twain
    • “ Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day.
      Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” - Chinese proverb
    • “ A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.” - Thomas Carruthers
    • “ True science teaches, above all, to doubt and be ignorant.” - Miguel de Unamuno
    • “ The science of one age becomes the superstition of the next.” - George Lyman Kittredge
    • “ But then they danced down the street like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’” - Jack Kerouac
    • “ We Americans live in a nation where the medical system is second to none in the world, unless you count maybe 25 or 30 little scuzball countries like Scotland that we could vaporize in seconds if we felt like it.” - Dave Barry
    • “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.  As it stands, We have allowed this to happen to ourselves.”  - Glenn Seaborg
    • “ It is an unfortunate fact, borne out by research and much anectdotal experience, that by the time they reach high school, most students have already decided whether or not they like chemistry, and whether or not they are good at it.”  - Glenn Seaborg   
    I don't know what to say about all these quotes, so...um...now they're saved for me.

    You know...just in case...

    January 11, 2014

    Now, it's only a half...

    January 10, 2014

    I want me

    I've been happy with my choice of throwing my lot into the Wii camp, but there is now one reason why I wish I'd gone for the XBox Kinect: the ability to get a personalized figure of myself via 3d printer and Kinect from shapify.me.

    Anybody out there have a Kinect? Can I come over?

    January 8, 2014

    Update: Update: Update: Lego SImpsons...my guesses

    Apparently the Simpsons Lego rumors only beat the official rollout by a couple of days as the Lego Group made the official announcement today (perhaps nudged by the leaks, I dunno). There are loads and loads of high-res pics at the link above or on Lego's official Facebook page. They also announced the listed price of $199.99 and the impending release of February - possibly on February 17 - and the new prices for the May minifigures at $3.99 per figure (hopefully only inflated because of the Simpsons license and need for new head molds).

    The Hall of Fame...the only one that matters

    I don't know why I care so dang much about baseball.

    I don't really like watching the games. Yeah, I go to a couple a year, but I'm there as much for the social aspect as I am for the beauty of the game.

    I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the day-to-day standings during the season. Yeah, I follow the Reds a bit, but I'm not checking every day until the last couple of weeks of the season, and then only if the Reds are in contention.

    I certainly never played the game more than my very infrequent visits to the batting cages, a couple of homerun derby games, and some Wiffle ball games.

    For some reason, though, I care far more about Baseball than I do about baseball. See, there's a distinction there for me. I love Baseball, the capital B kind, the Game, the history, the legends and stories, the records...all of it. Just because that doesn't translate to a total love of baseball doesn't mean I love Baseball any less.

    I blame James Earl Jones and W. P. Kinsella and Annie Savoy and Crash Davis and Bill James and Rob Neyer.

    Because of all this, though, I care about the baseball Hall of Fame far more than I should. In reality, the Hall of Fame is a dumb, arbitrary, collection of some of the best (and some of the not-quite-so-best) players in major league baseball history. Today's voting announcement won't really matter in the scope of the world. Some players who I think should get in will probably get in. Some players I think should get in probably won't. Some players who I think shouldn't get in just might get in anyway.

    But still I care, and I'll be following today's 2pm announcements like nobody's business because I care.

    That also means I'm paying a lot of attention to the announced ballots, ballot analyses, and predictions in advance of the announcement.

    I particularly enjoy Chris Jaffe's predictions article on The Hardball Times. He sees Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, and Craig Biggio going in. I'd be fine with those choices.

    The IBWAA sees the same four going in, though with Glavine ahead of Thomas.

    Honestly, Joe Posanski's thoughts are pretty close to mirroring mine. There are more deserving candidates this year than there are spots on any ballot. And there are players who deserve to get in and won't because of PED issues and rumors. I don't know that I agree with his #13, but I do think there are fourteen Hall-worthy players on this year's ballot.

    The Baseball Hall of Fame continues to matter, and I'm thrilled to have read Bill James's The Politics of Glory (now published as Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?) for my understanding of the history of the Hall. Give it a read if you have any interest in the Hall's past, present, or future.

    January 6, 2014

    Update: Update: Lego SImpsons...my guesses

    This morning I posted an image from Carlos S of the front of the box of the new Lego Simpsons House. At forum requests, Carlos S (via GrooveBricks) was able to get a photo of the back of the box showing the inside of the apparently hinged house.

    Dang...that's a whole lot of detail in the place, and it looks like a lot of new pieces, too.

    Update: Lego Simpsons...my guesses

    The first leaked image of the Simpsons' 742 Evergreen Terrace Lego set has been leaked, and it's massive.

    It also includes the full Simpsons family and Ned Flanders, six of the characters I guessed we'd see in the next collectible minifigures line. Assuming the leak (from Carlos S via Uproxx) is real, how does that change my guesses as to which figures we'll get?

    I'm going to go with thinking it doesn't change things much. I think the Lego Group will give us alternate versions of the family - other than Maggie and Marge. There have been enough different costumes and versions of Maggie, Bart, and Homer through the years that I think we'll get duplicates of those three. I don't see another Maggie or Marge outfit because they're really in the same things most all the time. And I'm thinking Ned's already getting his one version - unless we get a set of the Leftorium or Praiseland (complete with gas leak).

    That drops out three of my fairly certain characters and leaves me with three to replace. Here are my original choices and reasoning...
    • Waylon Smithers
    • Selma Bouvier - probably not because Selma requires Patty
    • Patty Bouvier - probably not because Patty requires Selma
    • Duff Man - This might be the one that I want most just for its quirky nature, but I think Lego will avoid the alcohol overtones.
    • Ned Flanders
    • Lenny & Carl - That's two characters who really can't be done individually. When we're this tight on spots, I don't think we can use up two spots on these goofs.
    • Troy McClure - They've been resolute about not bringing back Phil Hartman's character on the show, so I'm assuming they won't bring him back in the Lego world either.
    • Itchy & Scratchy - I don't know how these two would translate to the Lego world and whether they would be two separate figures or one with an accessory of the other.
    • Chief Wiggum
    • Ralph Wiggum - Ralph stands onstage with Lisa, but bringing him in edges Lego to dealing with special needs characters, something they might want to avoid.
    • Comic Book Guy - I would love getting one, but he seems to be a far lesser character in Springfield.
    • Hans Moleman - This would be a quirky choice, but he's never been a lead character in a story, and I can't see him as anything other than a cut-to gag character.
    • Principal Skinner
    • Edna Krabappel - Edna's voice, Marcia Wallace, passed away in October. I'm thinking they'll let Edna pass on peacefully.
    • Nelson Muntz
    • Groundskeeper Willie - Like Hans Moleman, Willie doesn't drive stories in the Springfield world, so I think we can manage without him.
    • Sideshow Bob - Lego isn't known for characters with dark, violent pasts. This one might be a little murderous for Lego's self-professed target audience.
    With three new spots to fill, I'll go with bringing back in Ralph Wiggum, Sideshow Bob, and Groundskeeper Willie.

    That means my official guesses are now...
    • Homer - alternate
    • Bart - alternate
    • Lisa - alternate
    • Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
    • Montgomery Burns 
    • Moe Syzslak
    • Milhouse Van Houten
    • Krusty the Clown
    • Barney Grumble
    • Grandpa Simpson
    • Waylon Smithers
    • Chief Wiggum
    • Ralph Wiggum
    • Principal Skinner
    • Nelson Muntz
    • Groundskeeper Willie
    • Sideshow Bob
    Wait, that's seventeen. Apparently my original guesses were too generous by one. Let's drop off Sideshow Bob so Lego isn't endorsing murder.

    Oh, and if you're wondering how much the Simpsons' home is going to cost, here are some vague comps based on # of pieces and minifigures.
    I don't know what the new set's price will be, but I'm thinking I won't be buying it.

    Separately, I'm not sure I like the very much non-Lego-minifigure-looking Simpsons shown on the box above. THey look too blocko-ish for my taste.

    January 4, 2014

    Don't worry, San Diego, Daddy's here.

    • Anchorman 2 isn't funny. Don't waste your money in the theater. But the sort of sequel made entirely from outtakes from the first film is worth watching. And, as of earlier this week, it was available for free in low resolution on YouTube.
    • Used to be a Pizza Hut - There are so many former Pizza Huts out there, and some of them are at least creatively being recycled. 
    • By some designer - anybody know who designed this piece?

    January 3, 2014

    Lego Simpsons...my gueses

    With the rumored confirmation that Lego's thirteenth series of collectible minifigures, to be released in May, 2013, will be Simpsons-themed, I'm feeling like taking a few guesses as to what sixteen figures we'll get in the series, which are the sixteen most iconic/important/essential Simpsons characters.

    All of this is predicated on the fact that no figures are held back as full-set-only inclusions. It appears that we'll only get one set, 742 Evergreen Terrace. If they make it so that you can only get Marge, for example, by buying that set, then my sixteen won't be quite right.

    Absolute musts...
    • Homer
    • Marge
    • Bart
    • Lisa
    • Maggie
    Next round, the ones I feel fairly confident should be among the released...
    • Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
    • Montgomery Burns 
    • Moe Syzslak
    • Milhouse Van Houten
    • Krusty the Clown
    • Barney Grumble
    • Grandpa Simpson
    That takes us to twelve of the sixteen figures. Now things start to get tough with only four spots left in the series and a whole bunch of regular characters who deserve a shot. I'll list reasons why the individuals will not be included. Let's see if that can get us to the four.
    • Waylon Smithers
    • Selma Bouvier - probably not because Selma requires Patty
    • Patty Bouvier - probably not because Patty requires Selma
    • Duff Man - This might be the one that I want most just for its quirky nature, but I think Lego will avoid the alcohol overtones.
    • Ned Flanders
    • Lenny & Carl - That's two characters who really can't be done individually. When we're this tight on spots, I don't think we can use up two spots on these goofs.
    • Troy McClure - They've been resolute about not bringing back Phil Hartman's character on the show, so I'm assuming they won't bring him back in the Lego world either.
    • Itchy & Scratchy - I don't know how these two would translate to the Lego world and whether they would be two separate figures or one with an accessory of the other.
    • Chief Wiggum
    • Ralph Wiggum - Ralph stands onstage with Lisa, but bringing him in edges Lego to dealing with special needs characters, something they might want to avoid.
    • Comic Book Guy - I would love getting one, but he seems to be a far lesser character in Springfield.
    • Hans Moleman - This would be a quirky choice, but he's never been a lead character in a story, and I can't see him as anything other than a cut-to gag character.
    • Principal Skinner
    • Edna Krabappel - Edna's voice, Marcia Wallace, passed away in October. I'm thinking they'll let Edna pass on peacefully.
    • Nelson Muntz
    • Groundskeeper Willie - Like Hans Moleman, Willie doesn't drive stories in the Springfield world, so I think we can manage without him.
    • Sideshow Bob - Lego isn't known for characters with dark, violent pasts. This one might be a little murderous for Lego's self-professed target audience.
    I'm stumped on narrowing it does further than that. That leaves me with seventeen characters for sixteen spots. On sheer blind guessing, I'll say we don't get Waylon Smithers.
    Click on through to a website that'll let you identify every character in the poster.

    January 1, 2014

    Happy New Year!

    Happy New Year, everybody!