31.10.07

Smart, Thin, and Effortlessly Hot

Sorry...I'm not smart enough to put up a picture! : )

Doing a little research on an article my husband told me about last night (that talked about why the French are thin though they eat more fattening foods - the conclusion: when you are stressed your body turns the calories into fat instead of something more useful), I came across this one in the NYT.

For Girls, It's Be Yourself and Be Perfect, Too

Talking about an affluent high school in suburbia, the author notes that these girls must be straight-A students, athletes, and "effortlessly hot."

"[T]hese girls struggle to navigate the conflicting messages they have been absorbing, if not from their parents then from the culture, since elementary school. The first message: Bring home A’s. Do everything. Get into a top college — which doesn’t have to be in the Ivy League, or one of the other elites like Williams, Tufts or Bowdoin, but should be a “name” school.

The second message: Be yourself. Have fun. Don’t work too hard.

And, for all their accomplishments and ambitions, the amazing girls, as their teachers and classmates call them, are not immune to the third message: While it is now cool to be smart, it is not enough to be smart.

You still have to be pretty, thin and, as one of Esther’s classmates, Kat Jiang, a go-to stage manager for student theater who has a perfect 2400 score on her SATs, wrote in an e-mail message, “It’s out of style to admit it, but it is more important to be hot than smart.”

“Effortlessly hot,” Kat added."

----

I found this article after reading one about how some high school principals are working on Stress Reduction Seminars, and integrating classes like yoga into their stressed out student's lives.

I don't have much to say about this besides, wow....I'm glad I'm not in high school anymore. Problem is, I know I still buy into these messages.

Yipes.



Happy Halloween!


That's right, it's October 31st, the craziest night of the year!

Honestly, I don't care about Halloween. I hate dressing up. I like candy but don't want to eat too much. Besides that, the whole holiday has turned into such a big deal, and it's kind of stupid. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a celebration of evil and fear, but what is it if not those things?

Halloween has it's moments, sure. I remember dressing up as an Ewok and a badger in back to back years (same costume, Mom and Dad just painted striped down the back the second time around), and that rush of sugar after my parents picked through for razor blades and the good stuff. It's just there's so much about Fall to celebrate: apples, chili, raking leaves, the new hop harvest...Halloween steals all the glory.

As I posted below, though, the scares can be nice. Here's The Onion A.V. Club's selection of the worst horror movie adversaries of all-time, form a lamp to a bed to Shakma, the killer baboon. (Note: Not all the videos are recommended...I know the bed one shows some boob, but I doubt anyone will be aroused.) Here's a taste:



Shakma looks awesome.

And here's a 9 minute rundown of Troll 2 that's pretty great, too.

30.10.07

Modesto's Annual Ninja Parade


Look, I loved ninjas as much as any other 10 year-old, but they're a little played by this point. The Onion gives ninjas one last gasp of hilarity.


Ninja Parade Slips Through Town Unnoticed Once Again

RIP Robert Goulet

Farewell, Sweet Prince.

The First Horror Movie

Time.com just ran a piece on the history of horror movies, the most recent being the fantastic "Shaun of the Dead", which I don't recall being that scary.

I'm not a huge horror fan, but I do understand the appeal...scary movies are the equivalent of spicy food. The pain is the best part.

Here's the earliest horror film. It is said the Parisian audience ran out screaming because they believed the incoming train would crash into the theater. There's a French joke there somewhere, but I'm going to pass on it.



I do agree with Time's analysis of Disney movies, though. There were some freaky ones.

29.10.07

So the site's not working

The site is working again.

Previously, this post had something about a Frapr map, but I couldn't figure out how to work it, and it seemed pretty stupid anyway...a good idea with awful execution.

Anyway, give Burnside another shot. We've got some great articles this week, and I'd hate for people to miss them because our server was down for a couple hours.

Something is Wrong


I'm unable to reach the Burnside home site, and it's been this way for about an hour. Is anyone else having this problem?

27.10.07

This is laterally the craziest play I've ever seen.


There are so many interesting things about this clip: the insane play that seems to last forever, the smattering of fans as witnesses, the awful announcing...it's all here.

In the eye of the storm


I know a wonderful woman named Anne de Graaf, a Christian writer who's traveled the world. Once, she was even a guest of Saddam Hussein. I asked her why in the world Saddam Hussein would invite her (and other Christian leaders) into Iraq.

"To consolidate power, Saddam would often give minority groups in Iraq special status, purely to keep any majority threats down."

Iraqi Christians, despite living under an evil dictatorship, were free to worship and even protected from persecution during Saddam's reign. Now, of course, the iron hand God used for at least a tiny shred of good is gone, and Christians have been targeted from day one of the American occupation.

Thankfully, Prime Minister al-Maliki has promised support to the Christian minority, which you can read about here. It can't be much comfort, as the Iraqi government certainly doesn't have a handle on security for anyone, but it reminds me of a quote I heard once.

"There is no where you can go where God isn't already."

Take That, Evil Empire.


Oregon Ducks-24, USC Trojans-17.

And it wasn't even that close...there were some scary points at the end, but anyone who watched this game knew Oregon was the better team.

Go Ducks.

In God We Trust

I just received this email forward, i had to share:

---------------------------------------------------------------
New Dollar Coins

Please help do this... refuse to accept these when they are handed back to you. ? I received one from the Post Office as change and I ask for a dollar bill instead..the lady just smiled and said way to go, so she had read this e-mail. ?
Please help out... our world is in enough trouble without this too!!!!!
?


You guessed it: " IN GOD WE TRUST " IS GONE!!!
If ever there was a reason to boycott something, THIS IS IT!!!!

DO NOT ACCEPT THE NEW DOLLAR COINS AS CHANGE

Together we can force them out of circulation.
Please send to all on your mail list !!!


------------------------------------------------------------

:sigh:

after reading this i thought i'd jump in my Delorean and fast forward 6 months to grab a copy of USA Today from the future. You'd never guess what i found...

From the USA Today, April 27, 2008:

Christians forcing Government to consider removing new Gold Coins from Circulation


-Cashiers have been cringing lately whenever they try to hand a customer a new gold coin. If that person is a good Christian, the cashier knows they will refuse to accept it.

This practice is happening everywhere, all the time, and is slowing down business to the point that Uncle Sam is contemplating scrapping the whole idea.

"The American Christians are sending a message," one anonymous pagan in the government said, "they WILL NOT use currency that does not say "In God we trust" when wasting their money on excess."

Cashiers who are Christians seem to be the only ones who don't mind the hassle. "When i give out one of these 'devil coins' to someone, i can immediately tell where they're going when they die," said Theresa Quipley, a postal worker in Reno, Nevada, "if they hand it back, I know they love God. If they stick it in their pocket, they might as well just draw a pentagram with the blood of a sacrificed goat on my counter, cuz i know they love satan."

From Miami to Portland, Bar Harbor to L.A., the new gold coins are looked at as worthless to devout Christians who see no value in a coin that doesn't bear the name of God. "It's worth about 5 cents to me," said Jimmy Riggles, a christian banker in Nebraska, who was fired from his job last week for giving the coins to customers in lieu of nickels.

Some pastors have been weeding through their offering baskets and taking out the secular coins. "We've got a big pile of them," said Virginia pastor Greg Pollson, "once we have enough we're going to melt them down and make a big cross out of them. What man meant for evil, God can make for good, with our help."

The government is expected to make a decision on the coin by July, which means you can expect slow lines and frustrated cashiers for the next few months.

"And to think," said our government source, "this all started with an email forward calling for a boycott. It's amazing how powerful those things are."

Amen.

25.10.07

GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!!

My daughter Kylie has been playing soccer this Fall, and it's been a learning experience for both of us. She's only 6 years old, and has never played any sport before, but she said she wanted to play soccer this year so we signed her up. The kids on her team, both boys and girls, are ages 6-7 and most of them played soccer last year, so she's a bit behind the curve.

At the first practice i went to, i found myself being a little more vocal than i had intended to be. Kylie was having a great time out there, but she wasn't ever where she was supposed to be. Additionally, she didn't seem interested in taking the ball from anyone, which is very nice when you're playing at home, but kinda defeats the purpose when you're playing soccer. So naturally, i found myself "loudly encouraging" her with shouts of "KYLIE, GO GET THE BALL!" or "KYLIE GET BACK ON DEFENSE!" or "KYLIE, DONT BE AFRAID TO GRAB A LITTLE JERSEY AND TRIP HIM THE NEXT TIME HE GETS BY YOU, THAT PIECE OF DIRT!"

After the first practice I introduced myself to the coach, and I asked him if he had a problem with me helping to "coach" my daughter from the sidelines. "It's your kid," he said, "as long as you're not contradicting what I'm saying, you can do what you want."

I thought about that all week. It's my kid...I'm her dad. And here I am auditioning for the "obnoxious parent yelling from the sideline" role. Between Kylie and my son Parker, I figure I've got another dozen years of sideline parenting ahead of me. Perhaps now was the time to decide what type of sideline parent I would be.

The next practice I tried a different approach. I just sat there and watched. When Kylie would run up to the ball and then not kick it, I said nothing. When she would wander all over the field, I said nothing. When she would be responsible for letting the other team score, I said nothing. Honestly, it felt so much better. When Kylie would come off the field, I'd always give her a high-five and tell her how good she was doing, and then maybe give her something to think about the next time she went out there.

But no yelling. No screaming and no yelling.

This weekend is the final saturday of the season. I'm coaching the team because her coach is going to be out of town. It should be a blast. Last week I helped coach practice and one of the girls had a breakaway all alone and suddenly realized her shoe was untied so she just stopped running and tied her shoe while a swarm of kids came over to take the ball. It was hilarious.

Oh and one last thing. During last saturday's game Kylie actually kicked the ball near the other team's goal. Towards the goal, in fact. And as it was rolling towards the net, i saw one of her teammates lining up to kick it right in. He was going to score instead of her. Only he completely whiffed. And the ball kept rolling...and rolling...until it rolled right into the goal! She scored! Her first goal of the season.

Her coach, knowing how far she had come since the beginning of the year, said he got chills when Kylie scored. I opted for tears and a big smile myself.

And yelling. Lots of screaming and lots of yelling.

24.10.07

It's like watching a game from Heaven.


I may have mentioned this before, but myself, Don Miller and a few friends went in together on Blazers season tickets. We bought the tickets when Greg Oden wasn't injured.

Since a few of us (well, just me) are pretty broke, we went for the nosebleeds. It's mainly just cool to say to people, "Yeah, I'm a Blazer season ticket holder," even if I've only got tickets to 5 games.

Don took a friend to a preseason game tonight against the Sonics. It was the first time any of us has seen our seats. Here's a picture taken with an iPhone. I've got a altitude sickness just looking at it.

Sometimes it's nice to be a child...

First things: READ SUSAN'S POST BELOW about the wildfires in Southern California. It's amazing. It makes me proud to know someone like Susan.

I wanted to point you to this interview with Kevin Garnett, though. It made me happy to see KG so open, and to see him change character so quickly. The sports world is crazy, but we sometimes miss that all these guys taking steroids and making garbage truck-loads of money are people who, in their past, played with toys. The point is, they're real.

I was partial to BattleBeasts, myself.

Thanks to the always outstanding Deadspin.com for the link.

23.10.07

World On Fire

Larry and I live in the Glendale/Pasadena area, just a few miles east of Los Angeles. On a clear day we can see the foothills to north, and the Angeles Crest Mountains stretching off to the east. Last week we could see all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Made you understand why people moved here. Long ago. Before the other people got here.

But today the world is on fire. When the sun came up this morning, it rose through a thick band of smoke and bloated into a blood red balloon. There was smoke on every horizon. By the end of the day, there was no more blue sky. Just smoke.

Nearly a million people have been evacuated statewide. San Diego is the hardest hit: one in three households. It’s hard to get your mind around a number like that. I heard about a single dad who barely got out of his apartment with his twin daughters. They couldn’t find the dog or cat before they left. Later they heard their apartment building had burned to the ground.

The fires are raging north of LA as well. Simi Valley, Valencia, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, Agua Dulce. These are all communities north of LA. We used to drive through them on the way to visit my uncle in the High Desert. It was like driving through Hell. Dry rock, cacti, the occasional ranch. Hermits in shacks with rusted cars on blocks; who took comfort in knowing no one else would ever move there. Today that wasteland is sardine-packed with housing tracts and shopping centers and squares of grass to distract you form the fact you’re in Hell.

I shot a TV Western out in Stevenson Ranch in 1991. When it was ranchland. This past April I stopped there for groceries and gas. No ranch. Just one high-end housing development after another, zitted with Designer Shoe Warehouse and Ross and Linens 'N' Things and Toys R Us and Marshalls and Target and a Coach outlet where you can buy a leather key fob for $65.

And now it is all on fire. I feel for those people who pitched their overpriced tents in the middle of Hades, rolled out some grass and called it home. I hope they have homes to come home to.

It’s really a horrible thing. I feel very bad. But … people are already complaining. Officials, even. Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky is blaming the environmentalists for protecting the indigenous desert plant life that is now on fire. A fire chief is pissed off that there isn’t more coordination between government agencies. And with the landed gentry of San Diego piling up at Qualcomm stadium, it’s only hours before they get antsy. And hungry. And very very angry.

It’s Katrina, for rich people.

Southern California is a desert. You know, like the cover of “The Joshua Tree.” That's why we stole our water from Northern California. At first to grow oranges, then to water our lawns or the shrubs on the meridians in the shopping malls.

The Cassandras have been warning us that we are not prepared for a large-scale disaster. And they are right. There could be better coordination and more resources. But oops, the National Guard is in Iraq.

I’m having a hard time staying empathetic when we' offended that fire has destroyed homes in ... fire danger areas. "How dare mother nature do what it does." Or when we're shocked our nation's resources can't swoop in and make it go away. Our country is a mess. Please, pray for me and my bad attitude. No, don't. Pray for the people who are in imminent danger. They need help.

John and Katie Pattison have a new daughter!

John Pattison is our books editor. He and his wife Katie just had their first child, Molly Elizabeth Pattison. She is 6 pound 5 ounces, ruddy pink compexion, and blue-eyed with curly dark hair. I haven't seen her, but I'm assuming she's an absolute knock-out.

So welcome to life, Molly, and congratulations to John and Katie, who will both be wonderful parents. We hope for all the blessings in the world for the Pattison family.

John will be taking some time off from Burnside while he learns how to be a dad and also because we don't pay his bills. In the meantime, Ariele Gentiles will be stepping into his place as books editor.

22.10.07

A Break in the 'O Holy Night' Saga

I don't generally like to tip my hand about projects we're working on here at Burnside, but I received an email today from a gentleman in Tennessee who claims he's the one who performed that spectacular rendition of 'O Holy Night' we featured on the site a year ago. (Note: the link to play the song may be broken, so click here if you've never heard it.)

I even spoke to him on the phone a moment ago. I'm greatly looking forward to interviewing him. The mystery could be solved! Stay tuned for more details...

May I inquire discreetly......




So, what's your favorite song from Sgt. Pepper's? For me it's Lovely Rita, which may be my favorite song of all-time. I'd like to rank my top 10 or 20 songs of all-time, but I'm not sure that's possible. Right now though,Lovely Rita is #1. That's probably because I listened to the album last night while Tricia watched Desperate Housewives. I still skip Within You Without You 50% of the time.

20.10.07

The Bombing in Pakistan

You are probably aware of the horrifying bombing in Karachi, Pakistan.

I work with a Pakistani woman at the grocery store, and she's become a good friend. Whenever I see news regarding Pakistan, I ask her what she thinks. One time, she told me, she was approached by Mormon missionaries.

"They told me about Jesus," she said. "But they don't know anything. If they knew about the world, they would know I'm Muslim!"

I tried to explain it didn't make any difference, because wouldn't she want to tell someone about her beliefs if given the chance?

Today, as soon as I saw her, I told her how sad the bombing was, and I told her Mindy (who shops there and knows her, as well) and I would be praying for her country.

"I know," she said, turning serious. "I saw the news on BBC and tears came."

Post-9/11, there was an outpouring of support from across the globe toward the United States. The majority of humanity, after all, revolts at the loss of human life. Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is defiant against the attacks, claiming they will not deter her return to fight for human rights.

Please take a moment and pray for the Pakistani people, and if you know any Pakistanis, express your concern for such an awful situation. I know if I lived abroad it would matter to me, and I'm sure it will matter to them.

19.10.07

The Greatest Job I Ever Had


Remember that old dot.com boom? The one where everyone worked in some crazy internet office and got paid craploads of money and then it all fell apart?

I do. Only too well.

I was one of those people that worked for one of those companies. I was the youngest guy working for the Portland office of Kozmo.com, an internet delivery company that was freaking awesome.

There were days at Kozmo when we were busy, where we were out delivering movies and various items all over the city of Portland. I worked there for some time and got to know the shortcuts and byways pretty well.

But when we weren't busy, that's when things got really awesome.

There was an Nintendo 64 and a Sega Dreamcast hooked up. There were couches and televisions and a fridge full of items no one had ordered, like Pizzicato pizzas and Odwallas. I was a driver, but many of my fellow employees were bike messengers who played in bands like Badger King. Seriously. One worker literally played in Badger King.

What's more, it was the last time I felt like I never worried about money. I don't even remember what we were paid, but I remember it was more than enough. Besides that, we also assumed the company would explode, and we'd all be in on the ground floor. We kept stats of delivery times, and I was consistently at the top. I thought, "If I can keep this up, I'll run this place someday."

I loved Kozmo.com, and I often refer to it as the best job I ever had and ever will have.

My dad was the one who told me it was shut down. I'd been expecting it, because what other kind of business runs properly while its employees are playing NBA 2k on Sega Dreamcast and watching Blazer games at the same time? I had to go into work that day, but I just stayed homed. I wouldn't have been able to get in anyway. The doors were locked.

I remember it as the pinnacle of American excess, and I experienced it to the fullest, even if I was 20 years old. When Kozmo.com died, a part of the American dream died. What more could you ask for? A job that paid insanely well and required very little work. Isn't that what the greatest generation fought for in WWII?

I only bring this up because The Onion's venerable A.V. Club reminded me of how good it could've been here.

I miss you, Kozmo and Badger King lady and all the other crazy bastards I worked with at The Best Job I Ever Had. I hope you are well.

The Schnoz Report - Week 7



So the new Schnoz Report is up.

I guess I'm going to start hosting it at PfB and posting about it here. Unless this makes Jordan angry, in which case I'll post it here as well.

I give and give to you people...


For the last three years, I've worn glasses. That is not me pictured above.

Here's how that came about: I kept sitting in church looking at the worship lyrics, and I kept telling people around me, "Why don't they focus that! It's annoying! Stupid worship leaders." They sort of nodded and waited for me to shut up so they could keep singing "Beautiful Scandalous Night".

My denial wasn't without merit. My dad is in his mid-50's and just recently got reading glasses. My mom is in her early-50's and doesn't wear glasses or contacts or anything. She may have had Lasix surgery and I don't know about, but I doubt it. They've both had excellent eyesight well into their 40's. So why would I have to worry about it? Meanwhile, I'd be yelling at the projectionists in movie theaters to wake up clean their milkshake spill all over the film reel, for pete's sake.

Anyway, I've had glasses for the last three years, but I wanted to get some contacts so I could play futsal and not be reacting to white blobs shot my way. I visited the optometrist the other day.

And now I've got astigmatism, or an astigmatism, or a stigmatism...I'm not sure what it's called, but it means contacts cost about twice as much. I asked the optometrist why, why do my parents have great vision and mine sucks?

"You're a writer, right?"

"Yeah, kind of," I said.

"And you probably spend a lot of time on computers and reading, right?"

"Well, sure. Listen, lady, cut to the chase. My insurance isn't paying you to talk."

"Since your eyes are focusing so closely, it's causing your sight at greater distances to weaken."

She blew my mind.

Here's my point: it's your fault. I do this for you, you know? I toil day after day, crafting gold-standard orders of words for your enjoyment. Sure, occasionally some of that time is spent changing my fantasy football rosters, but don't you ever think the pain and struggles I go through aren't ultimately for you, the reader.

After I found out my eyes are getting worse, it took me an hour to learn how to put in my left contact. I just don't like jamming things into my eyes.

18.10.07

Now THAT'S Reaction Time!



Thanks to Steve at The Sneeze, my favorite blog in the world, for finding this video.

The guy with the mask...he just drops.

Our Latest Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

Since we only occasionally sell ads, and that money goes quickly (the financial repercussions of a lego habit would surprise you), we're resorting to other monetary schemes.

We're selling pants.

Bryan Allain is the face of this new campaign.

17.10.07

I Don't Watch TV (often...), But I Do Love Radio!

I am a whore I do confess for the reporting on NPR. Today's edition of The World (which is actually produced by PRI....does that count?) alerted me to one woman's work in Afghanistan, and what she is doing to relieve poverty and curb the opium trade.

Sarah Chayes is the founder of an organization called Arghand that is producing soaps and other cosmetics to provide an alternative to working in the opium industry. Go the the World's website (linked above) to hear her talk about it. I was surprised by some of the things she had to say.

And while you're there, listen to the interview with Kevin Sites, a one-man journalist who covered 20 wars in 368 days. His contention: all wars have collateral damage for decades to come, and we in civil society just don't know how to deal with that. It's time we started trying to figure it out.

16.10.07

Jesus and ESPN?

Paul Byrd did an outspoken Q & A with Sam Alipour of ESPN.

You can read it here.

There are some interesting comments about what it's like to be an athlete and a christian. If I had to pitch to Big Papi, I'd be praying more too.

15.10.07

Art for whose sake?

OK, people. These pictures speak for themselves.

Chris Jordan's current work

Now, my question is: why am I so apathetic??

The New Issue of Burnside


I just wanted to publicly thank Bob Ham for his Ryan Adams-esque output this week (even if he didn't write any of them). Reviews of Radioead, Okkervil River and New Pornographers? Did I die and go to heaven?

Oh, and thanks to Adam, Matty and Aaron Meyer for your contributions!

Ligaments Unite!


Kurt Warner, the faith-based NFL QB, has an injury that he'd like his friends and family to pray for. Some in the media think this is another example of athletes acting like balaam's ass. Haven't we been here before?

This is exactly the type of story that i created Prayers For Blowouts for, a blog I'm running that deals with the frequent collisions of sports and faith. So if you're into that sort of thing, pop on over and check things out (remember, the blog is an infant, so be gentle). if you like what you see, you can subscribe.

So what do you think? Do you have a problem with athletes asking God for healing? Should they be praying about Darfur or Iran instead? What say you, Burnside readers?

14.10.07

the darjeeling limited.



On Friday I discovered that Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited had finally come to Portland, and so--because I’d been waiting to see it for centuries, I dressed up and took myself out to the movies yesterday evening. And it was beautiful.
A few weeks ago, Mr. Anderson released a short film prequel/primer to Darjeeling online under the title Hotel Chevalier, with the suggestion that audiences view it before they see the full-length film. I promptly downloaded and watched it about six times. At only thirteen minutes long, I immediately fell in love with the song* that wheels and undulates in the background, and with the rich, terse and tension-filled dialogue between two [ex]lovers. Lovely. Darjeeling is just as lovely, but with a different tone—the predominate tensions thickly swimming between three somewhat-estranged brothers (played amusingly by Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman) as they traverse a rainbowed Indian landscape.
It will not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it was the perfect anodyne for a melancholy me.

*Peter Sarstedt, “Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)”

13.10.07

Wha' Happened?!?


It's 9 pm right now. The Oregon Ducks' game began eight and a half hours ago, and I don't know the score. I don't know the score because local broadcasters aren't playing the game on television until 11 tonight, and I've decided to wait.

We're having a little game-watching party at Don's tonight, and all of us are in the dark. We do know LSU lost to Kentucky in a thriller, and we know our fellow Oregonians, the Beavers, beat Cal. We know if we win this game, we'll be moving up in the rankings.

Last time I did this was for the Stanford game when I had to work. The strange thing is, Oregon fans were coming in while the game was being played, and I'd tell them not to say anything. The problem is I'm pretty intuitive, and I could've told you how the game played out just by their expressions, right down to the fact we took a solid early lead, the game got close in the middle, and the Ducks ended up with the win.

I saw a man on the street today after the game with a Ducks jacket on, and I looked at his face for a split second.

I'm afraid we lost. I hope I'm wrong.

(Addendum: The Ducks won. Big time. But they did lose two major players to injury. I told you I was intuitive! Unfortunately, my skills at reading Duck fans' faces are useless in immediate healing of knees and ankles.)

Trickle Down Economics in Action!


The Onion tells the story of an area man for whom Reaganomics finally worked.

12.10.07

Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

The Schnoz Report - Week 6



Each week The Schnoz Report will get you ready for the upcoming slate of games in the NFL, providing angles (both acute and obtuse, but never right) that you won't get anywhere else.

As always, if you hate sports, especially football, then reading this post will only make you bitter and angry. Why don't you go read about the guy who tried to beat a drug test by asking a random boy to pee.

First Thing's First

What we learned last week:

1. The AFC West might be worse than we thought. Your current division leader? Oakland at 2-2. KC, SD, and Den are all 2-3. At this point, who is the frontrunner to win the division? San Diego based on what they've done in the past? Oakland or KC because of their Defenses? Denver by default? If your life was on the line and you had to pick the division winner right now, who would you go with? I think I'd take San Diego, and I'd vomit every time I realized my life was in Norv Turner's hands.

2. On the Flip Side, the AFC South is beastly. The division's last place team, the Texans, would be leading the AFC West with their 3-2 record. As hard as it is to happen, it seems like both wild cards could come out of this division this year. Who's going to have a better record than TEN and JAX for those two spots? Baltimore? Denver? Oakland? I can't see that happening.

3. The NFC continues to be a sea of mediocrity. Other than Dallas, which teams scare you as an opponent? Answer: none. The teams playing the best right now are probably the Giants, Redskins, and Packers, but these teams all have huge flaws. Even if they lose to New England this weekend, the Cowboys' path to the Super Bowl looks pretty good right now. Anything less than a trip to the NFC Championship will be a huge disappointment for Wade Phillips.

4. The worst team in the world? a toss-up between Miami, St. Louis, and New Orleans. With all 3 teams on the road this week, the troika could be a collective 0-18 come Monday.

5. The last-second time-out as the field goal is about to be kicked reared its ugly head again on Monday night. Third time that's happened this year in the NFL. The thing that amazes me, is that in all 3 cases the kicker made his first attempt. That's why there is so much outrage to change the rule. Imagine if all 3 kickers missed their first attempt, and because of the timeout where given a second chance? We'd all be calling the coaches idiots for doing this and no one would want a rule change. That's why i think the rule won't change, because eventually a coach is gonna get burned doing this.


Angle(s) of the Week

It's all about the Dallas-New England game this week, and rightly so. Funny that the Colts are off this week. I bet they'll all be glued to their sets to catch this one.

The key to this game is going to be how Romo throws the ball downfield. I don't think any team can trade punches with the Patriots. They'll take your shots and hit you back even harder, eventually wearing you down. If the Cowboys can score on big plays that force the Patriot's defense to respect the home run, then Romo has a chance to use Witten and Barber to move the ball. It's a huge test for Romo coming off that 5 INT performance.

With much of the attention on T.O. and Moss, I think Dallas will try to hit Crayton and Hurd with downfield bombs when they are in single coverage.

As for New England, I think they'll score their 28-31 points like they always do. If they can force Romo into 2 or 3 turnovers, and they can keep Dallas from scoring on big plays, they'll be able to come out on top.

This has Nothing to Do with Football

Not to go all Peter King on you, but I'm in a Panera Bread in Seekonk, Masachusetts and the guy next to me is yelling into his cellphone. yelling.

"TELL MARIO TO GET THAT CONNECTICUT JOB STAHTED BY THURSDAY"

"HEY KEVIN, I GOT CONFIRMATION FROM MARIO. HE'S WORKING WEDNESDAY, SO CALL HIM AFTAH 10:30. HE'S GOT SOME IDEARS ABOUT THAT PAHKING LOT JOB."

"HEY JIM, DID YOU ORDAH THE RIGHT DOOR FOR THOSE PANELS OR DID YOU MAKE AN ERRAH?"

It's good to be back home in Massachusetts. I love the accent. But like i tell my son all the time, let's use our "inside voice" when we are inside. thank you.

Fantasy is the New Reality

I'm happy to report that Nick Folk's 53-yard field goal as time expired on Monday Night gave me a 1-point victory in Fantasy, my first since Week 1. Still got beat in my other 3 leagues though. I suck.


No Ticket, No Problem

If your wife thinks the Sunday Ticket has to do with the pastor who gets busted for speeding on his way to the pulpit, here's what you'll be watching on sunday.

CBS - CBS has the doubleheader this week. There's 4 early games, with only Miami @ Cleveland happening without HD cameras. I think the coaches for each team requested the standard definition cameras in hopes that people wouldn't notice how bad they both suck. The late game the entire country will be watching is Dallas and New England. (except for California and half of Nevada, who are stuck watching SD and OAK).

FOX - FOX has 1 game this week. It will be an early game for you unless you get Carolina @ Arizona, which is in the late game slot. But even if you follow those teams, you'll still probably watch the New England game anyway.

If you'd like to take a peak at the NFL coverage map with your own soul windows, be my guest.

Household Chore to Ignore

Each week I'll be helping you find something around the house that you should feel guilty about not doing because you're watching football.

This week it's the gutters. There are leaves in them. But the thing is, there will be more leaves in them after this week. Why not just wait for all the leaves to fall?

Personally, I've never cleaned a gutter in my life because we have hardly any trees in our development (it's relatively new). The thought of getting on a ladder to do that makes me tired just thinking about it.

So get out your ladder, take a peek in your gutters, confirm that there are leaves. Then peek at the trees, confirm that there are more leaves to fall, and go sit back down on the couch.

Upset Specials

Each week I'll pick an underdog that i think can win its game outright.

Last Week's pick: CAR over NO (WIN!)
Record for the Year: 4-1

I like Washington to go into Green Bay this week and beat the favored Packers. Brett Favre will set the all time interception record, Green Bay won't be able to run the ball, and Jason Campbell will continue his rise to being one of the best QBs in the NFC.

Mascot Wars

This week it's an MLB edition

Rockies & Diamondbacks - It's the classic battle of nature. Snakes vs. Mountains. Snakes are crafty, mountains don't move. Snakes can slither, mountains don't move. Snakes can shed skin and bite people and constrict on people and can rattle, mountains don't move. But Blues Traveller never sang a song about snakes, did they? In the words of John Popper, "the mountains win again." Rockies in 5 games.

Red Sox & Indians - If native americans had socks back hundreds of years ago, perhaps they would have done better in the winters and would have had stronger tribes. Then when the English came over to settle the land, the Indians would have destroyed them in their red socks and none of us would be here today. That would suck. I mean, it was awful what we did to the natives, but I like existing. Red Sox in 6 games.

Conspiracy Theory of the Week

Some people believe the two pictures to the left are the same person.

These people also believe that aliens are real and that eating snow actually burns calories because of the energy it takes to melt it, so you shouldn't eat snow if you are stranded and thirsty in alaska.

Do not trust these people.

If Betting were Legal

Last Week: 5-9
Year to Date: 37-39

My picks for Week 6 (your spreads may vary):

MIN(+6.5), TEN(+2.5), CLE(-4.5), StL(+9.5), JAX(-6.5), WAS(+3.5), PHI(-3.5), KC(+3.5), ARI(-4.5), OAK(+10.5), NE(-5.5), SEA(-6.5), NYG(-3.5)

Final Word

One more travel note. I hate Connecticut. It is the WORSE state to travel in. ever. I-95, a major interstate that runs from Maine to Florida, goes down to 2 lanes in Connecticut! 2 lanes! what genius came up with that idea? Not to mention that theres thousands of acres of woods surrounding the highway. You could make the road 25 lanes and it wouldn't even dent the forestry. This is why I won't vote for Chris Dodd, because i hold him personally responsible for the cumulative hours of traffic i have sat in in his blasted state.

what's your most hated travel locale? flying out of a certain airport? a certain road near where you live? I'm curious if I'm the only one who despises stretch of road so passionately.

we're driving back home on Sunday. Pray for us.

-The Schnoz

11.10.07

Things That One Lady in Your Office Loves: Part 1

You know that lady. She reads "Garfield" and "Kathy"..."It's like they made a comic strip of my life!" she says.

No, it's not, lady.

Anyway, that lady likes a lot of crazy stuff, but not all of it is without brilliance. I'm hoping we can make this a regular thing. To start things off, my friend Steve, on the comment board for our last entry, gave us this little miracle.

First, George Harrison and John Lennon are caterwauling in their graves for this endless version of "When I'm 64". Second, I feel the need to point out how disturbing this image is. The Kafka-esque, ever-moving pool of water, locked on all visible sides by a sheer green wall...the rope that leads nowhere (early renditions featured a kitten hanging from a branch, so there was at least some indication of safety)...even the kitten's face shows it doesn't understand it's life is about to end.

What's more, maybe he's just waiting for "When I'm 64" to end so the rest of "Sgt Pepper's" will wind down and he'll at least get a chance to hear "A Day In the Life" one last time before his lungs breath their last.

Hang in there indeed.

But no, little kitten, you're not even getting to "Lovely Rita".

"When I get older/Losing my hair/Many years from now..."

Splash.

Mark Himes

Hayes Montgomery
Portland
Tall Firs
Age: 25B/T: S/L
Born: Marlboro, NY
Position(s): RF/1B/LF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Pygmy Chimps

I'm not trying to crowd out Bryan's awesome entry below, but there is some scientistic evidence that viewing photos of cute things (babies, puppies, kittens, etc.) can actually cause your body to release endorphins, which make you feel good without first causing immense pain (like when I stretch my hamstrings).

So here's a baby pygmy chimpanzee, just born at the San Diego Zoo.

who's your daddy?

I gave my wife the night off yesterday, carting both the kids over to Kylie's soccer practice. While Kylie dribbled around cones and played with her ponytail, Parker and I were 50 yards away playing baseball with the tennis balls and bat that we brought. As we were playing, a spastic 8-yr old kid came over and asked if he could play. I was annoyed at first, but decided the right thing to do was say "yes" and so i did.

He said his name was Eddie, and then he told me where we were all going to be positioned and what our roles would be (he was going to be the batter). I politely made it clear to Eddie that i was making the rules because i was here to play baseball with my son, so if he wanted to play, he would have to listen to me. Eddie seemed cool with that, and so we played on.

Five minutes later a 10-yr old kid wandered over with his dad, who was still dressed in his business casual work clothes. They had a soccer ball with them and they were kicking it around together. I could tell that neither was really athletic or coordinated, but i thought it was cool that they were goofing off like dads should with their kids. A few minutes later, the dad retreated to his chair by the soccer field and the boy, named Kyle, asked if he could play baseball with us. Why not? The more the merrier.

I let all the kids take turns batting and being the catcher. Parker was the best at hitting and throwing, which i took some sense of pride in, even though it's probably a dumb thing to be proud about. (He is only 4 though). When it was Kyle's turn to bat, it was pretty obvious that he didn't have any experience playing baseball. He told me sheepishly that he wasn't very good at baseball, and i told him it was okay, that i wasn't very good either, which seemed to give him a sliver of his confidence back.

After a few hopeless flails, I adjusted his grip, stance, and posture and to his delight he began to foul pitches off. (Hey, sometimes you have to set the bar low, right?) When he finally hit one in the right direction, he was beaming with pride. He looked over at his dad, who was 50 yards away and out of earshot, and said, "I wish my dad could have seen that."

I continued to help Kyle adjust his swing, and he actually had a few hits that flew by me in the air. "Wow, look at you!" I said, "Great hit." I was feeling pretty good about myself. Look at me, the baseball coach! Moments later as i walked by him to retrieve a few of the balls he had missed he said to me, "You're cool. I wish YOU were my dad."

Ew. That kinda made me feel gross. Thankfully, his dad didn't hear the comment, but man, if i had heard one of my kids say something like that to another guy, it would break my heart. I mean, all it took for this kid to disown his father was 3 minutes of one on one baseball instruction? Yikes.

Before Kyle ran over to his dad to tell him how well he had hit it, i tried to redeem the moment as best i could. "I might be cool to have as a friend," i told the kid, "but your dad is the best person in the world to be your dad." Not sure if he bought it or not, but it was all i had.

As we drove home i thought about the exchange and it reinforced my desire to be a great dad. I never want that thought to run through my kids' heads. I want to do everything i can to be the best dad in the world to them, and i want them to know it in their hearts without even having to think about it. That way if someone else' dad ever spends a couple minutes correcting their batting stance or offering them praise for a job well done, they'll think to themselves, "this guy's cool, but he's not as cool as MY dad."

Hey, sometimes you need to set the bar high, right?

10.10.07

Ahhhhhhhhh....


A minute and a half in, this is definitely not Thom Yorke farting into a paper bag.

Radiohead is the king.

9.10.07

Let It Ride!


After working some overtime the last few weeks, some friends and I spent the weekend at my parent's cabin on Mt. Hood. It was a nice, restful time without the buzz of cellphones or the lure of internet.

On Saturday, we thought it might be fun to drive over to the Warm Springs Reservation for a little gambling. I enjoy the odd poker game, and I've been to casinos a couple times before. The first time, I just put a couple coins in a video poker machine. The second, I played some hands of blackjack in La Center, Washington and lost $30 after being up $20.

Kah Nee Tah is a resort on the reservation, which is on the eastern side of Mt. Hood. It was an hour drive from the cabin, winding up Highway 24 past Government Camp and the cutoff for Timberline Lodge. As you summit the Cascades and slowly descend, the rain and muck of Western Oregon fades away, and you're confronted with bright sun and high desert. It's a very strange transition that happens within five miles or so.

In addition to being sovereign nations, Native American reservations are just different, different even from small towns. Instead of signs warning of deer crossing the road, there were signs of wild horses, for instance. There were cars burnt out on the side of the road, seemingly for no reason, and one had a boulder embedded in the windshield.

The road to Kah Nee Tah swings through a tiny town named Simnasho, where most of the buildings are boarded up and look closed. There was no one around, not even a car, but there was a herd of horses, slowly ambling by the high school.

Suddenly, a pack of dogs attacked the horses, barking and occasionally darting in for a quick nip.

"What the...that's awesome!" I said, almost turning around. Mindy told me not to worry, the horse would beat the crap out of the dogs and be fine.

"What kind of town is this, where gangs of dogs and horses do battle on the deserted streets?" John said from the rear seat. "It must be heaven!"

As we left the town, a family of wild turkeys crossed the road in front of us. I didn't even know turkeys lived in Oregon.

We finally reached the casino 10 minutes later, crossing the threshold between bright, high desert sun to dark, cigarette-laced abyss. Only one blackjack table was open, and it was full, so we had to kill an hour at the video poker machines until the second one opened. Fortunately, there was plenty of free soda to drink as our lungs slowly withered. We looked around. We were by far the youngest people in the entire building. I was the youngest, and I'm 27.

When the $5 blackjack table finally opened it was Mindy, myself, John and his wife, Leslie. We each had $40. A guy next to us with a dirty Oregon hat looked like he was nearly homeless, but he bought $120 worth of chips.

Around 20 minutes later, I was broke. The guy with the Oregon had was quickly next, going completely broke and losing $120. Mindy busted after that. I have no idea how the dealer drew three blackjacks for herself, or how she consistently pulled 17s and 18s, but that's what happened. Leslie was next, and John was down to his last two chips when he sparked a miraculous comeback (partially by surviving to a new dealer) and ended up $20 ahead. Lucky bastard.

It was a gentle reminder of why I don't go to casinos in the first place: I always lose my money.

On the way back through Simnasho, we spotted the horse gang again, but there were no dogs in sight. I half expected to find them near the cattle guard on the way out of town, their heads impaled on fenceposts. You don't #^@% with the horse gangs. You just don't.

Is it okay to love Whole Foods?


Susan alerted me to this great article by Mark Morford on SFGate.com.

(Correction: This entry previously stated Mark Morford was a Burnside contributor. That was incorrect. BWC writer M. Morford and Mark Morford are not the same person.)

8.10.07

Harvest Tan........



Tricia and I moved from Mobile to Birmingham in May, and we were both very excited to leave the Gulf Coast, in part because moving north meant we might get to experience four distinct seasons again. The Gulf Coast, best I could tell, only had three seasons. Spring, Summer, and Mardi Gras. But today is October 8th, and here in the Magic City we are expecting a high of 90 degrees?!? That's nine-zero, ninety. Perhaps this has something to do with Vulcan, the Roman God of Fire, keeping watch over our fair city.

4.10.07

The Schnoz Report - Week 5



Each week The Schnoz Report will get you ready for the upcoming slate of games in the NFL, providing angles (both acute and obtuse, but never right) that you won't get anywhere else.

As always, if you hate sports, especially football, then reading this post will only make you bitter and angry. Why don't you go read about the Mr. Potato Head doll that was strung out on Ecstasy.

First Thing's First

What we learned last week:

(-1.) First let me tell you what we didn't learn last week. The Patriots are way better than your favorite team. But we already knew that, so it doesn't count.

1. The Tampa Bay Bucs might not be as good as their 3-1 record. But wait, you say, they won AT carolina. Yeah but Carolina stinks (They've only beaten the Rams and the Falcons, two of the worst teams in the league). And look who the Bucs have beaten. The Saints, Rams, and Panthers. Hardly quality wins. I cant believe that one of these teams: the Bucs, Saints, Panthers, and Falcons, will be in the playoffs this year. Mediocre is a compliment to any team in the NFC South. That being said, the Bucs have a chance to knock off the banged-up Colts this weekend. The NFL is crazy like that.

2. Speaking of overrated teams, the Chargers are not very good. They're just not. Coaching matters. And while we're here, the Saints, Eagles, and Bears, all supposed NFC Contenders this year, might miss the playoffs. Packers and Cowboys in the NFC Championship game this year? Yeah, most likely.

3.In fact, while everyone is buzzing about the Patriots possibly going 16-0, don't sleep on the cowboys. Next week the Pats and Cowboys play each other, and while the Pats will be favored, the Cowboys should keep it close. If they can somehow beat the Pats (and assuming they beat the Bills this week), look at the 10 games left on their schedule: home for MIN, WAS, NYJ, GB, and PHI ... on the road against PHI, NYG, DET, CAR, and WAS. I'm not saying that's a walk in the park, but in how many of those games will the Cowboys NOT be favored? The cowboys going undefeated? I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

4. There's only 4 teams this year who have not given up more than 20 points in a game. can you guess 3 of the 4? I'll tell you the answers in a second.

5. Look out for those Chiefs, they might sneak into the playoffs. They're 2-2 with 7 home games left at Arrowhead. Their defense is playing well. They have winnable road games on their schedule against Oakland, Detroit, and the Jets. If they win 5 of 7 at home and 2 of those 3 road games, they could sneak into the playoffs, and even contend for their division, at 9-7.

Bonus: The 4 teams who have yet to give up 21 or more points: Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, New England, and Kansas City.

Angle(s) of the Week

There's a few teams playing for their season on Sunday, even though we're only in Week 5.

If the Bears lose to Green Bay in Lambeau on Sunday night, they will be 1-4 and 4 games behind the Packers. While the rest of their schedule isn't very frightening, their QB situation is (not to mention their banged up defense as well).

If the Chargers lose to the Broncos in Denver, they'll be 1-4 and in a whole heap of trouble. The division is still wide open, so to say they'd be done would be exaggerating things. But 1-4 sucks. Especially when you were 14-2 last year. Mar-ty, Mar-ty, Mar-ty...

A loss to the Panthers will put the Saints at 0-4. Isnt it weird how this season for the Saints is EXACTLY the opposite of last year. Last year we thought they would suck wind, and they were amazing. This year, we thought they would be amazing, and they suck wind. It's like those warp zones in Super Mario Brothers that took you to level 8 from level 5-2, only completely different.

This has Nothing to Do with Football

An open letter to anyone who uses a public bathroom,

If you find yourself in a stall taking care of business and there's someone in the adjacent stall also taking care of business, let's make sure we don't see each other afterwards. Is that too much to ask?

Once you hear me starting to wrap things up (the whirring of the TP roll, the flush, the zip and buckle) you need to hang out for a minute so that i can go wash my hands and get out of there.

Once I'm all clear, then you can make your exit. I promise if you start the wrap-up first, I'll do the same for you.

There's nothing worse than starting to wrap things up and then hearing the guy in the next stall doing the same thing. What is he trying to do, go for a simultaneous exit? Does he want a high-five at the sink? I don't want to have to make eye contact with the person responsible for the sounds i was just hearing.

In the public bathroom, anonymity is king. So please, let's take turns making our getaways and avoid all possible interactions.

Thanks,
The Schnoz

Fantasy is the New Reality

Every week I give you 3 fantasy players that I think will outperform their peers (using my ESPN League's scoring system). This week we're taking a break from that so that i can make an announcement.

After going 4-0 in my 4 fantasy leagues in Week 1, I have lost every single game. I am 1-3 in each league, for a total record of 4-12. At least I'm consistent.


No Ticket, No Problem

If your wife thinks the Sunday Ticket is something you get at the movies on the weekend, here's what you'll be watching on sunday.

CBS - The Big Eye has a doubleheader this week. The early games are scattered all over the country, with only the JAX@KC game being televised without HD. 90% of the country will see SD@DEN in the late game slot.

FOX - Your lone FOX game will probably be an early start. The only folks getting a late game on FOX (TB@IND) are folks in florida, indiana, new england, and new mexico. New Mexico? how do they decide these things?

If you'd like to take a peak at the NFL coverage map with your own soul windows, be my guest.

Household Chore to Ignore

Each week I'll be helping you find something around the house that you should feel guilty about not doing because you're watching football.

This weekend my wife is out of town, so I don't even have to pretend that I'm thinking about doing housework. I'll be too busy chasing my kids around. If you're wife isn't out of town, you're on your own coming up with a chore to ignore. Feel free to post in the comments if you have any good ones.

Upset Specials

Each week I'll pick an underdog that i think can win its game outright.

Last Week's pick: OAK over MIA (WIN!)
Record for the Year: 3-1

This week I'm taking the Panthers to beat the Saints, despite New Orleans being favored by a field goal. Why are the Saints favored in this game? Are they due because they havent won yet? What if they really are that bad?

Pop Quiz hotshot: Who's the only team in the NFL without a sack this year? Answer: the Saints. Give me David Carr and the Panthers to pull off the upset.

Mascot Wars

Let's break down some of the great match ups between mascots this week:

Dallas Cowboys @ Buffalo Bills - What exactly is a Bill? is it a buffalo? Why do the Bills have a buffalo on their helmet, is it for the city or for the mascot? Could they call themselves the Buffalo buffaloes? My head is spinning. Oh and wasn't Buffalo Bill a person too? wasn't he a cowboy actually? This game will end in a draw, it will be a shootout, and there will be no winners.

Conspiracy Theory of the Week

This week's conspiracy theory of the week is the "all you can eat"” special.

How foolish is this concept? Pay one price, eat as much as you like.

The very idea itself automatically makes you want to stuff your face. People who opt for the all you can eat special have on thing in mind: getting there money's worth. After all, the more you eat, the better your value.

So now we have 340-pound teenagers waddling out of Ponderosa saying, "Hey Bill, do you realize I ate so many chicken legs that they only cost me a penny each?" Unfortunately, the next time that guy sees a penny (or a chicken leg) on the ground, he won't be able to bend over and pick it up.

If I was king of the world I would immediately outlaw the "all you can eat" special. My motto would be "A portion for every meal". In fact, I would make the phrase "All you can eat" a cuss word. It would be the equivalent of saying "Screw You!" to someone (or it's R-rated equivalent).

Someone would cut you off in traffic and you’d scream out the window at them, "Hey buddy, All You Can Eat!" He’d yell back "Bottomless Fries, you Jerk!".

That's the kind of world I want to live in.

If Betting were Legal

Last Week: 11-3
Year to Date: 32-30

Last week i kicked tuckus and took names. 11-3 against the spread was good enough to win the week in my 35-person picks league that I'm in. Feels good to know that i can still pull crap like that out of thin air when i need to. Two solid weeks in a row? I doubt it. Here's my picks...

My picks for Week 5 (your spreads may vary):

KC(+2.5), DET(+3.5), NE(-16.5), CAR(+2.5), NYJ(+3.5), ARI(-3.5), SEA(+6.5), ATL(+8.5), MIA(+5.5), TB(+10.5), SF(+3.5), DEN(-2.5), GB(-3.5), DAL(-10.5)

Final Word

I love the Boston Red Sox. I was born in raised in Massachusetts, and i have lived through some (though not all) of the disappointments of years past. 2004 was an amazing experience. So amazing, in fact, that i am hoping the Phillies, Cubs, or Indians win the World Series if my Sox don't. Such a great feeling to watch your team win it all.

Do i want to see the Red Sox go through the yankees to get to the world series (assuming we beat the angels)? Not necessarily. I'm ok with going through whoever is in our way. Those yankee games take years off my life.

If I'm a bit distracted over the next week or two, you can blame it on the playoff baseball. I love it like I love italian sausage and birthday presents.

Go Sox.

-The Schnoz

This is the Leader of a Nation

You may say I live a sad existence, that I could never believe in true peace between warring nations and I believe the worst about everyone I see.

But let's be serious: isn't this picture of Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun hilarious?

Peace. That's all that matters to you, isn't it, Kim? I can see it in your eyes.

If you want some laughs, check out Kim Jong Il's wikipedia page. Here's a particularly awesome excerpt:

Kim Jong-il's official biography states that he was born atop Baekdu Mountain (백두산) at 6 o'clock in the morning in northern Korea on February 16, 1942. The official biography also holds that his birth at Baekdu Mountain was foretold by a swallow, and heralded by the appearance of a double rainbow over the mountain and a new star in the heavens.[1]

However, Soviet records show he was born in the village of Vyatskoye, near Khabarovsk, where his father, Kim Il-sung, commanded the 1st Battalion of the Soviet 88th Brigade, made up of Chinese and Korean exiles. Kim Il-sung, under extreme pressure and overwhelming fire from Japanese forces, retreated from Korea into the USSR.[2]

My birth was foretold by a swallow, but you don't see me bragging about it.

3.10.07

Don't worry! This isn't about sports!!!

Okay, I guess it is.

I can't ignore the fact my Cubs are back in the playoffs. I can't. I tried.

Look, I won't profess to be the biggest Cubs fan out there. I'm not from Chicago. I've never been to Wrigley (the closest I've been is the quagmire that is O'Hare Airport). But for 20 years I've rooted for the Cubs, and my summers in the late 80's were likely spent rooted in front of the television with WGN beaming its Cubs goodness across five states and directly into my eyeballs.

Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, Andre Dawson, a young Greg Maddux. These were the guys I adored and patterned my doomed Little League play after (note to little leaguers: don't emulate your baseball cards if you really want to be good).

But no one...no one...captured my imagination like the cannon-armed Shawon Dunston. He remains my favorite baseball player to this day, and he's 416th on the all-time home run list. Take that, Candy Maldanado!

Anyway, the Cubs are back. I don't know if I've watched a full game since this happened...

...and maybe this team, with it's mercurial manager and high-priced salaries isn't the same as the plucky Cubs of yesteryear, but I'm still on board. If it happened for the Cardinals and Sox (both of them!), it can happen to my Cubbies.

Or maybe that damned curse is real, and this is how it all turns out.

2.10.07

I Just Needed That One Thing...


Today should not have been a good day. Both my fantasy football teams lost. The Ducks lost on Saturday, and I'm still reeling. I had to work, and then I had to work even more because our manager didn't schedule enough people. The weather was intermittently laser beam sunshine and rain like the city was on fire, which is about the worst kind of weather, because you can't rely on either one.

But today was a good day.

Early this morning, Jonny Greenwood announced the date for Radiohead's new album. And that date is 10 days from now.

A record company would never be able to do this, because they have to have months and months of marketing strategies laid out. Fortunately, Radiohead doesn't have a record label anymore, so they don't give a crap. What's more? You can pre-order their album for download, and you can pay whatever you want.

Whatever you want.

I paid 5 pounds, which is around $12 because of a weak-ass dollar. If I really thought about it, I would've paid far more.

Radiohead detractors claim Radiohead fans would buy a record of Thom Yorke farting in to a paper bag. I always wonder if the next album will be the one, because I'd probably buy it, but I wouldn't listen to it all that much.

For a moment, though, let's take the time to look at what this means to the record industry.

First, such an audacious move (ignoring major labels, depending on internet sales) could only be automatically successful for a major band like Radiohead. Most musicians rely heavily on big box stores for circulation, and we're still at a point where not everyone has a computer. Of course, most of Radiohead's fans probably have computers, and they'll conceivably be receiving 100% of the sales. When you consider a major label would likely take at least 70% of an album's sales (Those numbers are just conjecture, but I do know in the book world, the publisher is more likely to receive 85%-90%), the numbers are astounding. Radiohead could sell half the number of albums and still make a lot more money.

But, of course, there's no set price. You can pay what you like.

Granted, Radiohead has the luxury. They've got a huge following.

But think of the bands who could accomplish something similar...there are a lot of them.

Since "The Bends", Radiohead has changed music, and now they've gone one step further in changing the industry for good. Today was an historic day.

But all that aside, I can't wait for 10 days from now.