Sunday, December 31, 2006

I Love L.A.

I've been to the Scientology Mecca.


While inside, I watched a short film about Dianetics. It felt like watching Triumph of the Will. Psychiatrists were shown performing lobotomies and doctors were shown completely ignoring the well-being of their patients. L. Ron Hubbard was treated like a deity, or like George Steinbrenner on Seinfeld, in the fact that his face could not be shown. But he did have a street named after him...


The genius of Scientology is that they make it seem like a self-help thing, before you later find out about Xenu and thetans...After the movie, a man tried to draw a diagram of the mind for us, but instead we left for Griffith Park where I got my picture taken on a hoverboard (sort of) outside that famous tunnel (paragraph 3).

Fish Food

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Harsh Critic

Location: Westfield Mall Movie Theater

Lester spotted Jon Lovitz walking in front of us as we were walking towards the theater. Naturally, I decided to speed up my pace and ended up just a foot or two behind him as he entered the lobby of the theater. Despite my proximity, however, Mr. Lovitz did NOT hold the door for me. He proceeded to the automatic kiosk and picked up his ticket before walking into Charlotte's Web alone with nary a peek behind him.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The King

Location: Hollywood Park Casino

A black man is wearing a t-shirt commemorating the life (and death) of James Brown, including his lifespan in big letters (1933-2006).
White Man: Oh, James Brown, he died, right? How old was he?
Black Man: Can't you see my t-shirt nigga?
White Man: Long live the King of Rock and Roll, eh?

Monday, December 25, 2006

My Super Sweet UGH

It's barely worth discussing, but My Super Sweet 16 is a revolting show. Except for that time where Kanye performed at this kid's party and then P Diddy talked about how he was so proud of his god son and that he taught him how to party.

What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a sick marathon of materialism? It's especially amusing that the parents (at least in the three 3 lifetime episodes I've seen) are all self-made people living the "American Dream" and then spoiling their kids rotten. Wonderful. MTV is quite a network. But hey, the market demands it...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Rock

You know what, being a prisoner in Alcatraz really didn't seem that bad. I mean you could get any reading material you wanted from the library, and you had SO much time to read! And the views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge are just lovely. And supposedly the food was pretty decent.

On my way off the boat, one of the guys gave me a very half-hearted "Welcome to the Rock." I loved it.

Merry Christmas from California, where palm trees double as Christmas trees.

Addendum: Actual Rod might find it of interest that I shared my trip to Alcatraz with the entire Southern Illinois Salukis basketball team.

Friday, December 22, 2006

In other news...

LIVE GIANT SQUID FILMED!!!! (thanks Dan)

It stopped raining

So I am on my way to Alcatraz. I really hope that someone says, "Welcome to The Rock." But first I must eat clam chowder out of a sourdough bowl and eat a Dungeness crab at Fisherman's Wharf.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'm going going...

...back back to Cali Cali. Leaving this afternoon, will be back in NYC on December 30th. Any recommendations for places to go in the San Fran/Oakland area? Also, any good places to stop on the drive from Carmel to Los Angeles?

I'm a lucky man (Holiday Edition)

At dinner tonight:

Me: Gee, I really want a gray sweater and a navy blue sweater. But I bet that the post-Christmas sales will make them much cheaper, so I might as well wait it out.
Mom: Yeah, you're right Rich, I'm sure those sales will be great.

An hour later:

Mom and Dan give me a gray sweater and a navy blue sweater respectively. But Mom had played it so cool at dinner! And Dan was simply thoughtful. Thanks guys.

I quickly started talking about the Nintendo Wii, along with some ties and shirts that I had been looking at...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dinner for Two

As part of our meal, Jen and I decided to share a Sushi Deluxe that came with 9 pieces of sushi, 1 hand roll, and 1 regular roll. But since each piece of sushi was different, the dish could not simply be divided evenly. Thus, the most equitable course of action was a Sushi Draft! Jen earned the first pick.

Jen: I'll take salmon.
Rich: Toro.
Jen: Tuna.
Rich: Eel.
(Jen eyes the Spicy Tuna hand roll, thinks for a second grabs it.)
Rich (aggressively): Whoa, whoa, I didn't think that hand roll was in play!
Jen: Are you serious?
Rich (sheepishly): Uh, yeah...I mean we can split that...it only seems fair, right?
Jen: Fine, Red Snapper.

Duck Cheney

This may be old news to some of you, but just two weeks ago, Bruce Tinsley, the creator of Mallard Fillmore, was arrested a second time for an alcohol-related incident in the past four months. Now we all hit the sauce every once in awhile, so I am not here to vilify him for that. However, after reading about the incident, I read a little more about Bruce and his creation. I had always considered Mallard to be "just another mediocre daily comic strip with little meaning beyond trying to perfect the form of the lowest common denominator joke." Well it turns out that I was wrong! Tinsley's strip is actually extremely political. Tinsley uses the comic to disseminate right-wing propaganda. Lovely, eh? Maybe Hagar the Horrible has some conservative tendencies too?

Here are some of the "best" strips from this treasure trove of cartoonish thinking (thanks Dan):

Pity Fox News and the people who need more conservative reporting

New York Times? More like New York pinko, atheist, liberal bastards!

How to beat the rap if you get caught doing something wrong in a car...

Tinsley must have forgotten to follow his own advice!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Vote Now!

It's finally time for you to vote for the best pitch for the best NFL Super Bowl commercial ever. I have been telling all of you about this contest for weeks now so please indulge me by watching some of these pitches. There are 12 in total, but you have to choose your favorite one. To go directly to voting, click here. The ones that I like best are Abe and Craig. Sadly, the "Baby Free Agent" idea didn't make the final cut.

And we also have a new game called "Playoff Bandwagon." Raiders fans might like it.

PS: I know that mine was better, but I wasn't allowed to compete. If you'd like to see what I came up, leave a comment or e-mail me.

Too compelling not to post

The 10 Most Bizarre People on Earth, and of course David Icke is one of them.

Dan, not everyone reads MR.

Great Bloggers are made, not born

Or so this article seems to say (thanks to Noah for sending it). I agree to a large extent. Although I don't think that EVERYONE has the potential to be a Chess Grandmaster or a PGA golfer, I think that a lot more people than we think have this capability. They just have to work very very hard for a very long time...

LongTimeNoSeeYoungMan

Once upon a summer, my friends and I used to frequent a mediocre Chinese restaurant in Rockefeller Center called Manchu Wok about twice a week. Every time we walked in, each of us would get a nice greeting of "Hello young man."

Flash forward 4 years to the present day when Dan and I make a triumphant return:

Woman in charge: Oh, hello, long time no see young man (spoken as it looks in the title of this post)...how are you today?
Me: Good, it's nice to be back. I'll take the combination plate with...
Woman in charge: White rice, chicken mushrooms, beef broccoli, chicken broccoli.
Me: Wow, that's amazing that you remembered my order!
Woman in charge: Of course I remember orders of all young man that come in here.
(After we start eating, a 40-year-old man starts demanding $10 in change from the woman)
40-year-old: Give me my $10 back! I paid with a $20 bill.
Woman in charge: No you didn't young man, you paid with a $10.
40-year-old: $20!
Woman in charge: $10 young man, sorry you will have to leave.
(After some more heated debate, another customer in his 40s speaks out in favor of the woman, and she says "Thank you young man." The guy finally leaves. A woman in her 50s walks up to the counter.)
Woman in charge: Hello young lady, how are you today?

Addendum:
I had never heard the second woman who works there say a word before. Dan was trying to bus his tray when he heard a cry from behind him that got his attention. Naturally, this woman's first words to us were: "YOUNG MAN!"

Saturday, December 16, 2006

News from China (and Midtown)

Thanks to Kingspawn (and Tom) for alerting me to the absolutely remarkable story of the world's tallest man, Bao Xishun, saving the lives of two dolphins by pulling pieces of plastic out of their stomachs. For his next trick, he will reach into the cabinets above my refrigerator without standing on his tippy toes...

Also, if you have a chance to visit the MoMA before March, you should definitely check out this exhibit about the construction of the new CCTV and TVCC buildings in Beijing. They are true architectural marvels. And while there you should also see the Manet exhibit about the Execution of Maximilian. I found all the different accounts and interpretations of the actual execution to be fascinating. Especially the French newspaper accounts glorifying Maximilian.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Dubious Challenge

Courtesy of Ken Jennings, I have stumbled onto a challenge that David Sklansky posted on twoplustwo.com. While I agree with him that it is not a good idea for people to be involved in organized religion, I think his challenge is pretty silly. Jennings does a pretty good job of making this case, but I will add that Sklansky's arrogance is sort of bizarre. He talks about how he wants to make this bet to prove how he's so much smarter than these ridiculous protestants, but he will not take on math professors...I thought it was all-comers if they could pass the polygraph? Further, using the SAT or GRE (even with half the time) does not make that much sense. Those questions are far too easy to prove anything about the VERY intelligent, which seems to be his main purpose, proving that no true Protestant can be very intelligent (e.g. smarter than Sklansky the genius).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

NYC Congestion

After a midday walk through midtown I am now even more in favor of congestion pricing. It is a crowded mess out there. Maybe we could apply it to people too?

Blogging the Bible

The New Yorker has a fascinating article about the Bible publishing industry. Everyone knows that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time, but did you also know that it is the best-selling book in the country EVERY YEAR?! Look at the top of the Fiction list sometime...

This story also led me to look up the "Revolve Bible." This is a Bible dressed up as teen-girl magazine. It looks like a brilliant parody, but amazingly it is real. Look for gems like this:

Q: What do you think about girls and guys praying together?
A: There are exceptions, but usually it’s pretty sketchy. I’d avoid it until you’re engaged.
(Revolve, p. 342)

Cool Idea

A real-time beer market at bars. Too bad Guinness would probably still be just as expensive.

Networking for Introverts

An interesting post. Might be helpful to read before you go to a company holiday party...

Thanks MR.

Islam is the new Communism

Another nightmare is brewing in Africa. Somalia and Ethiopia may go to war. Not surprisingly, America is tacitly(?) supporting the Ethiopians against the new Islamic government in Somalia. This government has done some very good things to clean up Mogadishu, but then again, didn't Benito Mussolini get the Italian trains to run on time? Passages like this are especially troubling:

One Islamic leader in a town north of Mogadishu recently issued an edict threatening that anyone who did not pray five times a day would be beheaded.

“It’s black and white,” said the leader, Hussein Barre Rage. “The Koran says people must pray.”

The problem here, as in Palestine is that these Islamic governments have popular support. America can't just go to every country where it doesn't like the government and force regime change. And they wonder why people hate America? There has to be a better way to approach these situations (political scientists and Actual Rod help me out here?). Finally, the worst thing is that a lot of the people in Somalia and other Islamic strongholds are probably pretty moderate, but get swept up in all this garbage because the situations are too predicated on confrontation.

“I’m not into thought control,” said Dahir Abdullahi Hirsi, a pharmacist in Mogadishu. “But I hate Ethiopians even more.”

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Join the Club

It looks like my friend Kai has quite a future as a food critic. Enjoy his excellent performance here in this episode of "What Am I Eating?" from Huge in Asia. You can also read Kai and Nate's blog here. It looks like things are going swimmingly so far in Hanoi.

Arrested Development/The Office

Seeing as I have been spending an inordinate amount of time watching these two shows, I found this little tidbit from the Arrested Development Wikipedia entry to be of interest:

The character of GOB was the most challenging to cast. When Will Arnett auditioned, he depicted the character in an interesting way, different from expectations. The casting for the role of GOB came down between two actors in the end — Will Arnett and Rainn Wilson (now appearing on the American version of The Office). Ultimately, the part went to Arnett.

Obviously Wilson's portrayal of GOB would have been vastly different, but I still can't imagine that it would have been as good as Arnett's. He's just brilliant in that role. Although something about George Michael's complete and utterly innocent awkwardness makes him my favorite character probably.

For the one of you who is curious (you know who you are), I just finished the final episode of Arrested Development and I have four episodes left to watch in season two of The Office (before I start season three). Also, I thought that the early plot in season three of AD was a little weak, but that the last few episodes were among the funniest of the series.

Fun Raffle!

If you win, you get to "hang out" with 12 prostitutes at once. EEEEEEZ NIIIIICE!!!

Anti-Monopoly

While reading the featured article on Wikipedia today about the history of Monopoly, I stumbled upon this gem, Anti-Monopoly! Instead of creating monopolies, you are supposed to destroy them:

The good guys are the small business entrepreneurs and the bad guys are the monopolists. Since players do not play by the same rules, fairness is achieved by a patented probability technique, has given each side equal chances to win.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Business

Now that I'm a Blogebrity, I better start acting like one. This means saying goodbye to old friendships and only hanging out at Gawker and other blogs that you rabble have never heard of. Dan and Delino, I hardly knew ye. It also means hiring a publicist, an agent, and a stylist (it's a good thing that I already decided to get my haircut today!). Any takers? And can you paparazzi stop hounding me already? It's really getting old. I'm not gonna do the "Beriched" look for you more than 5 times! Take a hint.

But wait, maybe I'm being too harsh, does anyone want to be part of my Entourage? That leaves the possibility for retaining three friends. Four if you count Ari.

Stunning Development!

I am officially a Blogebrity. In wonderful news, I recently became a C-List Blogebrity, on a par with such other blogging luminaries as Aaron the Truck Driver, The Hot Librarian, and Office Monkey Blog! I'd mostly like to thank myself for getting my name out there and writing the blog. But my readers have been helpful as well, with their occasional comments.

Finally, I would like to thank my brother Dan, the mastermind behind Delino, for inspiring me to blog. Next stop, The B-List! Watch out London Cokehead...

(Note: I am listed as "Rich (Not About Marquis Grissom)")

Need some assistance in a tight spot?

Maybe these guys can help Tom explain why he hasn't been blogging much lately?

Monday, December 11, 2006

You Gotta Work Blue

Or else you might get relegated to the dustbin of comedy. Just ask Aristophanes:

It's not that my material isn't strong. Come on! You don't win competitions at both the City Dionysia and the Lenea if you don't know how to work a room. Yet people only seem to like that Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey baloney. Lowest-common-denominator nonsense. You think anyone's going to remember Larry The Cable Guy in 2500 years?

Jew Update

A little while ago, Tom told me that Rod Carew wasn't really Jewish. Adam Sandler lied to us impressionable youths. BUT, do you know who really is Jewish? American Idol judge Paula Abdul! Like me, you may have always thought of her as vaguely Latino, but she's as Jewish as Woody Allen and Moses.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Good Old Days (Part 3)

This is a poem I wrote in 10th grade. I guess I was destined to go to Yale. Also, maybe I should have submitted this to the Trumbull lit mag:

"Gridiron Soldiers"

It was a cold and breezy day,
a glorious autumn afternoon,
when the leaves had changed their shade.
Two teams set out to mark each other's ruin.

The Eli and the Crimson
had met like this before,
each game a major battle
in their never-ending war.

The coaches screamed like generals,
their troops obeyed strict orders.
The Harvard men struck first,
crossing over enemy borders.

The first half came to a close,
with Harvard ahead by nine.
But the warriors from Yale returned to battle,
with vengeance on their minds.

The Elis roared back,
with a fire deep inside.
Their defense roamed the field,
with a lion's ferocious pride.

It came down to one final play,
a life or death decision.
The quarterback threw a desperate pass,
it landed with precision.

The Yale faithful stormed the field,
behind the setting sun.
Yale had won the battle,
but the war was far from done.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Only in New York

Rich, Dan, and Finnegan are walking up 3rd avenue on 21st street discussing the absurdity of the Iraq war.

Dan: It's crazy how many people have died out there.
Finnegan: Yeah, I heard in the new Lancet report...

Enter an educated, bald, goateed gay man on steroids (wearing his sweatpants from the gym).

Gay man: 500,000. 500,000 people have died in Iraq. Civilians. Sorry I just overheard you talking and I had to say something. It's crazy, only in America could we sit back and enjoy our Big Macs while this is going on. In Western Europe they wouldn't stand for it. In Hungary they'd be marching in the streets! Now you guys have a good night.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bring it on

Some Yankees fans (you know who you are) are very excited that Andy Pettitte is probably coming back to New York. The Yankees are paying him $16 million for one year with a player option for a second year, presumably at a similar price.

Personally, I am happy to see this development. The Yankees are overpaying for a pitcher who might be a little better than average. Remember, he was very mediocre last year, and that was in the National League. Furthermore, this is giving Yankee fans false hope, which will make it even more glorious when they fail to win the World Series again in 2007. Who's next, Paul O'Neil and David Cone?

Meanwhile, I hope that the Mets can sign Barry Zito because they really need a top level starter to have a good chance of winning the World Series.

Vindication

With Rex Grossman playing terribly again, I feel like I can refer you all back to what I said about him in January 2006. I told you all that he wasn't very good. Did anyone listen? Even with Trent Dilfer (2001 version), Chicago might be able to win the Super Bowl this year. With Grossman? No dice.

Another way to waste my time

Or is it really a way to spend dead time more efficiently? Or is it just plain fun?

I bought a Nintendo DS Lite recently and I love it. I've mostly been playing New Super Mario Bros. (which mostly combines the best of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World into an entirely new game). I am also considering picking up Brain Age and Big Brain Academy to keep my mind sharp. No one puzzle in either of these games is that hard, but the fun and the challenge come from trying to do the puzzles as quickly as possible.

Arguably my favorite aspect of the DS is the sleep function. Whenever I am playing Mario, I can just close the system at any juncture and the system will go into a very efficient energy-conserving sleep mode. Then, as soon as I open it back up, I will be EXACTLY where I was when I closed the system. I can just dive right back in. Brilliant!

A New Era

I finally got on Blogger Beta. It is WAY better than the old Blogger service. I highly recommend an upgrade for everyone. Thanks for making this happen Google. For more info about the benefits of upgrading, go here and here.

My favorite thing is how changes take place IMMEDIATELY.

A New Business Model?

I've always valued productivity at work more highly than attendance at work. Now it seems as if Best Buy agrees with me. Will their revolutionary plan be successful? I hope so. Although I am a little afraid of the idea of work and home blending together too much, I'd still rather take my chances with this new system.

Hat tip to Modern Demagogue.

DEconstructing a skyscraper

They are finally going to take down the Deutsche Bank building near the former WTC site. Watch the cool animation of how they plan on doing it!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bloomberg for President in '08

After reading this, I'm on board for now...Obama is my other early horse.

Finally!

An article about real football players playing fantasy football.

A new take on the BCS mess

Here's the basic argument: Ohio State has already proven itself to be better than Michigan...now if the Buckeyes prove to be better than Florida, they are the clear national champions. Michigan had its chance to beat Ohio State and failed.

It's a decent idea. I'm happier to see Florida play Ohio State instead of Michigan, but obviously, the whole system is absurd. Amazingly, the reason for it is money. But the league commissioners are SO short-sighted. How could they not think that an 8-team playoff (or something like it) would make them more money? Don't these same people sanction the cash cow that is March Madness?

The NCAA is the worst-run, most hypocritical sports organization in America. Our athletes need to be students and not miss classes (except if they play in Division I-AA or II or III or play basketball or any other sport). Our athletes cannot take ANY money, even for jobs unrelated to football (but we can make millions of dollars off of them). And the list goes on.

Finally, I used to get excited for college bowl season...not anymore! I only plan on watching the Title Game, maybe the Rose Bowl, and bits and pieces of other games. And I'm supposedly a big sports fan. Believe you me, I'd be watching a lot more of the College Football Playoffs.

Pretty similar to the way I feel

Here's Matt Yglesias on web video, YouTube, etc...:

To me, at least, this is the real moral of the story. Peer-production of digital media probably will produce a fair quantity of awesome popular stuff lurking amidst the vast pool of dreck. And well-designed services will let the awesome stuff rise to the top and the dreck fade to the background, rendering those services awesome and popular. But -- and here's the rub -- having something awesome and popular just may not prove to be especially lucrative. In the past, a popular television show or a popular album or a popular film or a popular distribution channel guaranteed you vast sums of money. In the future, that just may not be the case. The very most popular things will generate some income, enough to live off of and continue financing new projects, but not the sort of gigantic windfalls associated with 20th century media hits. And lots of other things -- including reasonably popular ones -- will only generate trivial levels of income. And they'll continue to be made. Made by people who think its fun, or who derive some benefit from their work other than direct monetary income.

African Rebels

No, not real ones. The Onion made a funny.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Better than the NFL Cafeteria?

It seems like the Google cafeteria might be just that. Check out this review.

The Good Old Days (Part 2)

My idea of a "Tall Tale" from November 8, 1993:

This is the story of how I became a multi-billionaire. It all happened one night in Las Vegas. My luck started with a nickel that I put in a slot machine. I won $1,000,000. Through the night, my luck continued, and I ended up with over $1,000,000,000 in winnings. My luckiest game was roulette where I won $400,000,000. I now own many major corporations. I also own the New York Giants and New York Knicks. I am also the richest person in the world. Before this I was just an average 10 year old boy.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A real contortionist

This octopus makes Yogi Laser look pathetic by comparison.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Good Old Days (Part 1)

From a writing assignment I did on September 17, 1993 (copied exactly as written):

One day a drug was discovered that would let you live for 300 years. The one catch was, if you took it you would become bald. I would take it and then use a hair replacement system. I think that the creators of the drug made a good discovery but they should make sure that not too many people take it.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Amusing Anecdote

Location: Smith Street (Brooklyn) at 2:20 am

Scene: An NYPD squad car pulls up outside of a clearly dark and closed Dunkin' Donuts. Two cops get out and start banging on the door saying, "Police, open up!" This persists for about 5 minutes before they drive away empty-handed.

Analysis: What looked like a potential raid against criminals was nothing of the sort. The boys just wanted a late-night snack and they were trying to use their influence to get one. They were simply unlucky that the store was really closed.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A New Chronology

An interesting theory. Not sure about its legitimacy, but the article is worth a read just for how confident the authors are. Although it's pretty troubling when most of their sources are from this guy, A.T. Fomenko.

Next up: Bid on me to review your restaurant in my guide

Check out this clever idea from Scotland where you can bid on meals at restaurants. Let's say your restaurant isn't that crowded for the prix fixe on Tuesday night. Will you accept a bid of $25 for a meal that normally costs $35? You can lock in some money or hope that someone walks in...And it's especially fun for the customer, because he/she has a chance to get a great deal! Thanks again MR.

Brawl in Mexican Congress

This is how to deal with a President that you don't like.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The $150 Laptop

A very interesting idea and an impressive accomplishment. Although these items will still have to come down in price. And they are still less relevant than clean water, stopping violence, and properly feeding people in many parts of the world that they are meant to help. I would imagine these laptops to be most useful in more stable developing countries.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Forget Total Recall

Here's a better idea of what would really happen if you were exposed to the void of outer space. Overall, this site should keep you entertained for awhile. Thanks MR.

And while you're in the mood take a look at this site about movie physics. Thanks Todd.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ads from Japan

We all know that Hollywood stars have been doing ads over there for many years. But now you can easily watch them "perform" on the internet at Japander.com. Fans of 24 will especially appreciate this pair of ads. Also, check out The Simpsons, the Governator, Sly Stallone, Steven Seagal, Michael Jackson, Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, and many more.

Hat tip to the Freakonomics blog.

I'm with this guy

Let the Juice's book/video loose!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Smile if you like E-meters!

This woman sure seems to love them:

This was the scene at the Union Square subway station last night. Regrettably, I was already late for dinner so I did not stop and test myself. I plan on doing that soon though. Scientology is very fascinating to me.

Today in the subway I found out that "By God's standard of righteousness even the most moral person is looked upon by God as a desperate sinner on his way to Hell." Thanks Family Radio! Now I know for sure that I am a terrible person. Isn't religion grand?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

More racism

This story is an oldie but a goodie. A teacher called a student a "niggah" in the classroom and got suspended for it. Seems to make sense, right? Watch the video and wait for his explanation starting around the 2 minute mark.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Timing is Everything

I turned on the TV just now and what did I see but this:



Boy, we really should have seen this Michael Richards rant coming!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hats for bats, keep bats warm

Jobu, you will not believe this, but President David Palmer is Pedro Cerrano. Amazingly, Dennis Haysbert played both characters! And in real life, he can hit a curveball...maybe...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Blogger Beta

I want it and I want it now. Please? I'm already way behind...it changed over 3 months ago!

The Death Knell for OPS

From a Rob Neyer chat today:

Ben (Chicago): Carlos Guillen OPS = .919, Derek Jeter OPS = .900

SportsNation Rob Neyer: (12:34 PM ET ) Ben, OPS was nice for a few years, and still comes in handy sometimes. But we've moved on, my friend.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bullshit

The O.J. interview better get leaked onto Bittorrent or YouTube (and thanks to the wonders of the internet, I am sure it will).

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Tailgate Fun

I love pig roasts. I was introduced to them by a kind-hearted young man in Trumbull named James. Since then, I have been hooked. And at the Yale-Princeton game tailgate, I was lucky enough to stumble on one in my drunken stupor. This one was being run by a friendly Yale Dining Services gentleman who posed for this picture with me.


Me: I just love these pig roasts, what are you cutting up there?
YDS Guy: Well, we can do lamb, chicken, beef, veal, pig, whatever you want. You find a meat, we'll cut it up. Just make sure to call up Yale Dining Services for all your meat preparation needs.
Me: Um, where can I find the jowls? That's my favorite part of the pig.
YDS Guy: You know your stuff there buddy, check out that table over there.

At this point, I proceeded to pick at the back of the pig's head with my fingers, and then a fork, until the people staring at me made me too self-conscious to continue.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Banya baby!

I visited the Russian baths in the East Village last night and I loved it. Think of the hottest place that you have ever been. Now double the heat. That might give you an idea of how hot it is in a banya. Just as an example, after spending some time in the banya, stepping into the regular 180 degree sauna felt like being outside at Christmas. The best feeling that you can get in the banya is when you dump a bucket of ice-cold water on your head and the combination of shock and relief is remarkable. Then, after spending some more time in the banya, take a dip in the ice-cold pool. Trust me, it's exhilarating.

I may sound like a maniac, and the experience was extremely intense, but by the time I left, I could not have felt more relaxed. The Russians have been doing it for hundreds of years, they must be doing something right.

Blaine is Back!

He will be suspended over Times Square starting on Tuesday. I would say that I am psyched.

Friday, November 17, 2006

No Pennies For You!

If we're lucky, this will be the case. Pennies are always so dirty. I throw some of them on the ground. Here's a discussion of the issue. Thanks MR.

My favorite line:

However, I think eliminating the penny would be a good idea even if the Mint could make pennies at zero cost.

It's all about the Friedmans

Check out what Milton had to say about spending money.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Are you a New Yorker?

Here are some things that Time Out New York says you should do to make sure that you can answer "Yes." And here's the big quiz about New York! I got robbed on some bullshit (e.g. writing "The Apollo Theater" did not count when the answer was "Apollo Theater"), but it was entertaining.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

She's got guts at least

But she is pretty stupid. I'm talking about Emily Yoffe, a woman who admits as much in this train wreck of a piece for Slate.

My favorite part comes while she is doing some simple multiplication (stuff like 638 x 6). For the record, I agree with everything she assumes her husband is thinking:

He [my husband] flipped the pages and asked, "This is hard for you?"

"Yes," I replied.

"Seriously?" he said, eyes widening. When I assured him it was, I realized I was looking at the face of a man staring into the evolutionary abyss. I could see he was regretting that he had allowed his DNA to be carried into the future merged with mine.

Don't believe the hype

Conventional wisdom says that a fat person's opinion on what constitutes good food or a good restaurant is very reliable. I say that this is ridiculous. In fact, I believe that fat people are less reliable judges of food quality because they enjoy eating so much that they indiscriminately eat terrible food, and lots of it.

"Hey blog, thanks for letting me rant. You're alright kid."

Either remarkable or a remarkable hoax

But it's definitely hilarious. The Juice is loose. Thanks Todd and Eric.

Monday, November 13, 2006

John Kerry Humor

Here's a good group of jokes referencing the long-faced one's tendency to insult people who didn't go to Yale.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

Very Topical

The Sunlight Network is trying to increase transparency in Congress. Maybe all the new Democrats will help. Maybe not. Either way, you can have some fun by making your own commercial about Congress at this web site. Read more here.

A new fun pastime

I love walking around the city and seeing storefronts that used to be Blockbuster video stores and thinking about how much better they are now as anything else. Thank you, Netflix.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Identity Theft

Someone at either The Village Voice or Saturday Night Live has been watching too much "BeRiched." Although can you ever really watch too much of such a good thing? Look at Andy Samberg on the cover of The Village Voice. The similarities to "BeRiched" are striking.

It's the little things (Part XXI)

Guess who is writing this blog post in Firefox 2.0? I'll give you a hint. It's not Kingspawn (Tom, can you PLEASE get on that for him?).

This morning I was able to finagle a complete overhaul of my computer simply by putting in a service request form for an upgrade to my Java Plug-in (thanks Steven!). Not only is my Java up-to-date, but I now have Firefox 2.0, double the RAM, and my computer was defragged. Everything about my work computer is better. I feel like a new man.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

BeRiched Finale!

You have no idea what I had to go through to get this footage. But here, finally, is the end of the 4-part saga of BeRiched. Please make sure to watch part 1, part 2, and part 3 first. Then sit back and treat yourself to the gripping conclusion.



Thank you to Tom for putting this together (and Sarah for guest-starring). Also, I could not have done this without the support of Jen (take a bow, sugar beet) and Dan. It was a collaboration of the highest order.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Voting

With Election Day fast approaching, lots of people are writing about voting. Check out this post from Marginal Revolution and make sure to read all the related links. In my mind there are some pretty good arguments about the "Myth of the Rational Voter" and the idea that maybe not everyone should vote (if you're not very well-informed, etc...)

All this said, I plan on voting tomorrow. And I hope that I don't randomly influence a close race in the wrong direction...

Hitting Close to Home

Turns out that I'm not the only one who has had some troubles on the NYC subway...

(Hat tip to Susanna)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Marathon

I was lucky enough to attend a great party with a sick view of the NYC Marathon. These are my pictures. You like?


Friday, November 03, 2006

Quote of the Day

“A really smart person will come up with what you would come up with,” Murphy answered, “only faster. A genius will come up with something that you would never come up with, no matter how long you worked on it.”

From this profile of "genius" economist Kevin Murphy.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Best Sentence of the Day

"He makes the startling claim that gains in health are the worst thing we can bring to modern Africa."

From Tyler Cowen's discussion of Professor Gregory Clark's new manuscript, A Farewell to Alms.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NFL Cafeteria Fun

Halloween fun that is! Check out some menu items from October 31:

Goblin Mushroom Bisque

Count Dracula Chicken Tenders

Transylvania Taqueria

Freddie Krueger Cupcakes

MySpace, ByeSpace?

Great headline from The Wall Street Journal (which is now the 2nd-highest circulation paper in the U.S.).

Nut graf:

The guerrilla marketing has driven away James Kalyn, a 30-year-old technical writer in Regina, Saskatchewan. He kept receiving friend requests from half-naked female strangers through his MySpace page. Clicking on a request usually led to a profile that turned out to be an ad for a pornography site. At first, Mr. Kalyn was excited that "these hot girls allegedly wanted to be my friend." But after looking at a few profiles, he realized: "If it's a picture of someone fairly attractive, they're probably not my friend in real life." Last spring, Mr. Kalyn killed his MySpace profile.

Some pretty good other costumes

The Berger Boys went pop culture. You liiiike?



Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Best Halloween Costume

This contest is already over. On my way home I saw a dachsund wearing a bun on either side of it with some "ketchup" on top of it. Case closed. It looked just like this in fact.

Oddly Enough

People at work are NOT wearing Halloween costumes. Just standard business dress. Nothing outlandish at all. Except for that one guy who's wearing white socks with black shoes...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Too much moving!

Moving apartments was a little stressful, but ultimately amazing!

Now I have to help some of my co-workers move offices. I have been moving tapes all morning. Furthermore, the moves will make things far less convenient for me at work. I feel like Jerry when he always breaks even in that Seinfeld episode.

In this case, a good move at home is counterbalanced by a bad move at work...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Old Man Richard

There are too many kids in the new apartment building. I feel like I'm 50 years old. Other than that and the million boxes lying around, the new apartment is amazing.

One of the best things is that 9 times out of 10 when I walk into the lobby, the elevator is there waiting with the door open! Brilliant. Also, one of our new doormen looks just like John Turturro.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Let's Get Serious

Check out this interview with Michael J. Fox. Opposing stem cell research is outrageous. This is a classic example of the simplistic political analysis available on Marquis. But seriously, how can you oppose stem cell research for anything other than scientific reasons? Those embryos are not people.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Bergers are on the move!

Finally, 6 years after we were initially supposed to move in, we are taking the plunge today. Leaving the only place I've ever called home is a little bittersweet, but almost entirely SWEET! Housewarming party for all regular blog readers (the 7 of you) once everything is unpacked in a couple weeks...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A surprise

Everyone knows that big-time college sports rips off college athletes. What I didn't know was that big-time college sports also rips off the government. Amazingly, these schools enjoy an absurd tax-exempt status for many things related to athletics. That is completely outrageous!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Now if they could only free me from work...

One of the more clever Onion articles in recent memory.

Best line (emphasis mine):

"The wedding ceremony was a farce," said Doswell, who recalled he was led out from city hall in French cuffs to an awaiting limousine.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

That's Funny

Gawker asks for submissions for worst magazine cover of the last 40 years. The one magazine cover they show (and deride) is the copy of Esquire that contains the story mentioning yours truly and the Trumbull poker game!

Meatloaf

To be honest, I've never understood the appeal of it. It is vile and disgusting. Eat some real meat. Meat Loaf the singer, on the other hand, is ok. Not my favorite, but great in Fight Club.

Firefox 2.0

Here is a review of this great new product. This is an interview with the Mozilla VP of Products. Here's how they plan on marketing it.

Please download it later today.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My First Sale (I hope...)

Just posted on craigslist! I am selling my Jordan Jammer. If you don't want to follow the link, here are the basics:

I am moving and need to sell my Jordan Jammer. This is a basketball hoop that is perfect for a young kid to have in his/her room. The height is adjustable from 5' to 7' and I will even include a ball with the purchase. The hoop is in good condition and has all original stickers, etc... A collector's item that you can use!

Also, does anyone have any interest in a lot of old baseball/football/basketball cards?

Update:

Now with picture! Also, some old shirts and video games are available...original PlayStation anyone?

Throw the whole lot out

Congress is so corrupt it's almost impossible to believe. If you don't believe me, read what Rolling Stone has to say (thanks Dan). They also have a nifty list of the 10 most corrupt members of Congress. A couple highlights:

Mr. Pork, Don Young of Alaska:

And during a debate on the right of native Alaskans to sell the sex organs of endangered animals as aphrodisiacs, Young whipped out the eighteen-inch penis bone of a walrus and brandished it like a sword on the House floor.

The Bribe Taker, William Jefferson of Louisiana:

Equally shameful were Jefferson's antics after Katrina struck: He commandeered a Coast Guard helicopter to gather personal effects from his home in New Orleans -- at a time when his constituents were literally drowning in their attics. Yet despite his unethical behavior, Jefferson is cruising to re-election.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Remember this?

Dan and I used to LOVE this show. Although for some reason we both incorrectly remembered part of the song to be "Slapshot, hockey puck, PRO STARS, PRO STARS."

Be Amazed

Be very amazed by these feats of video game magic.

Here are examples of Zelda and Mega Man 2 from YouTube.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Too Garlicky

I'm still waiting to say that at a restaurant (or at least have Dan or Tom say it...). Wouldn't it be even nicer to say while eating a $40 entree? I ate at Nick's Fishmarket in Chicago by myself in a t-shirt and shorts. Who knew that they had a $40.95 Dover Sole? I knew that they had delicious flatbread and an affordable Kobe Beef burger.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The bigger they are, the harder they fall

A devastating loss for the Mets, as everyone knows already. It's not worth saying much, but I'll write a few things. I was supremely confident all the way through that the Mets would win this series and I still can't believe that they did not. My hope is that this loss is like Boston's loss in the 2003 ALCS to Aaron "Fuckin'" Boone's home run (meaning that the Mets will come back and win the 2007 World Series). And also, I hope that the third Molina brother is now known as Yadier "Fuckin'" Molina. The entire series, I was in shock as he got hit after hit. Now that he got the biggest hit of all, I am even more shocked. He was arguably the worst everyday hitter in the Major Leagues this year.

Simply put, the Mets were fortunate to get a fantastic pitching performance from Oliver Perez, along with one of the greatest catches in history by Endy Chavez (as determined by the complicated formula of degree of difficulty x circumstance), but squandered it all because their excellent lineup put up a stinker of a game at the wrong time. Sounds like the Yankees.

If the Mets can pick up a starting pitcher or two, they should have a great chance to get to the World Series next year and maybe even win it. Gotta keep up the faith...which is tough to do at a time like this.

At least I don't have to watch the World Series too closely, but LET'S GO TIGERS!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

If it's broke, please fix it

I agree with Sanford Levinson. How can a document written in the 1780s be considered so sacred over 200 years later? Society is so impossibly different today that it's not even worth talking about. Couldn't some modern revisions (perhaps by some non-partisan scholars? definitely not by the idiots in Congress...) improve the way that the government runs this country?

For a more in-depth look at Levinson's take on the Constitution, read this review of his book.

And thanks to Matt Yglesias for pointing me to all this.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Best of Many

Watch this deleted scene from the Borat movie. You like. Here are the others.

The 51st Street Stench Corridor

Have you ever transferred from the downtown 6 train to the E/V trains (or vice versa) at 51st street and Lexington Avenue? If so, then you have traversed the most disgusting underpass in the Manhattan subway system (I can't vouch for all of the outer boroughs). This little walk of shame has even made me consider not bothering to transfer sometimes or taking an alternate route. It is a combination of vomit, doody, urine, and some special ingredient...maybe B.O.? I can't quite put my finger on the smell, can you?

Friday, October 13, 2006

It's the little things...

...that brighten up my work day. Earlier today someone wrote this about me:

"I don’t have a phone number but he’s pretty good about email."

I try to hard to respond to e-mails very promptly and I'm proud that someone finally noticed. Now if only some people at work would compliment me on my suits, shirts, and ties...

Power to the Bloggers

Check out The War of the Words!

Big Win!

The Mets opened the NLCS with a 2-0 victory tonight, highlighted by a beautiful performance by Tom Glavine and a bomb from Carlos Beltran. This was the scene at the start of the game:


After Beltran hit his home run, the place was practically shaking. It was almost as if a plane was flying overhead...

Two pseudo-game related comments:

1. It is appalling to me that in the playoffs, the Mets have decided to have an 8th inning sing along to "Sweet Caroline." Even if it is only a recent tradition, it is very well known these days that the fans at Fenway already sing this song during the 8th inning there! Why are we copying them?

2. The MTA really needs to give Metrocards RFID chips. Getting on the subway after the game was a nightmare. It might have only been a bad dream if RFID chips had been around to speed things up. Countless people (drunk, sober, and tourist) screwed up the often fickle Metrocard swipe and cost all the fans a lot of time. The current PayPass experiment is a step in the right direction, but let's hurry things along, okay?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A better way to work

We should all have more free time for blogging and reading blogs and considering good ideas like some sort of DVR for radio.

Hidden Treasure

Check out the AG's Schiavo blog.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

YAHTZEM WINS!

Most readers of this blog already know this, but I thought I should put it up here anyway (especially considering that I've written about so many near misses). Alex Jacob, our boy, finally won a big one! He is the U.S. Poker Champion, or something. Congrats buddy. Now go buy a couch.

The Way We Eat

A closer look at some things that you may or may not have considered before. Does this explain Tom's insane strategy of scraping plates clean of all leftover sauces?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

There, I said it

Leonardo DiCaprio is a great actor. Don't believe me? Go see The Departed.

Oh yeah, that guy Nicholson is not bad either.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Let's Go Mets Go

The Cardinals are garbage, even if Pujols is the best player in baseball and Carpenter is a very good pitcher. Mets to win in 5 and head to the World Series!

And I feel very lucky to not have to face the Yankees in the World Series. They would have been the most difficult match up for the Mets because of their dominant lineup (even if they didn't show it in Detroit) against the Mets' mediocre starting pitching.

I feel that Mets-Tigers or Mets-A's would both be very closely contested World Series match ups. Both AL teams have very good starting pitching, so they will provide stiff opposition to the excellent Mets lineup.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Economics 101

When I was leaving the Giants game today, I was pretty hungry because all I had eaten for lunch was a hot dog. I remembered that people sold pretzels in the parking lot after the game, so I found and approached one of these vendors with the idea of buying 2 pretzels (my friends were hungry too). I was incredulous at the asking price of $4 per pretzel outside the stadium after the game, so I decided to try and bargain with the female vendor. Just as I walked up to her cart, she nearly burned herself...

Me (establishing friendly relations): Are you ok miss?
Vendor (mid-50s disheveled woman in front of a shopping cart full of about 75 pretzels): Yeah, yeah, I'm ok, do you want a pretzel?
Me: How much will that cost?
Vendor: $4
Me: Well, what if I offer you a deal? How about I give you $6 for 2 pretzels?
Vendor: Do you not understand math? 4+4=8.
Me (not even bothering to think about how absurdly better I am at math than she is): Yes, I understand that, but since I am buying multiple pretzels I figured that I might be able to get a discount.
Vendor: Yeah, no discount.
Me: But you have a ton of pretzels to sell and the game has been over for 30 minutes. Most people are gone already, there's no way that you are gonna be able to sell all these pretzels. If you take my $6, you will still be turning a tidy profit while also offloading some dead weight merchandise.
Vendor (without hesitation): I don't have very many pretzels.

Sad to say(?), this is why she is selling pretzels out of a shopping cart for far more than they are worth after New York Giants football games. Maybe she uses one cart for an entire season? I wonder what she does during the off-season. Sells 4 Euro bottles of water on the streets of Rome?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Too Much TV...

...makes Rollen Stewart go crazy. This man has some serious issues. But I hope that too much blogging does not cause similar outlandish behavior. As long as I stay away from this stuff, I think I'll be ok though.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

New Blog

Check this puppy out. It's called Marhaban.

Also, the Mets are gonna beat the Dodgers and make the World Series, decimated pitching staff or not.

Finally, in a sick twist, Ariel found out about the terrible new anti-gaming legislation while having a good time at the world famous Carlos'n Charlies in Aruba. The same place where a certain van der Sloot was seen with a certain young blonde Southerner.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"I wanted to hear from an a-hole...

...I would have farted." Our President said that once and based on this article, it seems like he is a big fan of farting.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Caller?

This may or may not have been the guy who called me the other day. All I know is that he, like Tom, loves to rep the 305 area code.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Chopping Mall

If you have the time, check out this 1986 classic. The nut scenes to watch are when the robot kills the security guard while he is looking at Playboy centerfold, when the robot blows up a girl's head, and any time the robot asks someone for some identification.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Closings

Two restaurants were eliminated from the restaurant guide today because they closed. Goodbye to Mainland and La Maganette.

Mainland [1081 Third Ave. (bet. 63rd and 64th Sts.) 212-888-6333]
The setting is splendid. The food is high quality. The prices are insane. A nice choice for a special occasion (like Father's Day for example), as the overall quality of the restaurant was excellent. Perhaps the prices are so high because the rent is so high. Multiple restaurants have failed in the same location, but I hope that Mainland can succeed. To start, I would recommend the "Shao Leung" dumplings (essentially Shanghai soup dumplings) or the Steamed Vegetable Dumplings. For my main course, I went with half a Peking Duck and it was delicious. If the whole table wants some duck, go for the full. The Pan Roast Sea Scallops, while they tasted good, are not a good value at $25 a plate. I would say that the White Miso Glazed Escolar is a much better seafood option. On the whole, be prepared to spend a lot, but your taste buds will be well-rewarded.

La Maganette [825 Third Ave. (at 50th St.) 212-759-5677]
Solid but unspectacular standard Italian fare. I had the Rigatoni alla Vodka and it was certainly tasty, but they weren't exactly reinventing the wheel here. Prices are affordable though (at least for lunch), so it is a decent option if you are in midtown.

Friday, September 29, 2006

New Breed

Someone at the Onion has read about David Icke. Maybe on Delino? Either way, I am happy to direct my readers to this article.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blast from the Past

Check out the video for "Freestyler." I first saw it on German MTV, and I loved it!

Also, see these two Peugeot commercials. The first is just funny. The second is just cool.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Subway

Not sure if this true, but I have found it to be the case that swiping an Unlimited Metrocard is more reliable than swiping any other Metrocard. I always receive that beautiful green "Go" instead of that deflating "Please Swipe Again" or the even worse "Please Swipe Card Again At This Turnstile." Anyone else?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Malaria and Technology

An oldie but a goodie from Malcolm Gladwell about Fred Soper and his fight against malaria.

An excerpt:

Once, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, a large ammunition dump--the NiterĂ³i Arsenal--blew up. Soper, it was said, heard the explosion in his office, checked the location of the arsenal on one of his maps, verified by the master schedule that an inspector was at the dump at the time of the accident, and immediately sent condolences and a check to the widow. The next day, the inspector showed up for work, and Soper fired him on the spot--for being alive.

Also, I am very excited to go to the WIRED NextFest this weekend! So much cool technology like the Hug Shirt or Brainball. I hope that I can test some of these things out.

Penny Anti

I still don't like the penny! Read more about the penny situation here.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I love it when...

...people make fun of Blockbuster Video. A great Onion article on the subject.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

New Squash Rankings

1. Donald Rumsfeld
2. Noah
3. Tom
4. Rich
5. Dan
6. Dave

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

Just another day at the office

I look at the phone and see a number that I don't recognize with a 305 area code. Tom has the same area code in Florida.

"Hello, Richard Berger, NFL."
"Hi Richard, I just had a question. Can a team get penalized if its fans make too much noise?"
"Um, I don't think so. I think that the fans can be warned maybe, but I don't think it ever turns into a penalty."
"Really? Cause I thought it could happen in places like Seattle. You know what I mean? Anyway, I just had a bet on this. A couple hundo. No big deal."
"Yeah, who is this exactly?"
"Oh, it's Peter."
(Peter can't see the confused expression on my face)
"Ok..."
"Yeah, well I'll just call you back on Monday and we'll settle things. Thanks, talk to you later."
(Click)

As it turns out, the NFL rulebook says:

Loss of team time out(s) or five-yard penalty on the defense for excessive crowd noise.

Need to transfer large files?

Try this site! Pando.com offers free file transfers of any size for anyone. And they have that great "pan-do" attitude. Hopefully their web site will say: "As featured on award-winning blog Not About Marquis Grissom!"

Hat tip to Tom of Delino fame.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Repressing the urge for a sarcastic post title

Apparently everyone thinks he's as funny as America's original funnyman (Dan Berger) these days.

Ladies and Gentlemen...

...my graduation speaker. Watch Stephen Colbert and Eleanor Holmes Norton go at it in this wonderful installment of "Better Know A District." This is probably my favorite recurring segment of Colbert's show.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Typical Government Hypocrisy

Ok, so we can't gamble on anything sports-related. Unless it's horse racing or we live in Nevada. But at least we can "gamble" on the lottery, aka "The Poor Tax." Oh, and don't worry, gambling billions of dollars on the price of natural gas is perfectly fine as well.

What will they think of next?

Check out the latest in casket technology.

I hope I'm not the only one who finds it weird that a young girl was interested in posing inside a coffin at a football game tailgate.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Target Practice

Yes, I went to archery lanes in Queens on Wednesday night. And I even got a legit bullseye on my 8th arrow.


Of course I was only about 15 feet away. But still. Unfortunately though, I didn't get to hunt the people in the parking lot at the Jets game today. It's an interesting cross-section of the population. Let's just say that I wasn't talking to anyone about shopping for suits.

At the game, I sat near a man wearing a Pat Tillman Arizona State jersey. Tillman was a class act. This man was not. I overheard him say:

"You know what's a fun trick. Just yell 'Blackhawk' any time you see an Arab. The sucker'll just hit the deck immediately. Now that is some fun shit!"

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Simmons on Colbert

In case you didn't see Bill Simmons on The Colbert Report, check this out. His voice is a little high-pitched, but he did better than I expected after I first read about him. It's hard to compete with the brilliance of Colbert, but Simmons gave a decent understated performance.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Reading time

Begin with this article about the burgeoning field of Neuroeconomics. Makes me wish I subscribed to The New Yorker. Then again, I can get a lot of their great articles for free on the internet...

Then take a look at the website for John Hodgman's book The Areas of My Expertise. Hodgman, a YALE GRADUATE, gave a good interview last night at the UCB Theatre. And his publisher's generosity gave me a good free book. Read more about the man (he's also the PC in the PC vs. Mac commercials) in his Wikipedia entry.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ode to the Avocado

A haiku:

Beautiful green fruit.
Heart of the Turkey Av. Fill
me with your flavor.

For more about the avocado, read here.

Big News

All weekly NFL game tapes at the League Office are now available exclusively on DVD instead of VHS. This will make viewing them and carrying them around the office far easier for me. Huzzah!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

NYC Junto

A good time was had by all (even though Ariel and I didn't stay long enough) at the most recent NYC Junto event, featuring Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution (and George Mason University) fame. The Delino Krew and Ariel were the youngest people there by a lot. Victor Niederhoffer put on quite a show.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Some thoughts on terrorism

Too much hysteria. Obviously it's a terrible thing, but the U.S. fearmongering only makes the terrorists feel more like they accomplished something. For more eloquent examinations of the subject, read John Mueller and Bruce Schneier.

Football is not that complicated

This is a good article about the insane hours that NFL coaches claim to work.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Something else

If you've got some free time, check out Serf City, the New York Libertarian newspaper. Wow.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fearless Predictions

No one is gonna hold me accountable for incorrect predictions and I can shove these in your face 5 months from now if I am right.

But first, if you have a chance to look at today's USA Today sports section, check out page 8E. I wrote a bunch of NFL preview paragraphs. From the Saints-Browns game down to the Cardinals-49ers game.

Now on to the absurdity:

NFC East: 1. Giants, 2. Eagles (Wild Card), 3. Redskins, 4. Cowboys
NFC North: 1. Bears, 2. Lions, 3. Vikings, 4. Packers
NFC South: 1. Panthers, 2. Buccaneers (Wild Card), 3. Falcons, 4. Saints
NFC West: 1. Seahawks, 2. Cardinals, 3. Rams, 4. 49ers

AFC East: 1. Patriots, 2. Dolphins (Wild Card), 3. Bills, 4. Jets
AFC North: 1. Steelers, 2. Bengals (Wild Card), 3. Ravens, 4. Browns
AFC South: 1. Colts, 2. Jaguars, 3. Titans, 4. Texans
AFC West: 1. Broncos, 2. Chargers, 3. Chiefs, 4. Raiders

Super Bowl: Colts over Panthers (ugh, I just threw up in my mouth picking that obvious a choice...but I think it is the most likely scenario...which still makes it VERY unlikely)

Borat Update

The Gray Lady has an article about the Borat movie today.

The film is being screened at the Toronto Film Festival and:

Mr. Baron Cohen, who is appearing in Toronto as Borat, declined to be interviewed for this article and will be conducting interviews ahead of the film only in character.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Is this 1997?

Oh, wait, it's not. So Mark Brunell is not that good anymore. Which means that the Redskins could be in some serious trouble. The NFC East is probably the best division in the NFL now and every single team there has a very difficult schedule. I think that the Giants are the best team though, so they will win the division. More predictions to follow.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Something political

In my opinion, this is a great post by Glenn Greenwald. Don't worry though, I'm still a moderate on The Facebook.

Ah, parody

Ever hear of Michiko Kakutani? I thought not. Now, after you read that, read this article. It is excellent (thanks Eric).

For example:

I caused a lot of trouble when I characterized Zora Neale Hurston's work as "an overrated hodgepodge exalted by three generations of self-hating, guilt-ridden white men," but I got an A.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Tennis Instant Replay

A brilliant system that definitely should have implemented sooner. Baseball could learn a few things. Also, men's tennis is far more entertaining than women's tennis. The quality of play is much higher and there is way more competitive balance, except when it comes to Federer and Nadal, two players who are definitely a cut above. Watch the U.S. Open.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

He's Still Got It!

Boris is back. For those of you with short memories, I refer you to this post. Boris cut my hair for the first time in many years and I think he did an excellent job (I hope so anyway...). Emin was not there today, so this made the decision easier. What happens next time when Emin is there? We shall see, readers, we shall see. But it was good to see Boris again after all these years.

My Name a Borat

The Trailer.

Bloggin' Ain't Easy

Although I think that vacations can inspire new blog posts.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Schiavo before there was Schiavo

A 13-year-old Theresa Marie Schiavo must have been transfixed by the Karen Ann Quinlan saga. Too bad there weren't blogs and the internet back then.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fantasy Football Rules

From nfl.com. See rules 19 and 20 in particular.

Fire Drill

We recently had a fire drill at my office.

Of course everyone knew it was a drill, so there was no panic or anything and people slowly gathered in the reception area, eventually forming a semi-circle around the building's fire marshal. During this settling period, all the types of people that surface in large groups came out. My favorite (meaning least favorite) of these is the "funny guy." The one guy who just can't stop cracking jokes the entire time. Worst of all, he always makes sure that everyone can hear what he is saying. Something like:

"A fire drill? What is this, 3rd grade? Right? Come on!"

No one likes him. But once the fire marshal started speaking, even he stopped talking.

Fire Marshal: Now it's very important that each floor has a team of devoted fire safety people in order to make sure that things run smoothly in case of a real fire. So I'm just gonna check in on this floor's team.
(FM reads out the name of the Male Searcher...pause)
Man #1: He quit working here.
(FM reads out the name of the Female Searcher...pause)
Woman #1: She's not in yet today.
(FM reads out the name of the Deputy Warden)
Man #2: Oh, she's actually on maternity leave.
Fire Marshal: So you all mean to tell me that you have none of these positions filled right now? This is extremely unsafe and would make a fire on this floor much more dangerous than it has to be. I guess that we're just gonna have to fill these positions with new people right now. Can I have any volunteers please?
(DEAD SILENCE for about 1 minute before FM specifically asks people to do the jobs)

This story is a classic example of a crowd mentality. People chat amongst themselves when they can, but as soon as they are asked to volunteer for something they clam up.

Dear Ariel...

You say you can eat a ton, right? Well check out some of these foodstuffs over at SupersizedMeals.com. Thanks to Eric for the pointer.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Harvard Club

This place is everything that the Princeton Club is not. High class all the way. A very worthy counterpart to the Yale Club. And the athletic facilities are actually superior. But they don't have Louis and that has made all the difference.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Thanks, Starbury

Stephon Marbury attaches his name to some $15 shoes. A very nice gesture. Seriously. (Thanks to Eric for the pointer.)

Friday, August 25, 2006

T-Shirt Update

The Blog t-shirts are on their way to the Berger household (also big shout-outs to Nostra for ordering one himself and to Tom and Kingspawn for getting in on the Berger order).

You should all look forward to photos. The best one will be the entire Berger family wearing the t-shirts.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

And then there were 8...

Planets that is. Pluto has been officially demoted.

An analogy

I contend that David Beckham is to football (soccer) as Derek Jeter is to baseball.

Both were the most popular players on the most popular and succesful teams in their respective sports in the late 1990s. Also, both are considered to be very attractive and the ladies love them. Furthermore, while both are excellent players, they are also both somewhat overrated as to how excellent they really are. It just makes sense to me.

Both also became stars in 1996. Coincidence, I think not.

Gentrification

We need more of it. And how!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Little Richie gets his response

The Central Park response to this letter:

Dear Mr. Berger:

You are quite right about the information on the Great Lawn page on our website. I will remove the misleading sentence at the end of the first paragraph. We also have a soccer page: http://www.centralparknyc.org/activities/sports/soccer
which is perhaps more accurate and informative.

The only organized game we allow on the Great Lawn is softball, but we don't allow goals. If you want to play soccer near the Great Lawn, you can set up goals in one of the woodchipped areas around the Arthur Ross Pinetum (northwest of the Lawn). There are, of course, many woodchipped areas throughout Central Park.

Eve Rothenberg
Central Park Operations

Gee, we can soccer play in the "woodchipped areas"? How nice. At least I did make these people actually change their web site. However, the question now becomes: How do I (we?) proceed? Do I really push this thing and try to start a petition to take back the park? Maybe get written up in the New York Post...It's a possibility that I will look into. Is anyone else with me?

Another article to read

This one is about Ted Kaczynski. It is old as well, and was written by one of the co-authors of Freakonomics.

An article worth reading

It may be 2 years old now, but this article about terrorism is still relevant. So much fearmongering these days.

Monday, August 21, 2006

More on J.M. Karr and the absurdity of it all

A good look at the case from Slate.

Classic:

We know about Karr, it turns out, largely because he carried on a four-year correspondence with a University of Colorado journalism professor, Michael Tracey, who finally became "concerned" this past May and took the e-mails to authorities, who moved with some speed to make the arrest. Tracey, the producer of three documentaries on the JonBenet case, is motivated, he says, by the desire to show how overblown the coverage is: "I don't regard JonBenet's murder as an important story." He is publicizing it to demonstrate its insignificance and to illustrate what is wrong with American journalism.

Now, there's a dedicated ironist for you: He spends all this time illustrating what a trivial subject he has!

On another note, sometimes I hate poker so much that I want to do this for a living.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Take back the Park!

After being told to stop playing soccer and football yesterday on the Great Lawn, I composed this letter to the Central Park Conservancy. I encourage you all to contact them as well.

To whom it may concern:

Yesterday afternoon, I was playing a 3 on 3 soccer game in the middle of the Great Lawn when I was told to stop by an employee of the Central Park Conservancy. I was shocked, as we had been playing for about 20 minutes and there were countless other people (kids and adults) enjoying the day by playing soccer and other sports on what is probably the best and largest patch of grass in the entire Park. The Conservancy employee told us that there were no competitive games allowed on the Lawn (besides softball), but that we could just kick the ball around or throw a football around. We were outraged by this policy and stopped our game. A few minutes later, we started throwing football patterns. A second employee of the Conservancy came over and was even more forceful in telling us to stop playing. We did so. Then we started playing softball on one of the fields. Hits went to the outfield on a regular basis and were far more threatening to passersby (this is not an indictment of Great Lawn softball, merely a point to make about the relative dangers of softball and soccer on the Lawn...neither of which I think is very dangerous at all.).

I was extremely frustrated when I got home yesterday, so this morning I took a look at your website to see what your policies were about the Great Lawn. I found this on your description of the Lawn:

"During the daytime a livelier tempo dominates, as Park users enjoy eight softball fields or play soccer, basketball, and volleyball."

from http://www.centralparknyc.org/virtualpark/thegreatlawn/greatlawn

Since when did things change and why? Shouldn't people be able to enjoy the benefits of such a large and beautiful playing field? Worst of all, I saw these employees telling 10-year-old kids the very same things about not being able to play. It's no wonder that people move to the suburbs. Why is softball the only game that people can play?

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope to hear back from you soon,

Richard Berger

Spotted

A man sleeping on a bench wearing a Gangsta Football League (GFL) t-shirt. The GFL logo was the same as the NFL shield, except instead of a football at the top, there were two guns facing opposite directions.