Monday, October 31, 2005

Taking the good with the bad

The Good - The Giants exposing the team from washington as the fraud they've been this year. Of the team from washington's 4 wins this year, 3 were by a total of 6 points and its other win was a blowout over a hapless 49er team. Not only did the Giants beat the team from washington, but to shut them out was icing on the cake.

The Bad - Here's a little life advice that you don't need to thank me for anytime not eat calamari from a Canton (Baltimore) bar. Believe it or not, something as delicate and dangerously digestable as seafood should be avoided when dealing with small bars around Baltimore. Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, I was finally able to keep water and a piece of toast down for good around 6:30 last night. Gotta love food poisoning!

Friday, October 28, 2005

If you think my NHL 95 playing is pathetic now...

My NHL 95 (or NHL '95) season abruptly ended last week. I stopped playing for a while and when I did return to the faux Genesis console, I was tired of using my modified Tampa Bay Lightning (made of friends who were rated overall in the low 70's) and figured 49 games into the season with a record of 48-1 (the one loss came (as you'll recall) when I didn't see the Lightning on the schedule so they weren't checked as my next game to play when I selected to play the next day's games, so the game was simulated). My goals against average (0.32) and goals scored average (9.89) weren't changing anytime soon. I already had the top 5 goal scorers, and the top assists leader and 5 of the top 6 places. My goalie wasn't close to anyone else in goals against and save percentage. My shooting percentage was around 59% and I was getting bored. For the last 10 games, I tried to have the top 5 assist players, but it was too cumbersome having to pass backward just to let my defender touch the puck before a goal.

I immediately ended the regular season and tore through the playoffs by an average margin of 11-0.25 (my aggressive goalie passing caught up with me). I beat the Red Wings 14-0 in the finals, with my left winger scoring the fan-favorite quadruple hat trick (she was used for most of the final game's goals since I was playing her favorite team and thought it would be hilarious to have her beat her team...ok, so maybe only I thought it wasn't funny).

Though I've considered a new season with my favorite Buffalo Sabres to average about 16 goals/game, that too will quickly get old. So next season I will take one of the weaker teams like Ottawa, select its worst starting 5 and goalie and use that as my saved lineup for every game. It should provide a much needed challenge since their lack of speed, checking ability, and stick handling, and everything else will really hurt my style of play. I don't think I will be able to replicate the awards presentation success I had with my friends on the Lightning - all 3 MVP nominations, all 3 top forward nominations, best goals against goalie (though this would be a cool one to win with a crummy goalie rated below 50) (by the way, my goalie did not win goalie of the year!), 2 of 3 scoring defenseman nominations, and all 3 playoff MVP nominations.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Planet's Funniest Animals - Unfunny Writing, Big Shirts, Decent Clips

Perhaps it's because I don't have any of the premium movie channels or TIVO, but there are times when nothing on TV will keep my interest. After I go through my channel surfing hierarchy in order from most likely to find something interesting (ESPN Classic) to least likely (E!), I sometimes have to settle for other mind numbing TV. When times are tough like this, I give Animal Planet a chance and find myself watching "The Planet's Funniest Animals" (PFA). I have no qualms with "clip" shows, as I've seen a great resurgence in my watching of America's Funniest Home Videos (aka "AFV" for those in the know as the show brands itself). At least on AFV, there really is a "live (instead of a dead) studio audience" and the wardrobe department actually has money to spend.

I'm not going to compare AFV and PFA, but I am going to plea with the producers and distributors of PFA to buy clothes that fit the host. Whether it's the old host, Matt Gallant, or the new one, the clothes are at least one, if not two sizes too large (though the new guy seems to fit a little better). I'm not joking about this. Watch the show with Gallant (I keep thinking of Goofus and Gallant from "Highlights" magazine) as host and I guarantee you will see an inordinate amount of wrinkles in his shirt because the sleeves are too long. If you're lucky, you'll get to see a shirt that's also too long for his torso. I have zero fashion sense and even I see there's a shirt size situation..

My guess is the producers thought a taller male, about 6'3", was going to host so wardrobe bought lots of shirts for him. Then, after the taller guy was unable to say unfunny jokes with as much enthusiasm as Gallant, wardrobe had no more money to update the clothes to fit Gallant. They just said, "Here's all we got. If you want to host you must wear the clothes we have."

While I'm playing TV consultant, could the writers write any less funny? The intros Gallant and the new guy say bring me closer to tears than laughter. Maybe the host is dressed in funny clothes on purpose to deflect attention away from what he's saying. Also, the clip quality is hit or miss. Watching cats fight or other violent animal acts aren't funny. Watching a dog flush the toilet or a kitten crawling out from a bunch of stuffed animals are the crux of the show. I think you should mute the show to avoid the jokes, but still watch Gallant and the other guy struggle through unfunny writing and oversized clothes.

For the rest of my blog full of rants, raves, and attempts at humor, its current address is:

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Apple-Picking Record

I apologize to my blog reading fans for the "lack" of updates over the last two days. I used to post about every other day, but I had some extra time on my hands so I could post everyday. I guess we all got spoiled the last month or so with the daily posts. Don't worry, this is not the post where I write that I won't update this blog anymore, etc. I just want you to know that I am here and will keep up the posting you've come to love and enjoy, but it might go back to my previous rate of every other day. I hope you can live with that...which you will since you don't really have a choice. I hope to eventually have enough guts to post some of the essays I will soon write and have written for my personal essay class, but that's only if you're nice to me with words of encouragement.

It's poo-poo weather here in the D.C. area, but that didn't stop the last apple-picking adventure of the season. Today's total....30 pounds of Granny Smiths from Homestead Farms in Poolesville once again. They're great b/c they're so tart. I've heard they make a good apple pie, but I'm too lazy to cook that so apples and honey will have to do.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Get me a bookie!

Maybe this is why I'm not a gambling man, but doesn't the 10.5 points that odds makers are giving VT in tomorrow night's game vs. MD seem a little low? VT is a great team this year and always plays well on Thursday night games on ESPN. I'm not even sure VT plays any games on a Saturday anymore. An over/under of 48.5 also seems a little low, so if you know the right people/web sites, try putting at least a few dollars on this one, it seems like a steal.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Tai Shan isn't a new Chinese's the panda's name

The National Zoo has a name for the baby's not Mike, Matthew, John, or Joe. The winning name is Tai Shan, meaning "Peaceful Mountain". I'd think you'd want to call him something that translates into bamboo eater or Cleveland Metro stop attraction. Over 200,000 votes were cast among a handful of name choices, and Tai Shan received 44%. You can watch the panda on the pandacam if you're really interested.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A Good'ol Scary Time

Last night I went to Markoff's Haunted Forest...out in BFE Maryland. Ok, it wasn't that far out, but it was in Darnestown. Let me tell you (which I do all the time since I'm writing in a blog for you to read) the forest was very scary. Try as you might to see people in the shadows ahead, but you won't see them all and you will be scared. My friends and I had a perfect plan to enjoy things. We made sure not to get too close to the group in front, or else we'd see where people would jump out ahead and ruin any surprises. If you have to stop moving just to give yourself space in front so surprises aren't ruined like we did, you might feel bad, but it's worth it. There were a few times when you could tell what would happen, but the trail is so detailed and well done that we were spooked about 90% of the time.

What also made it great was the trail wasn't just about people jumping from the shadows, but some great area kids doing some acting and really playing their parts well. We didn't care for the pitch black little house to walk through, but everything else was great. After paying your $20, you have to wait until your group's number is called. We waited about an hour and 15 minutes, but you can sit around one of three bonfires (watch for that smoke when you're downwind), or watch some headless horsemen trot through the crowds, go on a haunted hayride, etc.

Another thing to be aware of is the bumpy ride along the driveway to the parking lot. I think my car bottomed out once, but doesn't seem to be worse for wear. As long as you watch out for deer and properly use your highbeams, the last 15 miles of the drive aren't too bad. The 20-minute trail was perfectly laid out except for one slippery step in the beginning. Though we were worried the moon would light the forest too much, it was no problem. I think the forest is run every weekend and it's really worth the drive. Without ruining some of the situations on the trail, you will be impressed with its complexity, and there's nothing wrong with admitting you were scared on the trail.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What's another kid when you've already had 15?

Michelle Duggar of Arkansas (I know you're not surprised) has given birth to her 16th child, and get this, she wants more. You'll get to see all of the birthing excitement during a Discovery Channel program airing next May - thanks, but I think I'll pass. Jim Bob, the husband, is considering a run for the State Senate after losing a bid for the U.S. Senate. I think he should wait until his kids are 18 before running again so he can get all of their votes, since it seems he needs all the help he can get. Michelle probably doesn't need any painkillers since she's actually used to the pain of popping another one out like a baby Pez Dispenser.

I thought the last paragraph was great... "Their children include two sets of twins, and each child has a name beginning with the letter "J": Joshua, 17; John David, 15; Janna, 15; Jill, 14; Jessa, 12; Jinger, 11; Joseph, 10; Josiah, 9; Joy-Anna, 8; Jeremiah, 6; Jedidiah, 6; Jason, 5; James, 4; Justin, 2; and Jackson Levi, 1."

Of course, my faithful readers will recall my own aliteration with names starting with "J" during my Raccoon Roadkill Obituary...
"Randy "The Rambunctious" Raccoon is survived by his 20 children whose ages range from 1-6 (thanks to his late mate's nine-week pregnancy cycle). His offspring includes 5 sons (Johnny, James, Jebadiah, Jeremy, and Jacque) and 15 daughters (Jackie, Jacklyn, Jamie, Jodie, Jenny, Janna, Jane, Janet, Jessica, Jean, Joanna, Joyce, Judy, Julia, and Juliet)."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Just follow the delivery guy (as if it were that easy)!

I was thinking the other day when another terrorist video was aired by the Al Jazeera TV station, how did the tape get to the station? If some guy dropped it off, why don't international authorities just follow the guy and see where he goes? If it was mailed to them, I'm sure there's a way for them to trace who sent it. This would at least point authorities in the right direction of finding the bad guys out there. Of course, the bigger issue is why the station has such good "contacts" with the video producers that they always get a copy to air (and why they do anyway), but since it's rainy outside, I'm too lazy to type anymore. Sorry, but that excuse will have to suffice today.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Python vs. Alligator

If you've ever wondered what would happen if a python battled an alligator in the Everglades, you may finally have gotten an answer - it's a draw. A python tried to swallow an alligator only to explode during digestion. I'm still unsure an actual explosion occurred, but it's clear neither animal won this battle. By the way, for those owners who own snakes that suddenly get too large to keep in-house, you need to find some sort of shelter to place them in instead of just dropping them in the Everglades.

Friday, October 07, 2005

"How not to end an awkward conversation" by Jimmy Buffet and Alan Jackson

A few weeks ago, I heard a song that was nice the first few times, but should have been retired long ago. "It's 5 o'clock Somewhere" performed by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet is a nice simple song, but shouldn't have included that awkward conversation at the end. Though Buffet didn't write it, the lyrics follow his poor man lyrics. I enjoy his songs and have no problem with this one except they need to admit when there's nothing else to say (one of the most annoying situations to be in). I know this song was popular months and months ago, and I had moved on until one of the local stations decided to open the scab by playing it one more time. Just for fun, read the following actual lyrics with someone else and try telling me they shouldn't have just said, "It's 5 o'clock so let's go."

Jimmy: What time zone am I on? What country am I in?
Alan: It doesn't matter, it's five o'clock somewhere.

It's 5 o'clock somewhere? Really? Wow, it's not like you just sang an entire song about that.

Jimmy: It's always on time for Margaritaville. Come to think of it.
Alan: I heard that.

Couldn't they have ended it here with Alan saying it's time to go? Nope. Of course not. We've all been to Margaritaville so we don't care about Alan's experience, yet they press on.

Jimmy: You've been there haven't ya?
Alan: Yes sir!

Jimmy didn't need to ask him this question since Alan already implied his previous visits.

Jimmy: I've seen your boat there.
Alan: I've been to Margaritaville a few times.
Jimmy: Alright, that's good.

I guess the biggest issue I have is with all of these "Yes Sir" "Alright, that's good" "I heard that" lines that really make their silly conversation drag even more.

Alan: Stumbled on my way back.
Jimmy: Okay, well I just want to make sure you keep it between the navigational beacons.
Alan: deep sultry laugh hahaha! Keep it between the buoys. I got it!

Come one fellas, we're getting off topic here.

Jimmy: Alright, well it's five o'clock. Let's go somewhere.

Jimmy, though you thankfully get back to the subject at hand, Alan already established it's 5 o'clock somewhere and you acknowledged that with your Margaritaville reply. You two should just end this song and get a room already.

Alan: I'm ready. Crank it up!

Ok, so by this point we've established it's time to get some drinks and that Alan and Jimmy are on their way out, so why talk even more? Alas, they continue on.

Jimmy: Let's get out of here.
Alan: I'm gone!

It's about freakin' time you two left already. Thanks to your loquacious (thanks SAT vocab list) ways, it's at least 5:01 and no longer time for any drinks. You sound like two women trying to decide what they're going to wear for a night out, only to keep going back and forth when the first thing you looked at would have sufficed.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Peeps - Allowing PETA Members to Be Carnivores Since the 1950s

I really think peeps should adopt this entry's title as their slogan. If PETA members are willing to eat sugar animals, then they must be tasty. With Halloween fast approaching, it's time for another batch of those wonderfully all-sugar creations we like to call Peeps. Halloween means you can find peeps in pumpkins, ghosts, spooky cats, and cocoa-flavored cats. According to the website, about 1.2 billion peep items are produced each year, and I'm proud to say I'm responsible for 0.00000002.5% of that production (if I average 30 eaten pieces each year). Though I haven't found them in any stores, you can also decorate your own pumpkin peeps this year.

Among the interesting peep facts I've run across: it would take 8,000 peeps to reach the top of the Sears Tower (for my beloved Chicago reader), the yellow chick is the most popular, and it used to take 27 hours to make one peep in 1953, now it takes 6 minutes.

Peepeaters seems to fall into two very divided categories - fresh and stale. Though I have not found any research done on this topic, I'd guesstimate that 2/3 of peepeaters enjoy eating them the second the plastic is broken off. They believe the fresher the peep, the better it tastes. Of course, there are the other 1/3 outcasted peepeaters who actually want their peeps when the marshmellow isn't as loose/stretchy and the sugar coating is a little crunchier. I've tried both versions and believe that fresher is the way to go. The marshmellow is scientifically (what other kind is there?) designed to be stretched during optimum freshness. I know other people like to freeze their peeps, but a respected peepeater would never do such a thing.

Depending on my peepeating mood that day, I will either eat the entire baby animal in one gulp or delicately rip apart its extremeties. Of course, if I'm feeling particularly vile, I'll decapitate the baby chick/bunny/cat first and laugh at the power trip I'm on.

For hardcore peepeaters out there, research has been done to determine how peeps react to mother nature, smoking, alcohol, and a microwave. There are lots of sites dedicated to peeps including one that shows peeps taking in many sites around the world like Philadelphia in the picture above.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Why pray when you can talk?

Since it's time for apples and honey, I made my way to a local Temple yesterday for some crazy, good old fashioned Rosh Hashanah praying. I'll spare you any philosophical talk about the New Year since I respect the separation of Church/Temple/Mosque and blog, and the fact I don't have much to say about it. However, I did notice a few things during the service (since I had no prayerbook and found myself looking around and talking most of the time).

To the two people in front of me, please, don't spray/pour/drown the entire cologne bottle on yourself before leaving the house. The person upstairs won't regard you any more than someone else just because you think he notices people based on who smells the most.

To the same cologne bathers, please don't push your chairs so far back that you're practically in my lap. I'm all for making new friends, but come on, aren't you being a little too forward? (Come on, who didn't see that publication's link coming?)

To the two people 10 rows up, why is the edge of your Yumulke slightly tucked in the back? Why is it also offline to the left? Is this a new gang sign thing like baseball caps that are slightly crooked? Westside (Western) world in the house! Also, I always understood us Reform folk let the Rabbi where the Tallis, not every single male and a few females. It helps to be a taller member of the tribe in order to see things like this.

To the "Usher Captain", you're not a bouncer at some College Park bar. It's not necessary for you to stand infront of the doors with your arms crossed trying to be all tough when you're clearly not and we all know we can't/shouldn't enter when everyone else is standing.

To the three Shofar blowers, you're telling me that for Tekiah-Gedulah, you could only hold the note for 7 seconds? (The dork in me timed it like I do every year.) There were three of you and that's the best you could do? Two of them only went for 4-5 seconds, and they were in their late teens. Come on people. The old benchmark for a decent performance is about 13 seconds, with a 25-second sound one year.

To the guy in the bathroom stall, please google "courtesy flush" for everyone else's well-being. There's nothing wrong with being the bus driver when kids have to be dropped off since we've all had that job, but when you need the emergency backdoor to take care of your business, it's especially courteous to reach back and pull the flush handle between deliveries.

To the driver parked on the side of the road, try backing into that spot instead of front-end parking. You crazily assumed you'd get across a busy street by backing out across my lane to then drive the other direction after services were over. I hope that made sense.

To the guy who needed the red state/blue state joke explained to him and then said, "thanks, I'm really Canadian," that was funny.

To the guy who said nothing all service and suddenly bellows out the last song louder than everyone around him, where were you the whole service? Please take note that everyone else speaks, sings, humms, and chants at a library's volume except for you - so tell me what's wrong?

To me without a prayerbook, how about you actually heed the directions on every service's ticket that asks you to bring your own instead of foolishly thinking there'd be extra copies for you when you arrive 40 minutes into the 2.5 hour service?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Don't Call It a Comeback, I've Been Here For Years

I made my unheralded return to ultimate frisbee on Sunday. After not playing for about two months, it showed in quick exhaustian and lack of stamina. However, I did throw a few forehands in the game after turning out a few nice ones in practice. I had a few scores when my energy was there, but by the second game, I was drained. We won the first game 7-3 after being down 3-1 and lost the second one 7-5. I had a good time playing and most of the familiar faces were still there. If I get myself out there for the next few Sundays, I'm confident my effort on defense will improve. My right knee hasn't caused me any trouble, though my left thigh might have gotten a little bruised. No matter, I'll keep playing because I'm tough like that.

Of course, playing ultimate (not at the level in the above picture) means not watching the entire day of football. I'm really okay with this since I wouldn't watch the local games anyway because local games here mean the team from Washington. Despite their lucky victory, my other more-rootable (is that a word?) teams won on Saturday and Sunday.