August 2007 Archives

Meme progression

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Aeonite and I were in serious conversations once about writing a book on memes. I think it's fascinating, but in many ways, what's more fascinating than the meme creations is how they promulgate themselves through the internets.

For example, take our friend the Miss Teen USA South Carolina (or whatever permutation of her name is proper). This dumb slag (her name is Lauren Upton, not that anybody will ever remember that) said some stupid things on television on August 24th, which is five days ago.

That was Friday night. On Saturday, Postgame Heroes posts the YouTube link. It blows up from there, appearing on Fark and Deadspin and other sites over the weekend. On Sunday night I start getting the "have you seen this???" emails. The radio morning show guys ran with it Monday afternoon, and then the sports talk radio guys (who are kind of slow) got to it Tuesday morning, and then Tuesday night I started getting the links on Facebook and Myspace (have you seen this???)

And now the older people I know are emailing the link to me today. It's now Wednesday, five days after the event. Have I seen this???? Yes, only about a million times now. But the way these things weave themselves around is fascinating to me. If there was something so purely made of fail like Miss Teen USA South Carolina and I didn't know about it for a week, I'd probably kill myself.

what happened to the curfew?

Didn't the American League used to have a 1:00 am curfew? Where an inning couldn't start after 1:00? I'm watching the Yankees vs. Tigers in Detroit (delayed four hours because of rain) and it's now 2:11 and the top of the 9th.

Even better, the game is tied.

Edit: Aww, Jorge Posada gets cranky when he's up past his bedtime.

It's now the bottom of the ninth. There are two outs, and it's still tied. Hilarious.

this is terrific news

Welcome to the Idiocracy

57 percent of Americans do not like learning about political issues in other countries.

That's right. They're not just ignorant to those issues, they actively avoid them.

It's begun. All hail President Camacho.

1. Broken air conditioner

*sweats, has pink elephant hallucinations*

When a weekend ends, and a meme

Sorry I didn't post anything this weekend. I was busy.

And now, a meme. From tinafizz.

the greatest thing ever on the internets, today

I love a capella music, especially when it's multiple parts performed by the same person. When it's accompanied by a video featuring a fried egg, it becomes the greatest thing on the internets.

Thanks to John Scalzi for bringing this to my attention.

I'm totally adding this to my resume

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I'm an "Islamofascist sympatyzer" !!!

No, srsly. I don't know what a sympatizer is, maybe one of those machines made by Bob Moog in the waning days of the analog synthesizer? I'm guessing if I'm an Islamofascist version I have cool vox like the rebab.

I wrote an article last week for Sticks about USF students Youssef Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed, and how I don't think they're terrorists. In response, the thoroughly unreadable blog Winds of Jihad called me the aforementioned insult (?):

A few day’s [sic] ago some Islamofascist sympatyzers [sic] accused Sheik Yer’mami in being judge, prosecuter [sic] and executioner, telling us the 2 smiling creeps from Tampa are ‘not terrorists’ and perfectly ‘innocent’-

Yeah, I just copied-and-pasted the [sic]s. Bloggers like this crazy woman are enjoying the Google connections between other accused terror suspects and the students, but again, I really recommend you not bother reading the sites, because they're so rife with spelling and grammar errors that they might make your head explode.

The comments, though, are comedy gold.

Just throw the two damn dirty bedouins the hell out of this country!! Put their sorry ass-faces on the no-fly-list, and don't EVER allow them to set one foot on OUR US soil.

and

But, all they'll do is take a course in Spainish and come back later.

and

As for these guys.. turn them into the pork sausages they are. Why do we allow foreigners into this country to cause all kinds of mayhem? Is every politician in Washington stabbing us in the back? There is a large and conservative movement in this country. With the right person, we can still accomplish a lot.

and

I wish there would be a Republican candidate who would be brave enough to run on a platform of ending ALL Muslim immigration into our country.

and

Smiling, laughing hyenas!

That is to say that they'd be comedy gold if they weren't absolutely frightening. These are your American voters, folks.

See? I told you! RIDICULOUS

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So you might remember me talking about how ridiculous those giant sunglasses everybody wears are.

Now there's proof that they make you a pretty terrible driver, too.

One in ten women - 1.3million - drive in wide-armed glasses that severely restrict their peripheral vision. A further 7 per cent wear lenses that are so dark they are illegal for driving.

Seriously, women are bad enough drivers as it is, do you people have to exacerbate the problem with hata blockaz?

*runs*

I'm leaving for Gainesville in an hour. Maybe I'll have a story for you once I get back.

What we think about when we can't sleep

So once again I can't sleep. And I'm sitting here, in the dark, with the fans blowing, and I can't sleep, and so I try doing some math in my head to put myself to sleep.

Tonight I tried to calculate why managers don't call for 1st-3rd double-steals more often with runners on the corners. Clearly the mathematics are in the favor of a catcher-shortstop combination being able to get the ball back to home plate before a runner on third can make it there. Here's the math I did in my head, using estimates all the way for numbers I don't know exactly. One of the major problems was that I couldn't concentrate on the math very well; math I used to be able to do instantly in my head now takes forever, even in the dark, with silence, and my eyes closed.

First I had to calculate the distance between home plate and 2nd base. I could have simply doubled the distance of the pitching rubber to home, a number I know (60.5 feet) but that's slightly off, since the rubber is a bit closer to home plate than it is to second base. I also didn't think of this until it was too late.

Instead, I used Pythagoras to square 90 (to 8100) and add it together (to 16200) and then take the square root (which I estimated to be roughly 125; it's actually 127.irrational). Step one over.

Then I had to calculate how long it takes a ball thrown by the catcher to make it to second base (and the return throw to make it home). I probably underestimated how fast a catcher can throw the ball to second; I supposed the average speed was 80mph. A ball thrown at 80mph takes 1/80 hours to go one mile, and 60/80 is 6/8 which is 3/4 of 1/60 (i.e. a minute) so 45 seconds.

125 feet is how much of a mile? 5280 feet divided by 125 feet... I guessed it was around 42. so 45 seconds divided by 42... basically one second. So it takes one second for a catcher to throw from home to second. Add a half second (complete conjecture) to reverse the throw, and assuming another 80mph average throw back home, and it takes 2.5 seconds to complete a round trip. Step two over.

I was already suspicious, because I knew that 2.5 seconds wasn't even close to enough time for a runner to make it to home plate, and yet the 1st-3rd double steal does happen occasionally. So I probably underestimated the turnaround time (since the shortstop has to tag the runner from first). Maybe it's one second. Total time: three seconds.

Yet how fast *can* a runner on third make it home, assuming he has to wait until the catcher releases the ball to take off? Again, I went to numbers I knew, and used math to get the rest of the way.

I assumed a fast runner like Carl Crawford could run about a 4.4 40-yard dash. That may be generous, or it may be slighting him. I don't really know. A 4.4 40 is a very fast time, but Crawford is a very fast player.

Either way, 4.4 is a fairly convenient number for me to pick, as it's easily divisible by four; since the 40-yard dash is a run of 120 feet, and the distance between bases is 90 feet, all i have to do is take 3/4 of the 40 time to get the time between bases. (Yes, the runner has an assumed lead off third, but we'll ignore that.)

So someone who runs a 4.4 40 gets from 3rd to home in 3.3 seconds. The transfer between catcher to shortstop to catcher takes three seconds. Even someone super-fast like Carl Crawford would have to rely on a slow-throwing catcher, a slow-throwing shortstop, or a botched exchange at second base in order to securely reach home. And that's why you don't see the 1st-3rd double steal much.

(Again, these numbers are completely made up and way off from how it works in reality. This post is just me explaining how I do math in my head to try and fall asleep, and how this time it failed miserably.)

Catch-22

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Art Garfunkel, Charles Grodin, Alan Arkin, Martin Sheen, and John Voight. How, exactly, did they screw this movie up?

The Home Run Record

Just 112 home runs to go, Barry Bonds.

Election being played under dispute

On November 3rd, 2000, I wrote this article, one I think might be the funniest piece I ever wrote. If the phrase "Pine Tar Incident" doesn't mean anything to you, read this first.

ORLANDO (ROOTERS) -- Voting authorities have announced that the presidential election is being "played under dispute" following new allegations that some citizens voted with an illegal amount of pine tar.

Governor George Bush's campaign is arguing the votes previously recorded for Vice President Al Gore should be thrown out in all-important Royal Springs County.

Bush Deputy Campaign Director Billy Martin declared, "The votes shouldn't count. Gore should be out. The voters had more than 18 inches of pine tar from ballot to pen."

Election officials are considering the plan to throw out the votes, while Florida Attorney General Lea MacPhail is promising to overrule her own umpires if they make such a decision.

"If the votes are called out, we will have a resumption of the voting at a later date," she said.

Meanwhile, voters are furious. "I've been waiting my whole life to see Al Gore finally win an election. I can't believe that these officials are going to throw my vote out based on such an irrelevant and silly rule that no officials ever enforced before," stated Gore supporter and Cuban immigrant Jorge Brett.

Bush supporters are adamant he won the election. "I couldn't beat Al Gore before, but I think I know why now," stated former vice presidential candidate Goose Gossage.

Adventures in hilarious comments

It might not surprise you that the most heavily-trafficked page on this blog is this post on the Boston Celtics cheerleaders -- it's the #3 hit on Google for "Boston Celtics Cheerleaders."

It would probably surprise you, though, that the second-most heavily-trafficked page on this blog is this post that I wrote the day after the cheerleaders one on a shooting that happened in a Gainesville club during a rap performance. People googling for "rapper plies" or "Algernod Lanier Washington" inevitably end up here, and sometimes they leave comments, as one reader did today:

Um who u think you is talkin bout plies he makin way mor money then you all ya'll stupid mufuckas do is talk bad about rappers leave em alone people do stupid shit everyday shoot up everyday people for nothin but as soon as a rapper does it the world is going to end get the fuck over it he making money he look good and like he said in his song "you ain't doin something right if you ain't got em hatin" so apparently he doin something right now ain't he yeah ya'll just keep hatin but i know is he love haters and want them to keep doin they job and that's hatin

I'd encourage you to read it again for comedic value, but it might make your head asplode.

Bonds' #755: A Media Criticism

So I edited together a video of Barry Bonds' 755th home run last night, as called by five different announcers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEO7XAP1Acg

Watch it! It's interesting. I think the most telling part I had to edit out because it came too late; the Padres radio announcer (who, you'll see, is clearly the most critical) says, once the game resumes, "And now to more important things, the game's tied at 1-1."

So, yeah, I got tagged...

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So two different people (Mel and CT) in two different states (Ohio and April and July) tagged me to play this game, and I figure it's high time I get around to actually playing.

What are the rules, you wonder? Well then, allow me to explain. What you are about to read are ten - hopefully - interesting facts and/or habits of mine. After you are done reading you will find a list of ten people in no specific order. These are the names of the innocent bystanders whom I have tagged and thus drawn into this game. They will then be forced to write their own blog listing ten interesting facts about themselves, and also select another ten people to tag - No Tag Backs! Very simple, hopefully interesting. Now, sit back, relax, and be amazed.

(I didn't write that part.)

10. I love coffee, but I hate Starbucks.

I am not enough of a coffee zealot to reject Starbucks entirely; indeed, I am drinking Starbucks as I write this. Yet I think on the whole that Starbucks tastes like burning. I prefer Dunkin' Donuts coffee, and keep fresh beans in the house. Except Rob brought over all this pre-ground Starbucks stuff, and I can't bear to waste it, since wasting food is a sin.

9. I enjoy doing laundry, but find it difficult-to-impossible to put it away.

There is a heap next to me, a mound of substantial size, and it is my clean laundry. It belongs in various locations in the room; the sweatshirt belongs in the armoire, the t-shirts in the dresser, the jeans in the closet. That would take me about five minutes to accomplish, yet I can't do it. The physical will it would take to get me to engage in putting my laundry away leaves me with a great deal of anxiety and fatigue.

8. I don't know how people function with only one monitor.

When I'm at work, and have to use only the Macbook screen, I feel almost claustrophobic. At home, I have a 17" CRT that functions as an extended desktop. That's where my IM and IRC apps (and whatever movie I'm watching, if I'm watching one) hang out, while actual work gets done on the 13" Macbook screen (which, despite being four inches smaller, has a higher resolution than the CRT). Having to crowd all those things into one screen, regardless of size, is almost impossible for me, and I've used secondary monitors connected to my notebook computers for five years or more.

7. My car hasn't been washed in months and months.

6. As mentioned earlier, I want -- need a crush, but I don't actually want a relationship (I just want bang-bang-bang) because women are crazy and just eat up all your available time with their nonsense, and as someone who lives with a guy whose entire life was eaten up by his girlfriend (my roommate) I feel quite strongly in this conviction.

Also, the always-reliable source of popular film iterate this opinion, as I sit here watching Down By Law.

5. I deleted what I wrote for this one. Essentially it was about how I can argue successfully with reasonable people but can't argue for sh*t with irrational people, and how 75% of people are irrational.

4. I have dozens of unread magazines in a box. I take a few with me to baseball games, because that's the only setting where I have the free time to read them.

3. I have a lot of alter egos you'd never even guess me having in places you wouldn't expect.

2. This is another coffee-related tidbit, and it's this: coffee makes me tired, and alcohol wakes me up. I have a cross-wired metabolism.

1. Every day I'm ashamed to be with the person I was yesterday. Yet I keep archives on this site! I'm a madman.

This meme has been around for months, so while I'm supposed to tag people, I'm not tagging anyone. That's me working.

Self-portrait

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Several of you have been clamoring for a recent photo. Here is one as I stand, at 2:08 am, after a night of watching Basic Rock Outfit at the Martini Club of Dunedin:

So that's what I look like tonight. It was a good night. BRO rocks my ass.

Ich bin ein bombastischen

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Sometimes you wake up and someone has drawn all over you. This is usually due to you passing out and so-called "friends" taking advantage of you. That's never happened to me.

Sometimes, though, you wake up with things written on you and you're entirely aware of how they got there. Sometimes it's a girl's phone number, and you scrape to find a pen and paper so it doesn't wash off or smear, but inevitably it does, and you never call her.

And then there's the times when you experience things that need to be captured for posterity, and there's no paper or bar napkin to be found. These are the nights when you find things like "bloviate" and "3am they were making out in the pool" written on your palm or forearm, and you thank yourself for your clever clerical skills.

Last night was one of those nights.

I headed over to the LA Hangout to meet some friends for another show by Tampa's best local band, Basic Rock Outfit. (Here's a YouTube link to my favorite song of theirs, Tidal Wave.)

Upon walking up to the Hangout and through the crowd of Thursday-night bikers I noticed a lithe brunette with hair shorter than mine (and that's not saying much, evidence pic to come some day) and filed her away for future reference. She later joined her friends inside the club area, while I noticed another woman, a blonde, whom I'd seen at other BRO shows. While on the bar side talking to my friend Rachel, she approached bartender Jen for a drink, and I used my usual tactic of insulting women to hit on them.

"Why are you always so serious?"
"What do you mean?" she replied.

The following hour and a half would make me regret ever uttering a word to her. I couldn't escape her rambling narratives about being from England, having a father who worked for the NSA as a mathematician, how she teaches high school French, how she takes care of her boyfriend's kid, blah blah blah blah blah. I excused myself and went over to the club side where she quickly found me.

She was all sorts of crazy. I quickly found it was time to execute Blue Collar Suicide, which I swear I've written about before but can't find any reference to on this blog. (Strangely, I found one on Mel's blog though.) Blue Collar Suicide, to explain for what feels like the tenth time, is a management procedure by which you dispose of someone you need to dispose of in a (at least at first) kind, generous manner.

The lithe brunette was dancing, and I said to the crazy blonde, "You see that girl over there? I have a crush on her."

Usually in Blue Collar Suicide you lie, saying something like "I just realized I'm gay" or "I contribute heavily to Al Qaeda support funds." In this case I was being brutally honest, but it didn't work, because the crazy blonde went over to the brunette and started talking to her.

Backfire!

As it turned out, the brunette was single, but she left before I had a chance to talk to her, and the blonde ended up coaxing my phone number out of me, which is unfortunate insofar as I gave her my real number, and I have a feeling I'm going to regret that whenever I finally find my phone, which I think is in my car somewhere.

And "What a bad idea" is still in black ink on my right palm.

Lynn Wachtmann is an asshole

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Lynn Wachtmann is an asshole. (HT: Consumerist.)

Since 90% of you aren't from Ohio, you might want to know who Lynn Wachtmann is. Lynn Wachtmann is a politician from my hometown of Napoleon, Ohio. Through my childhood, he served as our representative to the Ohio House, then moving on to the Senate, then back to the House (leaving office only as a result of term limits) where he currently serves. He has a long track record of being an asshole, including:

1. Beating up a teenage girl he thought was his daughter, but wasn't.

November 7, 1994 Columbus Dispatch

A state legislator said he is sorry he slapped a 15-year-old girl who was at a party with his daughter.

State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, said he mistakenly slapped the girl Sept. 25 after he and three other parents removed their children from a party where alcohol was being served to minors.

All were being driven from the party in Wachtmann's van, which he stopped later to discipline his daughter. In the dark, Wachtmann said he slapped the wrong girl.

Note that he didn't apologize for slapping a 15-year-old girl. He apologized for slapping the wrong girl. If he had slapped his own daughter, apparently, that would have been fine. He was re-elected in a landslide following the incident.

Also, I totally wasn't at that party or anything.

2. Got arrested for drunken boating.

October 3, 2000 AP

Sen. Lynn Wachtmann pleaded guilty to a charge of operating a boat while impaired on a Michigan lake and will be sentenced in November.

Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, was charged Sept. 3 with operating a pontoon while under the influence of liquor.

According to court records, Wachtmann registered a 0.13 blood-alcohol content when tested by Branch County Sheriff's Department officers.

You have to be pretty soused to operate a boat so badly you get pulled over for it. Trust us, we own a boat. Sort of. We totally don't know someone who was on that boat at the time he got busted.

3. He voted against switching from the electric chair to lethal injection as Ohio's form of capital punishment.

November 16, 2001 Dayton Daily News

The vote in the Senate was 26-3 with Sens. C.J. Prentiss, D-Cleveland, Tim Ryan, D-Niles, and Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, casting the "no" votes.

The Georgia Supreme Court in October struck down the use of the electric chair, saying it violated the state Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

You know you're in bad shape when Georgia looks positively advanced by comparison.

4. He voted against a crackdown on telemarketers.

May 7, 2003 AP

Democrats joined Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate to vote 32-1 in favor of the bill. Sen. Lynn Wachtmann, a Republican from Napoleon, who voted 'no,' said the bill was bad for small businesses and consumers.

If consumers really didn't want companies to call, telemarketers wouldn't bother them "because there wouldn't be the demand," Wachtmann said.

*Facepalm*

5. He similarly voted against a crackdown on internet spam.

November 18, 2004 Toledo Blade

COLUMBUS - A northwest Ohio lawmaker was the sole dissenter yesterday as the Senate voted 29-1 to approve a bill aimed at putting e-mail spammers in the can.

"This is overkill," said state Sen. Lynn Wachtmann (R., Napoleon), saying that companies that accidentally send as few as five e-mails could be targeted. "This is in the eye of the beholder. Do we want to hamper and create such a burden on commercial users of the Internet?"

But state Sen. Ron Amstuz (R., Wooster) said Mr. Wachtmann misinterpreted what the legislation says.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Kathleen Walcher (R., Norwalk), would make it a crime if someone uses false information to register five or more e-mail accounts and fraudulently uses them to transmit unsolicited commercial e-mail.

None of these atrocities, however, compare to his latest caper, his co-sponsoring of 2007 HB 287:

To enact section 2919.124 of the Revised Code relative to requiring paternal consent before an abortion may be performed.

Oh, it gets better.

A pregnant woman seeking to abort her pregnancy shall provide, in writing, the identity of the father of the fetus to the person who is to perform or induce the abortion.

What if she got pregnant at a sperm bank? What if she was raped?

A copy of a police report or a complaint, indictment, information, or other court document that gives the person who is to perform or induce the abortion reasonable cause to believe that the woman became pregnant as the result of rape or incest.

Only 16 percent of rapes are reported to police, for reasons you might imagine. But wouldn't the co-sponsors of this bill (there are seven more of them) have considered this? Let's take a look at them.




One of these things is not like the other,
One of these things just doesn't belong.

Anyway, it gets better. Here are some circumstances under which a woman could not get an abortion:

1. Her husband impregnates her, is called up to the Army, and is killed in Iraq. The woman decides it's wrong to raise a child by herself in these tough times, and... WHOOPS, WHERE'S THE FATHER'S SIGNATURE? Sorry, he's dead.

2. Two fourteen-year-old kids fool around and she gets pregnant. Obviously this girl is in no position to raise a child and she and the parents decide she'll get an abortion. The father is run over by Stephen King in a van and goes into a coma. He can't sign the form, so the girl can't get the abortion (even though her parents approve!)

It gets better. Say I'm a man (I am) and a woman I didn't sleep with claims I'm the only man she slept with. You know, like Billie Jean. I'm forced to submit my personal DNA to THE STATE in order to prove I didn't do anything wrong, and that's on the public record. If I refuse to provide the state a sample of my DNA, I'm ARRESTED FOR ABORTION FRAUD.

Anyway, this law is just bizarre, and that Wachtmann is behind it doesn't surprise me one bit. He's a prick, and I don't call people that often, especially people I see in person on a regular basis. But, then, I live in Florida now.

Is anybody there? Does anybody care?

So CNet is reporting MyspaceTV is going to "broadcast" the "season finale" of the "first season" of Lonelygirl15.

The number of quotation marks in that lede ought to communicate my utter skepticism.

My, my, Lonelygirl15 sure has come a long way. Not so long ago, everyone thought the too-cute videoblogger was, well, a too-cute videoblogger. Then some online video fans with a shocking amount of time on their hands deduced that she was likely an actress in a staged series of video episodes.

Screw you, buddy, I'm a very busy man.

Lonelygirl15 episodes have been uploaded to the Lonelygirl15 MySpace page since the series' early days, but this is the first time that they'll be available only on the portal. Lonelygirl, after all, is one of YouTube's biggest stars too.

So you're taking a "show" that is popular almost solely through YouTube and presenting its "finale" exclusively on a site nobody's ever heard of (seriously, MyspaceTV? What is that?) in order to reach a larger audience?

I didn't even realize they were still making episodes, frankly. I don't know what the Lonelygirl15 revenue stream is, but good for them if they've landed a deal with the mysterious MyspaceTV.

Let the bridge be burned behind me
Come what may, come what may

I'm a bad man

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    This page is an archive of entries from August 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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