Tuesday, January 29, 2008

US Weekly Update

Here's the latest:

Weekly points:
1. F-ing French (39)
2. Los Chulos y Las Putas (34)
3. The Boob Jobs (34)
4. Dina Lohan's Playgroup (32)
5. CM's (30)

Season points:
1. The Boob Jobs (356)
2. F-ing French (328)
3. Dina Lohan's Playgroup (278)
4. CM'S (267)
5. Fourteen Freaks and Baby (258)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sunny Days

Sesame Street clips are now online here. Grover and John John, Kermit New Flashes, Guy Smiley. Good stuff. Thank me later for wasting your day.

FYI, you need to type in some keywords to get up the videos. They only show links to a few on the main page. Type "Kermit" and you'll get like 50 clips.

Finally, Your Deepest Questions Answered...

...namely, what religious affiliation does my favorite superhero adhere to? Truly useless information, but I guess this is a commentary on exactly how "empowering" the interwebby is to those of us with "unique viewpoints". Anyway, click here to find out that not only was The Thing (of the Fantastic Four) Jewish but, shockingly, so are Menorah Man and Dreidel Maidel. They should not be confused with Iceman, who is Jewish Catholic (?) . Interestingly, Batwoman is listed as both Jewish and LGBT. So apparently lesbian/gay/bi/transexualality is a religious preference. (If it is, what kind of holidays do you get off? The start of the softball season?)

You'll be happy to know that Wonder Woman worships "Greco-Roman classical religion" (as does Wonder Girl, which I guess makes sense). Hawkman and Hawkgirl worship traditional Egyptian religion, while Storm of the X-men is involved in just "Goddess Worship" (but which one?).

Lilith the Demon Princess is, perhaps not surprisingly, listed as a demon (tough research job on that one). Perhaps more odd is that Vanguard worships Communism. (I don't mean to get picky, but that would probably more of an ideology than a religion, especially given that most Communists rejected religion outright)

Mr. Terrific is agnostic, Despero II is a Scientologist (is this Tom's alter ego?), and Wolverine was "raised Protestant, sometimes atheist, has practised Buddhism, skeptical seeker".

My favorite is Thundra - who is listed as a "Femizonian female supremacist". Girl power, indeed!

By the way, Batman is Episcopalian, Superman is a Methodist, and Daredevil is a Catholic. None of which, I would say, is nearly as cool as being a Femizonian.

Latest Hockey News

I have been lax in keeping up with Michigan hockey. So here's some good information to receive:

USCHO/CSTV Division I Poll
1. Michigan (49)
2. Miami (1)
3. Colorado College
4. North Dakota
5. Denver
6. Michigan State
7. New Hampshire
8. Boston College
9. Notre Dame
10. Clarkson

Others of interest (to me, at least)
16. Wisconsin
17. Minnesota

So the Wolverines hold onto the top spot, thanks to a taking 2 games from Notre Dame this last weekend. Coming up tonight and tomorrow - Michigan State home and home. Going to be some good hockey. Billy Sauer is up to 20-2 with a 1.69 GAA. How does Red keep finding these goalies?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

F*#&ing Favre

The end of the Packers game was bad enough. But I think it was worse because you just knew that Favre was going to chuck up a bad pass at some point to kill them. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGG!

US Weekly Update

Here's the latest. Note that this includes the points for both Nicole Ritchie (4) and Xtina Aquilera (3) for having their babies. (Ritchie gets a +1 because she's not married)

For the Week:
1. The Boob Jobs (42)
2. F-ing French (31)
3. CM's (30)
4. Fourteen Freaks (28)
5. Dina Lohan's Playgroup (26)

For the Season:
1. The Boob Jobs (322)
2. F-ing French (289)
3. Dina Lohan's Playgroup (246)
4. CM's (237)
5. Fourteen Freaks and a Baby (229)

Come on people! Don't let me run away with this. It's getting too easy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Jack Bauer 13 Years Ago

This is a great send-up. Bauer saves the world using AOL.

The Presidential Race

I don't want to delve into politics too deeply here, but this post seems to be spot on:

On the Democratic side of things, Obama isn't such a bad guy, if we can get him to renounce terrorism and stop-fathering crack babies, which you didn't hear from the Hillary camp. Clinton, meanwhile, is being perhaps a little too feminine on the campaign trail, what with the cleavage and the crying, though his wife remains the shrill, cast-iron harpy we've all come to loathe and fear. John Edwards is dragging his poor sick wife across the country in a quest to improve health care. He stands on principle against any hedge fund of which he's not a partner. The rest of the Democratic field is a collection of sissies, malcontents, and nutjobs.

On the Republican side, meanwhile, Giuliani is a polygamist. No wait, that's McCain. Sorry, I meant Fred Thompson. Mitt Romney? No, he's a hard-working, family-oriented husband of one wife who stands for everything that made America great, except that he's in a Satanic cult. The one-time darling of the Libertarians, Ron Paul, used to own slaves. Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, seems to drive Peggy Noonan apoplectic, which is reason enough to recommend him. Someone just needs to stop him from channeling Herbert Hoover. The rest of the Republican field is a collection of conspiracy theorists, isolationists, and psychopaths.

As for policy positions, as best I can tell, the Democrats want to give most of the southwest U.S. to Mexico, and invite Muslim terrorists to publicly behead everyone making more than a million dollars a year, except for Steven Spielberg and George Soros. Republicans, meanwhile, want to kick anyone with a Mexican-sounding name out of the U.S., and conquer the entire Middle East so that Halliburton will have work after it kills all the porpoises while drilling for oil off the U.S. coast, which will soon be just east of Kansas City, as a result of the Bush-Reagan-Hitler global warming conspiracy.

Both parties are convinced that government is exceptionally skilled at doing things they want more of, and entirely incompetent when it comes to things they don't like. Every candidate is a candidate for change, using the failed ideas of the past, to create a brave new world for the children.

Does that about sum it up?

Sports make you do dumb things

There's a paper out there with the following conclusions:

...we find that college football games are associated with sharp increases in crime. For instance, assaults increase by about 9% when a community hosts a college football game, vandalism increases by about 18%, and DUIs increase by about 13%. We also find evidence that upsets result in larger increases in crime than games that do not produce an upset. For instance, an upset loss at home is associated with a 112% increase in assaults and a 61% increase in vandalism. We discuss these results in the context of psychological theories of fan aggression.

There is no additional information on whether this varies by conference, or whether they accounted for the fact that most Ohio State fans are in jail to begin with.

Great Sports

Last night I found Vancouver/Detroit on HDNET. It's one of the few hockey games I've gotten to watch this year, and the first one I watched almost start to finish. It was excellent. Not just because HD for hockey is great, but the game itself was fantastic. Luongo and Osgood both had just ludicrously good third periods to keep the game tied at 2-2. Then Detroit won in the shootout when Zetterberg made Luongo look kind of silly by sliding a puck right through the wickets. It was a great reminder of why I love hockey.

Of course, the bigger sports news in our house is the Packers. I'm not the first person to think this, but right now I feel like the Packers are in Vegas and found $1000 laying on the street. Throw down some big bets and see what happens, it's not your money! They weren't supposed to be good, and here they are. Glad to see that the temperature will get up to a balmy 6 degrees on Sunday. Extra brats and beer for everyone!

Too much to read?

So Kirstin and I both got offers to use up our expiring United miles by ordering magazines. We did not realize we both were doing this, so we are now flooded with magazines. It's kind of fun, but also kind of daunting. Here's the list of magazines we are currently receiving:

1. The Economist
2. Business Week
3. Time
4. Smart Money
5. The Atlantic Monthly
6. The Wilson Quarterly
7. Esquire
8. US Weekly
9. Foreign Policy
10. Financial Times (ok, its a newspaper, but still)
11. ESPN
12. Food and Wine
13. Fine Cooking
14. Wine Spectator
15. Self
16. Shape
17. Architectural Digest
18. Better Homes and Gardens
19. Parenting

I feel like subscribing to something else just to get up to a nice round 20. Now we won't keep all these after our free subscriptions run out, but for the next year I feel kind of bad for our postman.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Christmas 2008

Just an idea for the girls for the next holiday. Who wouldn't want a pair of "Armor of God" PJ's?

Monday, January 14, 2008

US Weekly Update

Through the latest Britney cover issue - "Time Bomb"

For the week:
1. F-ing French (48)
2. Boob Jobs (42)
3. CM's (41)
4. Ocean's Fifteen (40)
5. Fourteen Freaks and a Kid (35)

For the month:
1. The Boob Jobs (74)
2. F-ing French (69)
3. Dina Lohan's Playgroup (62)
4. CM's (60)
5. Ocean's Fifteen (55)

As a public service, here are the top ten celebrities, total points from the beginning of the pool until now:
1. Katie Holmes (32)
Heidi Montag (32)
3. Lauren Conrad (28)
4. Tom Cruise (25)
5. Lindsay Lohan (23)
Spencer Pratt (23)
7. Jessica Alba (21)
Jennifer Garner (21)
Brad Pitt (21)

Um, You might want to try this peanut butter

..or this guy might explode. The highlight quote:

"I love peanut butter. But more importantly for the statement you are about to read here, I know peanut butter. I know peanut butter the way Da Vinci knew fluid mechanics, the way Einstein knew physics, the way Grand Master Flash knows a turntable, the way Tom Brady knows how to perfectly balance throwing touchdowns and humping supermodels. I have eaten it. I have coddled it. I inhaled. What can I say? That’s how I spread."

(Got this from Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic - the best bearded gay beagle-owning Republican still left out there on the web)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Let's Try Something New

How about next year we agree that Ohio State should NOT be in the title game? Are we all okay with that? I'd say two blowouts in a row should get them a 5 year ban from championship games. Pathetic.

Having spend the weekend in New Orleans for work, I got to witness the descent of the scarlet and grey onto that poor city. I'm wondering at what point on Sunday the city experienced its first sausage shortages. Couldn't be happier to see those smug bastards lose.

Now, maybe next year we can actually beat them, and this post won't sound so bitter.

More Books

Finished a few more over the last few weeks. Here's some quick reviews for you.

1. The Bottom Billion
This is about the poorest billion people on earth - basically the population of sub-Saharan Africa. The author is an economist, and he breaks down the issues into several failures that the countries these people live in succumb to. They involve civil war, ethnic conflict, bad policies, and bad luck. As someone who works on this kind of research, I was probably less excited by the book than others because I've already seen these explanations. If you're curious as to what a smart economist thinks are the major issues keeping one billion people living in squalor, this isn't a bad place to start. However, it is written in a pretty dry manner: "And then in this paper, I showed that X matters. And then in this paper I showed that Y matters." So don't expect a really riveting read.

2. Justinian's Flea
This book, on the other hand, I couldn't put down. It's a historical account of the rise and reign of the Emporer Justinian, of the late Roman Empire (late as in the capital was in Constantinople). At the same time that Justinian was taking charge, the bubonic plague made its way into the Mediterranean basin and killed upwards of 20% of the people. The book delves into the origins of both Justinian and the plague, bouncing between history and biology, but delivering both without seeming like a textbook. The overall thesis is that the impact of the plague shaped how Justinian's reign operated, and that the changes he made to Roman law, boundaries, and politics ended up shaping the course of European history for many centuries afterward. While I'm not sure the author sells this thesis very strongly, the sheer amount of fun facts and engaging writing makes it a great book. This is the one history book that could change your mind about history books in general.

3. The Omnivore's Dilemma
Kirstin wanted me to read this. She enjoyed the revelations it made regarding the true nature of what goes into what you eat. The opening section describes the dominant role that corn plays in your diet. Wait, you think, I have corn on the cob here and there, and maybe some canned corn once in a while, but I don' t each much corn. Except that corn byproducts make up something like 50% of what goes into your system. I can't do justice to the author's detailed list of all the products into which corn goes. It's a fascinating set of information on the modern food industry.

Following this, the book moves to an organic farm, and then onto hunting and gathering wild boar and mushrooms respectively. Throughout it all, the author is trying to trace the origins of a single meal, produced through distinct types of agricultural practice. The idea is sound, the details are riveting at times, and when he's on, the writing is witty and engaging.

Now, for the bad part. The tone. The author of the book spends much of it in an existential angst-fest regarding the ramifications of "our national eating disorder". He laments the carbon footprint of our industrial agriculture, the cramped conditions of our pigs and cows, the skewed government subsidies, the ignorance of the masses as to the origins of their food, and his own complicity in the whole process.

Yet for all that, he never actually appears willing to change anything. He's obviously a gourmet, and for him, none of this information seems to have changed his attitude that a great meal is an end in itself. If he were so moved by the experiences of the book, I would think that his reaction would be to swear off processed foods, meat, and anything else produced by the evil industrial-agricultural complex. I can't imagine that this has occurred. And without that final revelation, he comes off as nothing but uninformed and whiny.

I'll leave out my comments on the sheer laziness and stupidity inherent in several of his analyses. They'll just drive Kirstin nuts, who's had to listen to this a million times in the last few weeks as I read the book. It will suffice to say that in his eagerness to jump into the pool, he forgot to check how deep it was first.

Nutcracker Cute

The two Christmas freaks just before the saw "The Nutcracker" for the first time. Maddie had a good time, but Abby was absolutely blown away. She's basically been pestering us for the last three weeks to go back. Unfortunately it's hard to explain "another 11 months" to a 4 year old.

We're Back!

I know that information on the US Weekly pool has been lacking recently. Christmas, New Years, relatives in town, and a work conference in New Orleans last weekend conspired to keep me off the interweb for a while. But have no fear, here are some updated results:

Month of December:
1. The Boob Jobs (161)
2. F-ing French (150)
3. Ocean's Fifteen (121)
4. Dina Lohan's Playgroup (120)
5. CM's (118)

First Week of January:
1. The Boob Jobs (32)
2. Dina Lohan's Playgroup (28)
3. F-ing French (21)
4. CM's (19)
Fourteen Freaks and Kid (19)

1. The Boob Jobs (238)
2. F-ing French (210)
3. Dina Lohan's Playgroup (186)
4. Ocean's Fifteen (171)
5. CM's (166)
Fourteen Freaks and a Kid (166)

Honestly, this is getting embarrassing. People are going to start thinking I actually pay attention to this stuff. I guess I'll get to hang on to the golden Barbie trophie for another few months. (For information, the Oscar's are Feb. 24th - so you've all got about 6-7 weeks to recover).