Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Elite Words

Words You Can't Say Without Sounding Pompous:
  • Chaise
  • Most words with a "tion" suffix (democratization, demarcation, flaggelation)
  • Words with more than three syllables
  • Toutes les mots francais
  • Pompous

Monday, December 28, 2009

Shaving for Jesus (and that Creepy Guy at Dominick's)

As all things of worth, the plan was largely born out of laziness and tradition. Spurred on by past breaks from college, I got into the habit of ceasing my semi-weekly shaves in December. Never lasting more than two weeks, my face carpet seldom reached the shag stage. This year continued in that tradition until an incident at the local grocer.

I'd started taking better care of my visage during the past week to prevent the post-shave discovery of the zitty aftermath from eating copious cookies with peanut butter and nuts. In the morning I found myself staring in the mirror. First the left side. Then the right. Comparing the thickness of each. During the day, I'd sit at my desk and evaluate by touch how long the hair had grown since I last checked (an hour ago).

There's something inherently mesmerizing about facial hair, even more so on the women I date. I think it all started with Wooly Willy. I've made mistakes when shaving, often leading to grossly uneven sideburns, but the beauty is that it eventually grows back and I can try again. Also, when shaving I can see how I look with each variation (chops, goatee, mustache, fu manchu).

The beard had grown past the 5 o'clock shadow stage, past the grizzly look and was clearly headed toward rugged mountain man (think Moses). I'd planned on shaving before my trip to Tampa to ease the security process at the airport, but plans changed as I was checking out of Dominick's.

As I was checking out, a middle-aged man and his wife were finishing up their grocery purchase as their four kids meandered around the baggage area. An elderly man with glasses and a white beard, possibly in his late 60s, commented from behind the father that the man and his wife "make good lookin' kids." The father let out a cautious laugh.

The old man continued, "I'll give you two million dollars for them."

It was at this precise moment I saw my future and knew I had to shave.

My cashier decided to contribute to the conversation after giving a quick look at the kids, "Maybe 1.9. It's a recession."

First, if the man even had $2M I doubt he'd be doing his own shopping. Two, that's $500k/kid and I didn't see the kids bag the groceries, so the likelihood that he'll see a decent ROI from their potential as workers is slim. Lastly, the father was smart to walk away from the negotiation table. It could have gotten ugly.

I previously had three reasons to shave:
-Interview/Event with movers and shakers

But now I have to add "Being perceived as creepy old dude who has a Polansky-esque fascination with kids."

Cookin' Up a Storm

When I don't have to work, I cook.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shared: Comcast to Rename OnDemand Online Service 'Xfinity' - 2009-12-02 22:00:53 | Broadcasting & Cable

Yeah, because that's so much easier to remember.

Comcast to Rename OnDemand Online Service 'Xfinity' - 2009-12-02 22:00:53 | Broadcasting & Cable: "Comcast appears ready to launch its authentication-based online video initiative under the new moniker of Fancast Xfinity TV, according to promotional materials obtained by B&C. The new service may also go by Xfinity, for short. The service had been called OnDemand Online since it was first announced earlier this year.

Comcast has not yet responded to a request for comment."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Shared: The Ninja Warriors Among Us

We've been warned.

The Ninja Warriors Among Us - Seattlest

If Seattle is going to make national news, it might as well be for ninjas. A lone man was found by Seattle Police on Monday night screaming atop a 5 foot fence post. He claimed he wasn’t being chased, and merely "overestimated his own ninja skills." This overestimation led to impalement atop said fence post and a trip to Harborview Medical Center. Apparently, the man found himself on the fence post after fleeing a fight outside of a sports bar. Police believe alcohol may have played a (very significant) role.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Not Everything’s Big in Texas: Learning the 2 Step in Houston

With a lit cigarette affixed to the corner of his mouth, he perched on his stool, his legs barely reaching the top rung. He punched the keys on the register and I handed the little person my $5. Knowing what I know about geographical stereotypes, I wondered who let him into Texas.

I followed my cousins into Red River, a slice of authentic Texan nightlife. The twang of country music reverberated around the barn-like venue. A large pole or support beam was in the center of a circular dance floor. The DJ, a man contributing to this, was in a small room high above the two-steppin’ epicenter. A fair amount of people were doing the two step as my cousins sang along from our booth overlooking the floor. With my eyes locked-in on the couples’ feet, I tried to figure out the steps. Some couples spun around quickly, while others mixed in turns and variations. Why is it whenever you’re trying to learn a dance you never see anyone doing the basic?

“Look at that cowboy,” my cousin Emily admiringly remarked while pointing. A tall man with a hat was warming up by dancing around the floor by himself. My cousins also pointed out the other good dancers and I did my best to lift their steps. By this time the dance hall was full-up. I reckon a good 250-300, including some pretty young women that I didn’t ask to dance. It’s the Andrew way.

Emily touted the dirt cheap price of booze at the north Houston hot spot. With credit card in hand, I headed to one of the three bars with her boyfriend. When we returned with a club soda, rum and coke, Bud light and 7&7 (I’ll let you guess which was mine), she asked me the total. She seemed befuddled when I told her the total was $9.50. Coming from Chicago, where I recently spent more than that on one drink in Viagra Triangle—not my scene, I discovered—u was elated.

As our drinks were running low, a waitress walked by asking if we needed another round. Her work attire consisted of the following: jeans and a white button down shirt. She opted to only use two of the buttons near her navel. This exposed what most would deem an ample chest region. Her bright pink push-up bra distracted me from her face. Not sure if she had one. The consensus at the table was D’s. I applaud this girl for the truly creative part of her uniform. Like many of you, I often misplace my pen leaving me sans writing utensil and unable to take down a girl’s number at a club or strike up a game of Tic Tac Toe with strangers on the bus. This girl—I didn’t find a name tag—came up with a solution. Nestle the pen in between your boobs. Brilliant. I tried unsuccessfully when I returned home. I was curious if I paid by credit card where I’d have to swipe.

After she left and I was able to blink again, Emily took me on the floor for a quick lesson. The two step is a lie. It’s really five. Once I got past this, we were steppin’ our way to a cup on Dancing With the Stars. I avoided bumping into anyone for fear of being shot. We returned to our booth and I resumed playing the crowd-pleasing game of “Where’s that waitress?” Later I danced with my cousin Amanda before we all got on the floor for the Cupid Shuffle line dance. I didn’t get a chance to bid adieu to our cocktail waitress.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Notes from the Quarantine: Living with the Swine Flu (or Influenza Type A)

After re-evaluating my bucket list upon being told there was a 50 percent chance I had the Swine flu, I noticed an omission. This post. The world needs to hear (read) my story.

I've opted to tell this story in a chronological, blow-by-blow narrative. Get your H1N1 mask (or remnant Sars mask) and let's embark on this journey together.

Day 1

It all started Tuesday. I awoke and felt my tum tum a-rumblin'. I figured it was the influx of fiber I ingested Monday. (TIP: Shoot for 30g and be sure to hydrate.)

6:42 AM: After a raisin bagel instead of my usual frosted shredded wheat bathed in soy milk, I resumed my morning routine and left for work. As I went through the day, I started to not feel well. I knew I wasn't going to make it to the 5 PM whistle. I finished up my work and notified my boss of my illness at 2:35 PM. Driving home in a daze, I wondered why fiber would do this to me especially when I've been such a strong supporter. Then, I realized it wasn't what I ate.

3:17 PM: Once inside mi casa, I picked out my contacts, switched into my pjs and crawled into bed. The judges gave my face plant an 8.7. My lower back began to ache. Shortly thereafter, every joint and muscle followed suit. I donned a cool rag like a ninja and managed to lull myself to sleep by moaning and groaning. The pain intensified. Tylenol did little to curb the pain. The balance of the day was spent in bed under my flannel sheets, quilt, 2 blankets and an afghan that would've kept Nanook warm.

Day 2

5:58 AM: While an ardent devotee of swimming, in particular, synchronized, I prefer not waking up in an Olympic pool-amount of sweat. My boss told me to text him if I wasn't going to make it in. I reached for my phone and sent a quick text that I was still ill, then drifted back to my sweat lodge. Wednesday featured the development of a cough and increased pain. My lower back felt as though my kidneys had been yoinked out in my sleep. Unless I started growing again, there was no explanation for the shin splints. Each and every muscle and joint ached. I drifted in-and-out of lucidity. The morning was consumed with watching Uncle Buck. I also continued my diet of champions: saltines, ginger ale and toast. Try not to salivate over the keyboard.

2:38 PM: Scrolling through my text messages--they remain entertaining after the fact, even thought they aren't Texts from Last Night caliber--I discovered that I didn't text my boss' mobile, but his desk phone. When will technology prevent me from myself? I sent him an email to ensure he knew where I was--death's doorstep--and again returned to sleep.

Day 3:

8:15AM: The pain continued. Again I woke drenched like a kid in a SuperSoaker commercial. Not just any SS either. I'm talking SS 6000.

10:47AM: At my mom's urging, I went to the doctor. After relaying my litany of symptoms, the doc got a swab and gave a preemptive apology. She proceeded to tickle my brain by way of my left nostril. Fifteen minutes later I got the results.

11:50AM: Positive for Type A Influenza. The doctor told me I had a 50:50 shot of having swine flu. I was also out of the window for TamiFlu. So I was instructed to not go to work, drink lots of fluids, rest, and, the toughest one, not go to Homecoming. She also advised that Motrin works better at relieving muscle aches. Once home, I popped one and returned to the now well-developed rut in my bed, where I'd been the past three days. I quickly dozed off.

2:37PM: When I woke 2 hours later I was soaking wet--so much so that I needed to towel off. I've come out of the shower less wet. I spent the rest of the day eating light and in bed.

Day 4:

This one's a bit of a blur. The days run into each other when all you're really doing is getting up to go to the bathroom or get a tissue to blow your nose. I think I watched episodes of Extras. The cough and pain continued. Only woke in a kiddie pool amount of sweat. There was some disappointment because Friday night was the young alumni homecoming party, which I'd been looking forward to for a while. I celebrated at home with shots of Wal-Tussin.

Day 5:

The pain started to subside a bit, but still present. I received texts from friends who were at the game, which was nice. Plus, the 'Cats pulled out a victory, especially for me. I watched A Fish Called Wanda and Her Alibi with my mom Saturday night, then went to bed.

Day 6:

I didn't wake up in a puddle today. Back still hurts.


If you think you have any of the symptoms I've mentioned, or the CDC mentions, get your sick self to the doctor before you spread it. In the past week I've discovered there are certain things not on their list that distinguish just how sick you are (it reads like a vagrant manifesto):
  • Don't have the energy to brush your teeth.
  • You aren't bothered by your odor.
  • You're fine with wearing the same clothes for 3 days straight.
  • Don't see the point in wearing glasses or putting in contacts.
  • The only movement you did all day was rolling from your left side to your right.
  • Don't have enough energy to turn off People's Court.
In the past week I got a few notes from friends on Facebook, but no cards, no singing telegrams, no care packages. No one visited me. I mean its not like I have Swine flu or anything.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shared: Hybrid Cars May Include Fake Vroom

Could they make the sound from the Jetsons instead?

Hybrid Cars May Include Fake Vroom for Safety: "Makers of hybrid and electric vehicles are working to let them emit sounds, so people can hear them approaching.

Shared: His/Her Pillows

While funny, I've had some dates that would make pillow selection difficult.

His/Her Pillows: "

Can I please have this pillow set for our bed. The hub would die if he walked by our bedroom and saw this.

from Freshly Picked (found via you are my fav)


Shared: The Secret of My Success

Survival of the fittest.

Now Beer Pong Will Give You Swine Flu: "

According to administration officials at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, drinking games like beer pong have been linked to the spread of the H1N1 virus. Drinking from shared cups — even medically sanitary red Solo ones! — is apparently a surefire way to pass swine flu, and several students at the school seem to have contracted it that way. This is great. As if we weren't bad enough at beer pong, now we have the threat of a debilitating illness with every cup we lose to the other team. [NYP]

Shared: She Fights Her Own Battles

Society never disappoints.

She Fights Her Own Battles: "Post Office, East 70th Street, 2PM

An elderly woman is taking a very long time at the automated postage computer and a lengthy line has formed behind her.

Young Man (very loudly): There should be a muthafuckin' age limit for these machines!
Middle-Aged Man: Sir! That language is uncalled for around ladies! Unacceptable!
Elderly Woman: Thank you, but I can fight my own battles. (Speaking to young man) Eat shit, dick face!
Young Woman: ROCK ON!

Subscribe to Joe.My.God.


Shared: There’s A Rep for That!

There’s A Rep for That!: "

A LOL to start the weekend, before Apple gets it taken down…


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shared: Obviously it wasn't armed robbery...


Obviously it wasn't armed robbery... | Oddly Enough | Reuters: "MIAMI (Reuters) - A bank in Florida refused to cash a check for an armless man because he could not provide a thumbprint.

'They looked at my prosthetic hands and the teller said, 'Well, obviously you can't give us a thumbprint',' Steve Valdez told CNN on Wednesday."

Shared: Drunk Grandmaster Checkmated After Dozing Off

This doesn't sound very grandmasterly. What the story doesn't mention is that he's 12.

Drunk grandmaster checkmated after dozing off: "CHENNAI, India (Reuters) - A leading French chess player turned up drunk and dozed off after just 11 moves in an international tournament in Kolkata, losing the round on technical grounds, domestic media reported Friday.

Shared: Miss Venezuela Villa/Beauty Factory

I wonder if they take visitors. I hear the weather is nice this time of year.

Sweat, blood and surgery: welcome to the Miss Venezuela villa - Times Online: "It is a temple of beauty where 20 women have spent a grueling six months on a program of diets, weigh-ins, personal trainers, catwalk classes and lessons in dance and elocution. Welcome to the Miss Venezuela villa.

Inside the mirrored walls — and ceilings — of this salmon-pink monument to kitsch, the competitors in this week’s national final are honed to the image of perfection envisioned by Osmel Sousa, the president of the Miss Venezuela Organisation and self-proclaimed “specialist in the female figure”.

The girls are examined on arrival by Mr Sousa and his team and given a list of flaws to address — often with the help of cosmetic surgery, one of the country’s largest industries."

BODY. And here is the rest of it.

Shared: Australian Teenagers Find Bag of Cash (and turn it in)

Reason enough to start fishing?

Australian teenagers find $100,000 $– and hand it in:

"Two teenage brothers, fishing for bass and catfish in a secret water hole near a picturesque country town in eastern Australia, thought that they had won the lottery when they hooked a bag of money last week.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

I Found God at Whole Foods

I always thought Heaven would have free parking. At times I considered whether or not it would be valet.

Ascending the steep incline in my foreign-made voiture to the promised lot in a congested city with limited parking, I joined an assemblage of luxury and hybrid cars, the latter having assigned spaces closer to the entrance, which I found in poor taste given the celestial locale. I guess even Heaven has a hierarchy.

After entering through the automatic doors, the air smelled of a mix of patchouli and affluence. I felt the need to genuflect. What was odd was I descended into this oasis. I always thought I would need to ascend into Heaven, not slowly and smoothly descend via escalator to the pearly gates. Doe-eyed, I tried to acclimate myself to the soft, green-hued lighting and majesty that is the new (few months old) Whole Foods off North Avenue in Chicago. There was a quiet hum in the building with the sound of shopping cart--there are at least four different grocery container options--wheels spinning and talk of what was in today's Times or on NPR. Thankfully, I brought my reusable grocery bags emblazoned with my alma mater's logo and the latest issue of The New Yorker.

Additionally peculiar is the fact that I put Heaven as my destination in Google Maps and it led me here, the land of organic grapes, samples a-plenty and intelligentsia willing to pay $7 for a canister of cookies. Still slumming it in the suburbs, I long for the day when I too can squeeze some shopping in between yoga and pilates sessions. That's right. They do both. Their lives are that stress-filled. After all, it is the city.

Initially, my eyes darted from one fit form sporting spandex to the next, each checking out some item that has aided them to look like God intended them to. I think it was soy nuts or alfalfa. I put some in my basket. Clearly, it was working for them.

A self-proclaimed disciple foretold of this land of organic milk and honey. While she spoke in hyperbole, she didn't enlighten me as to the proper path once inside the gates. Forced to find my own way, I first looked at the beauty section. Who knew there were so many varieties of soap and shampoo? Not seeing my usual brand I figured I must be killing baby seals using it and resolved to pitch it once home (still using it). Just a tip, strangers perceive you as creepy when you repeatedly and deeply inhale with your eyes closed in their vicinity. I was trying to mentally store what Heaven smelled like.

Next, I spotted the fish monger mongering. Then the meat section of free range and organically-fed beasts of burden. I just purchased inhumanely treated chicken at the regular grocer, so opted to pass on the $6 a pound chicken breasts. Knowing the name of the chicken was a nice touch on the packaging though.

Zig-zagging the pristine aisles I settled in the chip aisle and vacillated between 8 different types of tortilla chips. Blue. Whole grain. Half grain. Corn. With lime. Frazzled, I closed my eyes and reached toward the shelf. Frankly, the woman over-reacted. Again, my eyes were clearly closed. How was I to know she got in the way of my hand?

After dodging her semi-full canvas bag and channeling Usain Bolt, I paused to waft the aromas of the tea and coffee section, then darted to the back corner of the store where all the baked goods were housed. Brownies, baguettes and bagels, all still warm from the oven, all tempted me.

Offending the greater female population in the store had made me hungry and I paused for nourishment in a little plastic cup. My best guess is that it was a spring roll skewered by a toothpick. The challenge was eating it. Made of some secret slippery substance, the segment was un-skewerable. Trying to look poised among my peers, I struggled with the age-old problem: getting food in the mouth sans hands and staying classy. Defeated, I tossed the remaining contents in a garbage canister and placed the cup in my basket to recycle.

Circling back to the booze section, I peered down my nose at the bottles of wine from all over the world. This area seemed to be the most fairly priced. Next time I need to bring something to a party, I'll get it here. The wine then comes with the snob story of how I got it at Whole Foods. My crowded basket (tortilla chips and a used plastic cup) simply didn't have room for a bottle of Riesling.

Possibly the best part of this location is the assortment of non-grocery areas. It has a wine bar. A regular bar. Some sort of food/restaurant establishment. A community table where shoppers, nee experiencers, are encouraged to sit and meet some new people. No one followed the instructions of the sign.

The place seems like the ideal date location. You can learn about your date's allergies and food preferences. Then, after everything goes well, you can grab some flowers, a cake and rent out the place for the nuptials. There may have been a gym. I'm not sure. At this point I was a bit overwhelmed. My Whole Foods disciple hadn't prepared me for the wonder contained in those four walls. Perhaps I should have gone with a buddy.

I looked for Holy water to bless myself as I exited, and after finding none, exited. I just hope they don't judge me for abandoning my basket of unpurchased goods.

Shared: The Plight of the Tall

I can commiserate with some of the new world's tallest man's gripes. While he has a scant two feet on me, I too know the struggle to constantly be bending over for things, like to wash your hands, and being geriatrics's errand boy at the grocery getting the things just out of reach. Maybe you aren't supposed to eat that much mayonnaise, that's why it's on the bottom shelf.

A few questions on Sultan Kösen's search for love and a car:
  • Have you tried a Scion? Those things are quite roomy.
  • How is it hard to find people? You can see all the women in a one mile radius.
  • Do the online dating sites even allow you to input height that high?
World’s tallest man Sultan Kösen seeks love — and a big car:
"When you are the tallest man in the world, some family chores are easier than others. “They use my height to change light bulbs and hang curtains,” Sultan Kösen explained.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shared: Another Way to Tell Your Neighbors You're Better than Them

If we have learned nothing else from the green revolution, it's that the eco-conscious are also concerned with how it looks. Not sure where this idea originates, but some drive hybrids for the social benefits. People know you drive a hybrid because it looks different than the other cars on the road. These tiles will make your neighbors think that you've either started building with Legos or are working to make the world a better place.

I wonder if you can get them to match the color of your hybrid...

Solar panels shaped like clay roof tiles: "

Converting to solar energy means covering a roof in unsightly solar panels. Not necessarily: Philadelphia company SRS Energy has developed the Solé Power Tile, a roof tile designed to sustainably convert sunlight into electricity without compromising aesthetics. The dark blue tiles, manufactured by SRS Energy, are jointly branded and distributed by US Tile and specifically designed to be compatible with the clay roof tiles manufactured by US Tile. Customers who purchase clay tiles will be given the option to upgrade a section of their roof to Solé Power Tiles. When installed, the system can offset a large proportion of a homeowner's energy costs—not to mention cleaning their carbon conscience. The tiles are available in select West Coast markets this autumn, with a nationwide rollout planned for spring 2010.

SRS Energy says that the Solé tiles, made from a high-performance polymer often used in car bumpers, are lightweight, unbreakable and recyclable. Flexible solar technology by United Solar Ovonic is embedded inside each tile, allowing them to function independently of each other. Meanwhile, the performance of the system as a whole is monitored remotely by SRS Energy and US Tile. The director of engineering at SRS Energy is J.D. Albert, who also developed the electronic ink technology used in Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader.

What's so attractive about the Solé Power Tile system he and his team have produced is that it makes it easy for consumers to make a green choice, without having to settle for a product they find unappealing. With more tile styles and colours in the pipeline, SRS Energy could soon be enjoying a big chunk of eco-bounty, as will any other company that can remove the disincentives from sustainable technology.

Website: www.srsenergy.com

Contact: www.srsenergy.com/ContactUs.aspx

Spotted by: Anne-Marie Fischer

Shared: Dan Brown Makes Top 20 List (for worst sentences)

Having read none of his work, I can't defend him from these allegations. However, I hear from my literate friends, who coincidentally are able to write, that some of his work is atrocious, yet they read either out of intrigue/slumming purposes or are somehow sucked into his vortex of 1st grade syntax.

Dan Brown's 20 Worst Sentences: "

If Dan Brown’s new novel The Lost Symbol is anything like his previous works, it will not go down well with the critics. Famously, comedian Stewart Lee mocked him for using the sentence “The famous man looked at the red cup” in his bestselling The Da Vinci Code.

In fact, Lee was making that up – the sentence never appears in the book. So are the critics unfair on Brown?

They’re certainly harsh. Edinburgh professor of linguistics Geoffrey Pullum says “Brown's writing is not just bad; it is staggeringly, clumsily, thoughtlessly, almost ingeniously bad.”

Below we have selected 20 phrases that may grate on the ear. It’s not a definitive list. It couldn’t be: he has published five novels, each around 500 pages long, and the arguments over which are the worst bits will go on for a while.

20. Angels and Demons, chapter 1: Although not overly handsome in a classical sense, the forty-year-old Langdon had what his female colleagues referred to as an ‘erudite’ appeal — wisp of gray in his thick brown hair, probing blue eyes, an arrestingly deep voice, and the strong, carefree smile of a collegiate athlete.

They say the first rule of fiction is “show, don’t tell”. This fails that rule.

19. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 83: 'The Knights Templar were warriors,' Teabing reminded, the sound of his aluminum crutches echoing in this reverberant space.

“Remind” is a transitive verb – you need to remind someone of something. You can’t just remind. And if the crutches echo, we know the space is reverberant.

18. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: He could taste the familiar tang of museum air - an arid, deionized essence that carried a faint hint of carbon - the product of industrial, coal-filter dehumidifiers that ran around the clock to counteract the corrosive carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors.

Ah, that familiar tang of deionised essence.

17. Deception Point, chapter 8: Overhanging her precarious body was a jaundiced face whose skin resembled a sheet of parchment paper punctured by two emotionless eyes.

It’s not clear what Brown thinks ‘precarious’ means here.

16. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: A voice spoke, chillingly close. 'Do not move.' On his hands and knees, the curator froze, turning his head slowly. Only fifteen feet away, outside the sealed gate, the mountainous silhouette of his attacker stared through the iron bars. He was broad and tall, with ghost-pale skin and thinning white hair. His irises were pink with dark red pupils.

A silhouette with white hair and pink irises stood chillingly close but 15 feet away. What’s wrong with this picture?

15. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: As a boy, Langdon had fallen down an abandoned well shaft and almost died treading water in the narrow space for hours before being rescued. Since then, he'd suffered a haunting phobia of enclosed spaces - elevators, subways, squash courts.

Other enclosed spaces include toilet cubicles, phone boxes and dog kennels.

14. Angels and Demons, chapter 100: Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers glorified the four major rivers of the Old World - The Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio Plata.

The Rio de la Plata. Between Argentina and Uruguay. One of the major rivers of the Old World. Apparently.

The Da Vinci Code, chapter 5: Only those with a keen eye would notice his 14-karat gold bishop's ring with purple amethyst, large diamonds, and hand-tooled mitre-crozier appliqué.

A keen eye indeed.

13 and 12. The Lost Symbol, chapter 1: He was sitting all alone in the enormous cabin of a Falcon 2000EX corporate jet as it bounced its way through turbulence. In the background, the dual Pratt & Whitney engines hummed evenly.

The Da Vinci Code, chapter 17: Yanking his Manurhin MR-93 revolver from his shoulder holster, the captain dashed out of the office.

Oh – the Falcon 2000EX with the Pratt & Whitneys? And the Manurhin MR-93? Not the MR-92? You’re sure? Thanks.

11. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: Captain Bezu Fache carried himself like an angry ox, with his wide shoulders thrown back and his chin tucked hard into his chest. His dark hair was slicked back with oil, accentuating an arrow-like widow's peak that divided his jutting brow and preceded him like the prow of a battleship. As he advanced, his dark eyes seemed to scorch the earth before him, radiating a fiery clarity that forecast his reputation for unblinking severity in all matters.

Do angry oxen throw their shoulders back and tuck their chins into their chest? What precisely is a fiery clarity and how does it forecast anything? Once again, it is not clear whether Brown knows what ‘forecast’ means.

10. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: Five months ago, the kaleidoscope of power had been shaken, and Aringarosa was still reeling from the blow.

Did they hit him with the kaleidoscope?

9. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 32: The vehicle was easily the smallest car Langdon had ever seen. 'SmartCar,' she said. 'A hundred kilometers to the liter.'

Pro tip: when fleeing from the police, take a moment to boast about your getaway vehicle’s fuel efficiency. And get it wrong by a factor of five. SmartCars do about 20km (12 miles) to the litre.

8. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 3: My French stinks, Langdon thought, but my zodiac iconography is pretty good.

And they say the schools are dumbing down.

7 and 6. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 33: Pulling back the sleeve of his jacket, he checked his watch - a vintage, collector's-edition Mickey Mouse wristwatch that had been a gift from his parents on his tenth birthday.

The Da Vinci Code, chapter 6: His last correspondence from Vittoria had been in December - a postcard saying she was headed to the Java Sea to continue her research in entanglement physics... something about using satellites to track manta ray migrations.

In the words of Professor Pullum: “It has the ring of utter ineptitude. The details have no relevance to what is being narrated.”

5. Angels and Demons, chapter 4: learning the ropes in the trenches

Learning the ropes (of a naval ship) while in the trenches (with the army in the First World War). It’s a military education, certainly.

4, 3, and 2. The Da Vinci Code, opening sentence: Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery.

Angels and Demons, opening sentence: Physicist Leonardo Vetra smelled burning flesh, and he knew it was his own.

Deception Point, opening sentences: Death, in this forsaken place, could come in countless forms. Geologist Charles Brophy had endured the savage splendor of this terrain for years, and yet nothing could prepare him for a fate as barbarous and unnatural as the one about to befall him.

Professor Pullum: 'Renowned author Dan Brown staggered through his formulaic opening sentence'.

1. The Da Vinci Code: Title. The Da Vinci Code.

Leonardo’s surname was not Da Vinci. He was from Vinci, or of Vinci. As many critics have pointed out, calling it The Da Vinci Code is like saying Mr Of Arabia or asking What Would Of Nazareth Do?

This list is invalid without that 'I know from seeing many forgeries in my time' thing. Somebody post that shit. You're trapped on a desert island for the rest of your life and can only have the works of Dan Brown OR Stephenie Meyer--what do you choose, ONTD?! [Sorry about the cut, mods, I hit 'post' and then yelled 'FUCK' when I realized I'm awesome.]

Shared: Sydney International Food Festival

Italy's flag looks delicious.

sydney international food festival: food flag ads: "

to help promote the sydney international food festival, WHYBIN/TBWA came up with these ads

that show different national flags created using foods associated with a specific country.
example of the poster:

some of the flags from the campaign:

you can find more posters from the series over at ads of the world

project credits

advertising agency: WHYBIN/TBWA, sydney

executive creative director: garry horner

creative director: matt kemsley

art director: miles jeffreys

copywriter: tammy keegan

photographer: natalie boog

retoucher: nick mueller

food stylist: trish heagerty

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Next Wave from Google: Fast Flip

Not sure how I feel about this after my first glance. Some of the formatting for the sites is off posing an issue for reading all the content on the page, but I do like the sorting options/tags for Headlines and keywords in the news.

Google Fast Flip

Shared: The Science Behind a 4-Day Work Week

Where's the study on four-day weekends?

Better world: Take Friday off… forever - 15 September 2009 - New Scientist: "The four-day week could boost employment, save energy and make us happier.

FANCY a three-day weekend - not just once in a while but week in week out? You may think your bosses would never agree to it, but the evidence suggests that employers, employees and the environment all benefit."

Shared: birds on a wire

Sweet idea.

birds on a wire: "

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

This video blew me away... This is his story:

'Reading a newspaper, I saw a picture of birds on the electric wires. I cut out the photo and decided to make a song, using the exact location of the birds as notes (no Photoshop edit). I knew it wasn't the most original idea in the universe. I was just curious to hear what melody the birds were creating.'


Shared: Drinking Just as Good as Yoga

Fantastic. I'm thirsty...

Now That's Nifty: Drinking Just as Good as Yoga: "I don't drink ma' self, but maybe I should start. These guys look fit!

Position of total relaxation."

Shared: Arianna Huffington Tries Hand at Sitcom Producing for ABC

Politics and TV: Will they ever find an audience?

Arianna Huffington Tries Hand at Sitcom Producing for ABC : TVBizwire : TVWeek - Television Industry news, TV ratings, analysis, celebrity event photos:

"Huffington Post founder and political pundit Arianna Huffington is going to give TV producing a try: ABC gave a script commitment to a multicamera comedy she is working on with Greg Malins, executive producer of “How I Met Your Mother,” The Hollywood Reporter says."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Shared: ready!

ready!: "


photo ©2009 francesco scipioni


Shared: Exhibit A for Brainiacs Getting Some

This is simultaneously irksome and inspirational.

The Love Guru - Page 1 - The Daily Beast:

"Eight years ago, on a balmy night in New York's West Village, a darkly beautiful history grad was having a date with a 38-year-old writer. He was a little goofy looking and gesticulated a lot, but he was sweet and had theories about a million things, especially her. He was particularly interested in what made her special. When she revealed a passion for acting, he had a theory about that, too, and how to make it more special."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shared: Homicide Suspect Fell Asleep While Holding Couple Hostage in Kansas Home

Let's cut this guy some credit. He's apparently good at capturing people and stealing cars. Not so good at the details like staying awake or not getting caught. Baby steps Mr. Dimmick. Baby steps.

Police: Homicide Suspect Fell Asleep While Holding Couple Hostage in Kansas Home:

"DOVER, Kan. — Authorities say the man who held a couple hostage in their Kansas home fell asleep and they escaped unharmed.

Topeka Police Capt. Jerry Stanley said Saturday that authorities then stormed the house, where they confronted the man.

The suspect was shot, but his injuries were not life-threatening."

Shared: Keeping Young

Cute story. I would have preferred it if the woman got to ride in a sidecar, mainly because there are far too few sidecars on the road. Great visual at the end of the article.

Woman, 97, gets ride on Harley | sheboygan-press.com | Sheboygan Press: "At age 97, Catherine Westover has been around nearly as long as her favorite motorcycle, the Harley-Davidson."

Shared: The Least He Could Have Done was Called

Why didn't the sheep testify? Why didn't the man apologize to the sheep? Furthermore, what was the sheep's name? It seems this was more than a one-time "drank-30-cans-had-sex-with-a-sheep" thing. Also, I'm pretty sure if I had sex with a sheep, I'd remember it, possibly call the day after. I also hope this will be added to the many alternative uses of a baby monitor.

The Herald, Sharon, Pa. - UPDATE: Man gets jail in sheep case: "A Sandy Lake Township man will spend 1 to 3 years in prison for trespassing into a woman’s barn and having sex with her sheep.

James Alan Stiver, 46, formerly of 11 Booher Road, accepted a plea deal July 20 for felony trespassing and sex with an animal, and was sentenced Friday by Mercer County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. St. John. Charges of animal cruelty were dropped."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shared: White People Dancing

Thanks to Alyssa Milano, or Sports Illustrated for sharing her tweet. I don't follow her. I swear. Not since that piece of paper told me to stop...

The 10 Most Embarrassing Moments In White People Dancing History

Monday, September 7, 2009

Shared: Senator Al Franken Would Dominate at Pictionary

First, I wonder how many senators can name the 50 states. Second, I wonder if Niki saw this while at the fair.

Senator Al Franken can draw the USA from memory: "

We've heard it before, but here's proof from the Minnesota State Fair that Senator Al Franken can draw the US map from memory. It's truly amazing.

via Minnesota Public Radio


Shared: Watch Me


Photo: "


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Shared: School is not Always for Fools

A good read.

Parent Teacher Conference Should Be Hilarious: "

Oh, Ginny. Your dedication to not being the “Problem Mother” far surpasses my own and for that, I salute you.

Dear Mrs. X:

In just over a week, you will be my son’s Grade 1 teacher. He is ever so excited to be under your tutelage. Why, since the last day of kindergarten, entering your class was all he could talk about. He gleefully thrust a piece of paper into my hand on that June afternoon, and said, “Here’s a list of the stuff I need for school next September!”

And I have to admit, I, too, was excited. I’m a school supplies geek from way back. And so, in early August, I set out to buy the items you’d listed.

It was on my fourth store that the realization began to sink in.

You’re a crafty bitch, aren’t you?

This list was a thinly disguised test. Could I find the items, exactly as you’d prescribed? Because if not, my son would be That Kid, the one with the Problem Mother, Who Can’t Follow Directions.

For example, the glue sticks you requested. In the 40 gram size. Three of the little buggers. (What kind of massive, sticky project you’ve got planned for the first day of school that would require the students to bring all this glue, I cannot imagine.) But the 40 gram size doesn’t come in a convenient 3-pack. The /30 /gram size does. But clearly, those would be wildly inappropriate. So I got the individually priced 40’s, as per your instructions.

Another bit of fun was your request for 2 packs of 8 Crayola crayons (basic colors). The 24 packs, with their 24 /different /colors, sat there, on sale. I could have purchased /three/ of the 24 packs for the price I had to pay for the 8 packs. (Clearly, you’ll not be teaching the youngsters any sort of economics lessons this year.) Even the cashier looked at me, as if to say, “Pardon me, ma’am, but are you slow?” as I purchased these non-bargain crayons. But that’s what the list said. And I was committed to following the list.

But the last item, well, now, you saved your malice up for that one, didn’t you? “8 mm ruled notebooks”, you asked for. Simple enough. Except the standard size is /seven /millimetres. One. Millimetre. Difference. Do you realize, Mrs. X., exactly how infinitesimal the difference between 7 mm ruling and 8 mm ruling is? Pretty small, I assure you. The thickness of a fingernail, approximately. But that millimetre, that small bit of nothingness, made me drive to four different stores, over the course of three sweaty August hours. And when I finally, finally found the last remaining 8 mm notebooks, I took no pleasure in my victory. I merely shifted my focus. To you, Mrs. X.

You wanna dance, lady? Let’s dance.

Because I am just batshit crazy enough to play your games. And, in turn, come up with some of my own.

On show and share day, my son will be bringing the video of his birth. It will be labelled, “Ben’s First Puppy.” Enjoy.

He will be given a list of words, and daily, he will ask you what they mean. Words such as, “pedophile”, “anti-semite”, and “skank”. Good luck with those.

At some point, you will attempt to teach him mathematics. And I’m quite sure that, like most of your ilk, you will require my son to “show his work”. And he will.

Through interpretive dance.

Because that is who you’ve chosen to tangle with, toots. A stay at home mom who is not entirely balanced, and has altogether too much time on her hands. But is, most certainly, A Mother Who Can Follow Directions.



Submitted By: Mr. T via Praying To Darwin


Shared: 'Smallville' heroine Kristin Kreuk joins 'Chuck' | Ausiello | EW.com

How far the show has come from being on the precipice of cancellation. Sure glad Subway rescued them.

Exclusive: 'Smallville' heroine Kristin Kreuk joins 'Chuck' | Ausiello | EW.com

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shared: Where did all those gorgeous Russian tennis players come from? - By Anne Applebaum - Slate Magazine

Maybe some of them would like to adopt/nurture one occasional blogger. Since they have all their money AND looks...

Here's to a leveled playing field of models everywhere. YEAH evolution!

Where did all those gorgeous Russian tennis players come from? - By Anne Applebaum - Slate Magazine: "There was a particular historical moment, round about 1995 or so, when anyone entering a well-appointed drawing room, dining room, or restaurant in London was sure to encounter a beautiful Russian woman. Though the word beautiful doesn't really capture the phenomenon. The women I'm remembering were extraordinarily, unbelievably, stunningly gorgeous."

Shared: Division in Palin Home

Yikes. This from a guy who knows how to keep his word, especially about matrimonial things.

Levi Johnston: Lot of divorce talk in Palin home: "In Vanity Fair, the father of Sarah Palin’s grandson said there was “a lot of talk of divorce in that house” but “there wasn’t much parenting.” He also said that Palin complained that being governor was “too hard” and that she focused on making money instead."

Shared: Dead Dog

I still don't get it. Why the need for dog years? Are there cat years? Turtle years? Owners don't celebrate each dog year birthday, up to 15 in the first year, which would be like that couple that celebrates weekly anniversaries. Sounds like dogs are getting greedy.

How we know that Chanel, the world's oldest dog, was really 147 dog-years old.: "The world's oldest dog, a dachshund named Chanel, died of natural causes Friday at the reported age of 147 dog years. On the occasion of her 21st birthday (in human years), Christopher Beam wrote the following 'Explainer' column on the proper way to calculate a dog's age.

more ...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Shared: life-size LEGO house

I would hate to see the plan for this house. Also, where are the little Lego people that will inhabit it?

life-size LEGO house

The LEGO house is the latest toy challenge that james may has undertook as part of his BBC series James May's toy stories. other projects included the world's first plasticine garden, which won the people's choice award at the chelsea flower show, and the world's largest model plane. the show also created a scalextric version of the brooklands 2.75-mile racetrack in weybridge.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Faster and Furiouser

With urchins going back to school, police have started adamantly enforcing School Zones and ticketing those speeding. You may also spot an influx of minivans clogging up the streets as you try to get to work.

The area in which I reside has to hold the distinction of most schools per square mile. Families are often concerned with how good the schools are in an area and what the student to teacher ratio is. In this town realtors promote the schools to kid ratio. There are at least five schools within a mile radius of my home, making it one giant 20 miles per hour speed trap.

In an effort to alert drivers to the School Zone and reduced speed limit (turtle-esque), the town has placed what I affectionately call Speed boards on the thoroughfares.

These electronic signs have the wrong affect on me. I view them as a challenge, like a radar gun in baseball. The digital red dots alert me to my speed. Unavoidably, my right foot feels heavier. I can't control it. My car starts moving ever faster, the numbers on the sign continue to increase. My eyes are then fixated on the sign and not on the sidewalks to see if there are any children about to dart in front of my rapidly moving vehicle. Then I pass the sign and my foot's weight returns to normal. Out of my control I find myself pulling a U-Turn. I need to see if I can best my previous speed.

The sign serves as a calibration device to see if my speedometer is working properly. Until you are pulled over, you have no way of knowing if you were really going 85 mph. In my previous car, I really had no clue. The speedometer might have been the last functioning instrument on The Beast.

Pleasant driving.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shared: Beer: Price hikes, price fixing - THE WEEK

Just when I started drinking beer. Dear beer makers, You're only pushing me closer to the hard stuff.

Beer: Price hikes, price fixing - THE WEEK: "Beer prices are rising, and “just in time for football season,” said David Schepp in DailyFinance. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the maker of Budweiser and the world’s"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shared: ...or a Pair Of Handcuffs

Is this place hiring?

...or a Pair Of Handcuffs:

Girl to friends: Whoa, it looks like I underestimated my boobs this morning. Does anyone have a safety pin?

Bloomfield, Connecticut

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shared: Why we walk in circles when lost - Times Online

But does this explain why I drive in circles? I need something scientific to tell my dates.

Scientists reveal the real reason why we walk in circles when lost - Times Online

Experiments in a German forest and the Sahara desert in Tunisia have shown that lost people double back on themselves without meaning to unless they have a marker, such as the Sun or Moon, to guide their way.

Shared: Media multitaskers are in danger of brain overload - Times Online

Hold on. I think I just got a text.

Media multitaskers are in danger of brain overload - Times Online

With e-mails, phone calls, text messages and online social media all competing for our attention, often against a background of television, radio or music, our brains can reach information overload, research has suggested.

I've read the studies and fear for my future mental health. There is some sense of accomplishment that I can IM, email, text, listen to music and read news stories nearly simultaneously. But I know in the long run it will diminish my capacity to focus or think deeply. Tonight I was watching Shaq Vs and checking emails and Facebook. There was no need to do all these things. Tomorrow I'll try to let my brain rest in between tasks.

Shared: Farmers issue warning after fatal cow attacks

Is tipping a form of provocation?

Farmers issue warning after fatal cow attacks: "LONDON (Reuters) - The deaths of no fewer than four people after being trampled by cows in the past two months has prompted Britain's main farming union to issue a warning about the dangers of provoking the normally docile animals.

Shared: (541): my math teacher staples...

Well played sir.

(541): my math teacher staples...: "(541): my math teacher staples burger king applications to failed tests

Monday, August 24, 2009

Just One More Hint

By some miracle--oddly enough we met at a church function--I managed to have a date agree to see me again after the initial date. Even more odd was the fact that she returned my phone call after date two. Never one to prematurely get excited, I started calling churches and banquet halls to book a date for the impending nuptials. I figured I could surprise her on date five. No one expects that.

My soon-to-be wife was occupied the weekend after our second date, but we made plans to do something when she returned. I seized this opportunity to sample cakes and catering offerings. We made plans over texts and set a time and place for the pick-up. Little did she know I also picked a time, place, caterer and cake. If I've learned anything from TLC's Cake Boss, it's always go with fondant.

Wearing my going out clothes (I have been asked at least three times in the past month when meeting someone after work, "You wore that to work?), I cruised toward the city after work to a foreign land: Third Datesville.

I stopped at a florist on my way in, only to discover that it was closed. The adjacent building was a funeral shop. I thought better of checking out their options. Had I known what would happen in a mere 24 hours, it might have been the proper shop. I arrived at my date's maison, parked and started a Quixotic quest on foot for flowers. Finding few offerings, I stopped into an Italian bakery and picked-up a few cookies. Pulling a page out of every travel show, I asked the cute cashier if she knew of anyplace to get flowers. She suggested a place down the street. With cookies in hand I was again greeted by a closed sign in the florist window.

I returned to her street and informed her that I had arrived. She invited me into her apartment and we discussed dinner options and movie times. Off we went. Dinner went well. A quick check of the time on my mobile prompted a rapid flagging of our waitress for the check. I gave her my card and mentioned we were trying to catch a show across the street. My date left the tip and we darted across the street hand-in-hand in the light rain to the cinema.

We missed the trailers and very beginning of The Hangover but settled into our seats and the newly-dating-couple-cuddle. Nothing is as comfortable as a cupholder in the ribcage. But it was well worth it. During the movie my date popped a piece of gum in her mouth and gave me a piece. I know what this meant. I either had dank breath or someone might like to do something later.

After some laughs and the credits, we leisurely walked back to my car and exited the garage with the other movie goers.

I parked on the street and walked her back to her place. We stood outside for a little while and talked. This, for those keeping score at home, was the proper time. All the signs of interest were there. Plus, I liked her and have seen Hitch. I knew what the key fumbling was a good thing. But did I do what I should have and wanted to? Of course not. I'm not sure if it's shyness, timidity or stupidity. All I know is it needs to stop. Settling on a hug, we embraced and then parted.

I texted her in the morning. My phone rang late that night. Seeing her name, my heart beat a little faster. Finally, I thought, I've found a sweet girl to date. After discussing our days there was a pause. Then this:

"I want to be honest," she said before pausing.

I thought proposing over the phone was a bit forward, but she must have found out about my event planning.

She continued, "I don't think we should continue dating."

Not where I thought she was going with that stellar lead-in statement. More surprising than Jackson's death being ruled a homicide, I shared my confusion. Every indication was that things were going well. Which leads me to my coping mechanism:

4 Reasons for No Date 4:

  1. The cookies weren't that good.
  2. I didn't bring flowers.
  3. I failed to seize the opportunity to kiss her.
  4. She's seeing someone else.
She did attempt to cushion the blow by telling me that I'm very nice, funny. Then she paused and opted to add "tall" as one of my selling points. I told her to go on after she struggled to come up with three things. I then told her to tell her friends how nice, funny and tall I am. She said she had. From now on I'm instituting a referral policy. If you opt to discontinue going out with me, you are obligated to set me up with a friend. And not one you want to rid yourself of.

As the conversation wound down and no explanations volunteered, I asked, "So...we won't be going out this weekend?"

More than the rejection, I'm upset about the deposits. That shit is non-refundable.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Chicago: Where Your Dollar Will Get You Fatter

To recap today in Chicago news:
  • Alligator found in the Chicago River
  • The parking meter saga continues on
  • But most importantly, Chicago has the lowest amount of time needed working to earn enough to get a Big Mac.
I'm proud to work in Chicago.
An alternative Big Mac Index:

How many minutes to earn the price of a Big Mac?

THE size of your pay packet may be important, but so is its purchasing power. Helpfully, a UBS report published this week offers a handy guide to how long it takes a worker on the average net wage to earn the price of a Big Mac in 73 cities. Fast-food junkies are best off in Chicago, Toronto and Tokyo, where it takes a mere 12 minutes at work to afford a Big Mac. By contrast, employees must toil for over two hours to earn enough for a burger fix in Mexico City, Jakarta and Nairobi.

It's worth checking the comments to see the hate for Chi-town. I don't care that L.A. and New York weren't represented. They get all the press most days.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shared: Tiny Tiger is world's youngest wing-walker

A few things about this:
-I want to see their family portrait. Those paints are bitchin'.
-How long before an infant shatters this kid's record. The next story I read better be about a baby sliding around on the wing.
-Tiger's mantra is "go away fear." How about "go away reason"?

Tiny Tiger is world's youngest wing-walker: "He was born into a family of stuntmen and performers but today was the day that eight-year-old Tiger Brewer earned his stripes. A thousand feet above Rendcomb Airfield in Gloucestershire, the London schoolboy became the youngest person in the world to wing-walk.

A Twist on Twist

That's like the anti-Oliver Twist.

"Putpockets" give a little extra cash: "LONDON (Reuters) - Visitors to London always have to be on the look out for pickpockets, but now there's another, more positive phenomenon on the loose -- putpockets.

IAAF Asks South Africa For Gender Test On Semenya - CBS News

I believe there is a much easier way to check gender. Just saying.

IAAF Asks South Africa For Gender Test On Semenya - CBS News: "IAAF Asks South Africa For Gender Verification Test On Women's 800-meter Favorite"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shared: After 67 Years, Archie Chooses Veronica

Now THAT is a courtship.

After 67 Years, Archie Chooses Veronica: "

In the first of a six-issue series, the longest-running love triangle in comics history appears to come to an end: Archie Andrews proposes — not to Betty, the blond girl next door, but to Veronica, the dark-haired beauty and Riverdale's rich girl.

» E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us



Heard this story yesternight on StarDate. Makes me want to catch up on Greek Mythology again.

Lyra: "Myth and data about the constellation Lyra"

Shared: Language Log » A word on the wall

Fantastic for those who deal with words every day.

Language Log » A word on the wall

Have we met?

Must have been someone I've taken out.

A little of A, a little of B.: "Classy Lady: 'Either it's a small world, or I'm a whore.'

- Cornelia & Seminary

-- Submitted by Mary Low

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Say Spend. You Say No. We’re in Love. - NYTimes.com

General rule: Any story that has the word "connubial" gets shared.

Plus, I've met the NU professor who co-authored the study.

I Say Spend. You Say No. We’re in Love. - NYTimes.com: "A new study shows that when it comes to money, opposites do attract: “spendthrifts” and “tightwads” tend to marry."

Bob Dylan Update: Picked Up by Cop in Jersey

Bob Dylan Update:
Earlier this week it was announced that Dylan is coming out with a Christmas album. More recently, he was found wandering in New Jersey in the wee smalls. I think he was trying to clear his head to let the Christmas spirit in.

Bob Dylan Picked Up by Cop in Jersey: "

Let's say you run into an old man in a hood and sweatpants wandering around your neighborhood all alone in the pouring rain. Let's say that man tells you he's Bob Dylan. You probably wouldn't believe him, right? You'd probably think he was a lunatic.

That's exactly what happened to police officer Kristie Buble of Long Branch, New Jersey, on July 23. Except the guy actually was Bob Dylan. As ABC News reports, 24-year-old Buble picked up Dylan in a Long Branch front yard, after the home's occupants called in a report of a suspicious person.

Buble told ABC, 'I asked him what his name was and he said, 'Bob Dylan'. Now, I've seen pictures of Bob Dylan from a long time ago and he didn't look like Bob Dylan to me at all.'

She continued, 'So I said, 'OK Bob, what are you doing in Long Branch?' He said he was touring the country with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp. So now I'm really a little fishy about his story. I did not know what to believe or where he was coming from, or even who he was. We see a lot of people on our beat, and I wasn't sure if he came from one of our hospitals or something.'

Eventually, Buble brought Dylan back to his tour buses and his identity was verified. And everybody made fun of her. But come on! Hanging out by yourself in a stranger's front yard in the pouring rain is CREEPY, no matter who you are!

So what the hell was Dylan doing in that front yard, anyway? ABC News guesses that he might have been looking for the house that Bruce Springsteen lived in when he wrote Born to Run."

MSNBC.com Acquires Everyblock

Only a matter of time before this got picked up by larger media.

Data Is Journalism: MSNBC.com Acquires Everyblock: "

everyblock logo

Everyblock, Adrian Holovaty's local data aggregator, has been acquired by MSNBC.com. Many are hailing it as local news acquisition. For 15 major US cities Everyblock aggregates crime data, restaurant reviews, health inspections, local news and more. This is data that is only of interest to people within a certain area. I care much less about crime ten blocks away than I do about crime two blocks away. Everyblock lets me know what is happening within three blocks of my home and filters everything out (on the web and iPhone). So Everyblock is a hyperlocalnews acquisition, but that is only half of the story (maybe less).

The future of news is data and Everyblock is the premier startup in this area. As Adrian phrased it on his site this past May in a post entitled The definitive, two-part answer to 'is data journalism?':

It's a hot topic among journalists right now: Is data journalism? Is it journalism to publish a raw database? Here, at last, is the definitive, two-part answer:

1. Who cares?

2. I hope my competitors waste their time arguing about this as long as possible.

MSNBC.com stopped wasting time just in time.

everyblock data snapshot

There is a coming deluge of data from the new administration. Sites like Data.gov, USASpending.gov and Recovery.gov are hopefully just the beginning of new data sources. It's already too much for many organizations to make sense of. Without the proper tools many stories will never be covered. People will not get the info they need. Everyblock has proven that by taking free local government data sources and making them readily available to interested citizens you can create value. Now it's time to turn those tools and thinking onto a problem of a national scale. (If you'd like to learn more about the Obama administrations efforts to release data check out Anil Dash's latest piece The Most Interesting New Tech Startup of 2009.)

It's important to note that Everyblock recently open-sourced the code to their site and as Techcrunch pointed out their traffic is not that high. So MSNBC could have easily duplicated Everyblock and just turned their traffic hose at the new property. Instead MSNBC.com realized that they are facing a new problem and they needed a new team to tackle it head on. Enter Adrian and Everyblock.

Of course many people know Adrian as one of the co-creators of DJango. In his acquisition blog post he states that he will have more time to work on Django, that Everyblock will stay Python (and presumably continue to roll their own maps) and that this does not effect ebcode, the open-sourced version of Everyblock (Radar post).

Congrats Adrian it looks like you solved the dilemma (Radar site) of what to do once you've open-sourced your site; you tackle a bigger problem.

Post updated to reflect that it was MSNBC.com, not MSNBC, that bought Everyblock.


Bill McGraw: Media giant buys Detroit home for reporters to track city | Detroit Free Press | Freep.com

Throw in a camera crew and we have ourselves a show.

Bill McGraw: Media giant buys Detroit home for reporters to track city | Detroit Free Press | Freep.com: "You can take a short-term view of Detroit's problems or you can settle in for the long haul. Media giant Time Inc. has chosen the latter."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Snowin' in the Wind? Dylan Christmas album due

This sounds depressing.

Snowin' in the Wind? Dylan Christmas album due: "LONDON (Reuters) - Bob Dylan is set to release an album of Christmas songs, including 'Here Comes Santa Claus' and the carol 'O Little Town of Bethlehem,' according to music websites.

Obama an entry in latest slang dictionary

Laziness abounds. Nevertheless, I try to stay current with the language of the streets.

Obama an entry in latest slang dictionary: "LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The sixth edition of 'UCLA Slang' is being published this month and it is just 'presh!'


Airline Food Is So Bad… | Emails From Crazy People

Thanks Farah.

Airline Food Is So Bad… | Emails From Crazy People: "It’s your hamster Richard. It’s your hamster in the box and it’s not breathing."

Water Dance

Can't go wrong with a picture of water droplets.

Water Dance: "

Water Dance

photo ©2009 connie publicover


Friday, July 17, 2009

I was feeling good about myself until...

While looking for content to write a bulletin filler, I stumbled across The National Association for Self-Esteem (NASE). While they do welcome you to their site, there is a Members Only section. (Membership starts at $30.)

Does anyone else find this contrary to self-esteem building?

Love Notes

While driving into work this morning, I noticed a wagon in front of me. All I could see of the driver was the small rectangular reflection in her rear view mirror. But on the mirror was a yellow Post-It note with the following:
I Love You.
My sole question is whether or not she wrote the note. Did someone else leave it in her car? Or, in a self-esteem building effort, did she write it to remind herself that she loves herself? Or better yet, did she scribe it so others on the road, like me, would see it and think that she's loved and feel a growing sense of jealousy for not having a similar note on their own rear view mirror?

Happy Friday.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Revolving Door of Romance

Growing up in a house with two women and trying to have some semblance of a dating life has led me to know one thing: I will never know or be able to predict the actions of a woman. While there are multiple eccentricities of women, the most recent discovery is that no two women are the same, unless you count avoiding my phone calls a desirable character trait.

Since my last writing there have been a few new dates. I had a revelation a few weeks ago to stop dating hoping to meet someone nice. Instead, my motivation in dating was to generate fresh fodder for this blog and the stand-up routine I keep telling myself that I'll do, someday. Soon. Just not tomorrow, I have a date then.

This new strategy, coupled with the "play the field" approach, have been supplying me with a steady stream of nut jobs. Unfortunately, when meeting people online, pursuing multiple people simultaneously is necessary. Plus when you go on as many one-and-done dates as I do, you need to have a few ladies lined up for the following week. I'd prefer it not to be this way, but such is my plight.

A few weeks ago, I agreed to meet a woman in the city for a drink. I live and work in the suburbs, which translates to a drive of at least 30 minutes depending on the variable traffic patterns, which also don't follow any form of reason. Going home after work to get cleaned-up, I then headed off to the city to see if this time things would be better. As a fan of baseball and childhood collector of baseball cards, I appreciate one of the beauties of online dating. People's profiles are like trading cards. They have all their stats, height, eye color, birth order, turn-ons/offs. For some reason they always leave off weight and whether or not they are worth your time...

This girl, who I referred to as "Giant" around the office, was 6'2" sans shoes. I'm 6'1" with shoes and if I pick my white man fro out. The appeal was largely to see what it would be like to be lil spoon. I should mention that the week before I met a girl for lunch who was 4'11". As I continue to date on the fringes of the genetic pool, I wonder when I'll ever get to go out with a member of Barnum & Bailey's Circus. While attractive, Giant wasn't what some would call talkative, affable or polite. During the hour-long date, she took two calls from her roommate whose grandmother died the previous night. Had she not taken these calls I wouldn't have known she had the ability to speak. I was thinking I would get some sort of bonus points for dating a mute giant. Subsequently, after Giant finished her beer and second phone call she informed me that her roomie needed her. She galloped the entire ONE BLOCK back to her apartment and avoided any pleasantries. Nice try on the excuse, but she lost points on creativity. If you're going to bail on a date, at the very least be creative. Say you have a turkey in the oven or that you simply can't miss this week's episode of Gossip Girl.

Jump ahead to this week, when I lined up a dinner date with a girl in the 'burbs. After speaking a few times on the phone and casual texting, it was time for the face-to-face. In our chats, she expressed difficulty navigating around town. After arriving at the restaurant, I received a call that la fille was lost. Thankfully she found her way. When I met her, I presented her with a small compass. She laughed and tucked it in her purse. We ate and closed down the restaurant. After walking around the downtown area of the suburb, I walked her to her car and went on my way. She didn't take any calls, so I thought it went well comparatively.

Shortly after arriving home, I received a text thanking me for dinner and saying that she had a good time. Since I'm rational, I perceived this as a sign of interest. I texted back in the morning saying that I wasn't sure when I'd be free this weekend, but that I'd like to see her again.

While helping my sister pack up her kitchen after work and my last swim class, I received another text. This time, it informed me that while she had a good time she didn't feel a spark. And isn't that what meeting in person is all about?

When meeting people online, men don't meet to see if there's a spark. Men meet women to see if they look anything like their profile picture.

Shortly thereafter, I got another text that she hoped I wasn't offended and that I'm a really nice guy.

This may come across as bitter or not what a nice guy would say, but what she failed to realize is that I was making concessions and thought I'd give her another shot. Typically, I like my ladies to have finished college, have some sort of ambition, and not make grammatical errors or grave misspellings.

So, as another person promptly exits Andrew's Dating Emporium, two more take her place.

The only people who find what they are looking for in life are the fault finders.
- Foster's Law

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Threesome with Jesus

God, if you’re reading this, I’ll tell you all about it at confession. Forgive me father for what I’m about to write.

I should say upfront that I consider myself faithful and religious. I go to church on a quasi-regular basis and sing along while there. I draw the line at clapping. Faith has gotten me through some tough times and decisions—and by tough I don’t mean choosing which car to take to work or whether to wear khakis or chinos (always chinos).

But recently, I had a first date with a girl who knew Jesus. We had met through Match and had emailed a bit before agreeing to meet at the epicenter of first dates: Starbucks. She, a self-proclaimed coffee snob, and I, a coffee virgin, were destined for greatness.

Over an obscenely large white mug of French-pressed java we discussed all the requisites: siblings, life goals, swing dancing, jobs, music and YouTube. The date seemed to be going well, after all it started with a handshake. The turning point may have been when I said I was Catholic. Similar to a former date’s disappointing discovery that despite tripping her Jew-dar, I wasn’t, in fact, Jewish, my coffee date was likely crestfallen to find we didn’t attend the same services.

Three times during our outing, she had mentioned she wasn’t looking for anything serious. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t looking for a random hookup either. While waiting for the cock to crow, I was wondering why she felt obliged to say this. The conversation was polite and genial—I abstained from asking if we were going back to her place after, you know, to pray.

I find this assumption bothersome and a bit arrogant. It supposes that I’m enthralled with her and ready to skip past GO and collect a wedding license. I can see how this girl may have gotten that impression after I had dropped to a knee to tie my shoe and had asked “Will you…[pause]…get me some more sugar?”

After closing down Starbucks, I walked her to her car, received my goodbye handshake and went on my way. I had texted her later in the week to see how she was doing and she responded something about working. A few days later I called and left a voicemail simply asking how classes and work were going. A little later I received this text message:

Hey. Got your voicemail. I don’t think I’m ready for this whole Match thing. Best of luck with everything.
All I asked was how she was. While I do appreciate the response, this bothers me for a few reasons:

  • Why the hell is she on a dating site?
  • Again with the assumptions.
  • Who said I wanted anything more than friendship?

This is the second time I’ve heard this crap excuse. I have previously admitted that whether or not a woman responds or concocts a bogus excuse, there will be some level of animosity that accompanies rejection. I prefer a response to no response but claim that I want honesty. So far, I’ve heard that my previous one-and-done dates didn’t have time to date or simply weren’t ready. Given that I’ve met most of these people through dating sites on the internets, I don’t accept these excuses as valid. Just tell me you have to wash your hair indefinitely.

I’m sad to see this girl go. If only I could get my coffee virginity back…I gave her my first cup.
I was really looking forward to a threesome with Jesus.

How to Know if You’re Dating a Bible Thumper:

  • If your date’s good friends are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, she might be a Bible thumper.
  • If your date looks for her Bible while you’re out, she might be a Bible thumper.
  • If she’s a fan of Jesus on Facebook, she’s probably more religious than you.
  • If your date asks you how long you’ve known Jesus, she might be a Bible thumper.
  • If your date went to Bible College, she’s probably a Bible thumper.
  • If she has more than six siblings, odds are she comes from a religious crew.
  • If your date asks you if you’re a good carpenter, run.