After 17 seasons as a Major League baseball player and nearly one year as the inspiration for a blog, Marquis Grissom retired from the game of baseball on Tuesday. He will be sorely missed, but at least he might have more free time with which to Google himself and find this blog. If you read this Marquis, don't hesitate to contact me.
"I'm at peace with myself. I'm happy," Grissom said. "I feel like the whole world has been lifted off my shoulders."
Oddly enough, this is exactly what I said when I started this blog. I was ecstatic that I could tell a medium-sized group of people anything I wanted to about my life or the world at large without having to call all of them.
Friday, March 31, 2006
After 17 seasons as a Major League baseball player and nearly one year as the inspiration for a blog, Marquis Grissom retired from the game of baseball on Tuesday. He will be sorely missed, but at least he might have more free time with which to Google himself and find this blog. If you read this Marquis, don't hesitate to contact me.
Remember that big book with all those cool drawings of the insides of cars and light bulbs? Throw it out. I am going to tell you right now the real way things work.
You: Rich, how does an elevator work?
Me: You step inside, hit a button, and it takes you to the floor you want to go to. Sometimes it stops at other floors along the way because other people hit buttons too.
You: Rich, how does an airplane work?
Me: You pay JetBlue $300, you go to JFK airport, and 6 hours later you are in Los Angeles.
You: Rich, how does buying toilet paper work?
Me: You run out of it, so you finish wiping with a tissue. Then you say, "Mom, we're out of toilet paper." Next time you go to the bathroom, there is a new roll on the rack.
Posted by Rich at 10:54 AM
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Despite featuring some of the brightest minds in America, NASA is wasting billions of dollars on silly projects. What about helping the people on Earth?
Posted by Rich at 5:45 PM
Abdner Ashman. What does that name mean to you? Probably not much, although you might be wondering if his name is actually Abner. Well, make sure you call him Abdner and you marvel at his incredible Ms. Pac-Man skills. I learned a lot from the account of his record-breaking performance written by Robert Mruczek and you can too. Most interesting tidbits:
Through the first sixteen stages, when "Ms Pacman" eats an energizer dot, the ghosts turn blue for a short period of time, during which "Ms Pacman" can eat the ghosts for some big points. As the boards increase, the time that these ghosts turn blue and are vulnerable to being eaten decreases to about one second. During board 17 they do not turn blue at all, while in board 18 they turn blue (albeit briefly) one final time before they never turn blue again.
The Path to Victory
Boards 26 thru 53 inclusive - Some of the worst fruit distribution luck imagineable. Abdner receives only three (3) banana fruits out of 56 fruits for these 28 stages. Even Abdner was heard saying "Come ON !!"at some point, expressing his personal annoyance at this run of bad luck.
The Million Point Dream
The last frontier on this title is "fruit manipulation", a concept that may be a pipe dream, or which may very well be the key to a "Holy Grail" of video gaming...attaining a score of 1 million points on "Ms Pacman".
Experts have contended that if everything goes right, and the fruit distribution is about as perfect as they can expect, then they envision a possible score of maybe 1.003 million points as being possible under normal conditions on classic "Ms Pacman". And if you think that all it will take is just a few more bananas, think again. In twenty three years, only two (2) scores of over 920,000 points have been logged on the classic version of the title, separated by barely 1,000 points.
Like sporting event records...fastest 100M, highest high jump, longest home run...eventually the world records on all video games reach a point where competitors sit back and marvel at just how much effort had to go into setting such a score. Can the effort be duplicated ? Can they themselves pick up the skillset and challenge the world's best scores?
My own thoughts:
This brilliant site also lists high scores for all games. It turns out that I could get on this Tetris list! As my family can verify, I once got 211 lines in a game. And I could easily get over 160.
Posted by Rich at 2:25 PM
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Kobe Bryant has said, "I wouldn't mind being Jewish. I wouldn't mind. Really." I think it's a great idea for Kobe to convert. Particularly from a marketing perspective. First, he would have a Bar Mitzvah, then he would get roasted by the Friar's Club, and finally his mother would start telling him to eat more and start kvetching about Lamar Odom.
Baseball is back! Well, soon enough. In the meantime, read about how baseball actually DOES have competitive balance.
Posted by Rich at 11:50 AM
Here's what Mark Cuban and the people who comment on his blog have to say. I am also adding Cuban's blog to the links!
Posted by Rich at 11:13 AM
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Someone in the office kindly brought donuts and danishes and other "cakes" into work this morning. But since the goodies are situated near my desk, I get all the credit as if they are mine. When I allowed a guy from the mail room to have a cruller earlier, he couldn't have been happier.
Posted by Rich at 3:23 PM
This milestone will be reached tomorrow probably. I'd like to thank myself for writing so many posts to make this all possible. I'd also like to thank my few loyal readers of course, but again, especially myself. I often check the blog even when I know that nothing new has been written because I am the only contributor and I get all comments e-mailed to me.
Posted by Rich at 2:00 PM
Monday, March 27, 2006
I stand by what I wrote earlier about South Park surpassing The Simpsons these days. That said, I would also like to say that The Simpsons has improved itself this season, with the last three episodes all being ranging from fairly funny to very funny.
The episode "The Seemingly Never-Ending Story" was particularly clever and well-crafted. I also enjoyed last night's episode, "Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife" written by the amazing Ricky Gervais. Of special note was the live-action version of the opening credit sequence.
Posted by Rich at 4:17 PM
Jacques Chirac really doesn't like the English language.
Imagine what Bush was thinking:
"When President Chirac had a one-to-one dinner last year with President Bush, he insisted on speaking his mother tongue the whole time, even though the US President could understand him only through an interpreter."
Posted by Rich at 10:50 AM
Sunday, March 26, 2006
There has been a debate raging among my friends recently about who is a better player: Steve Nash or Dwyane Wade? Essentially, if you were starting a team from scratch, whom would you rather have? Here's what I have written on the subject:
Valid points Mr. Arboze, I am beginning to see some logic. However, the fact remains that with a much worse supporting cast in the tougher conference, Nash's team has a better record than Wade's (regardless of system - and Riley ain't a bad coach). I also didn't love your point about Nash with the Mavs because I think he is a better player now than he was with the Mavs. Your initial argument was "who would you take in one season right now?" All this being said, I want you to know that I am not at all biased because Wade is one of my favorite players and I have debates with Lapidus all the time because he thinks Wade is overrated.
Second, here's what I would say about Nash on the Mavs vs. on the Suns. It is generally accepted that a player's basketball-playing prime is somewhere from around 27-30 years old. Nash is now 32 years old. Is it possible that he has become a much better player? Sure, of course. It's not that ridiculous to think. But is it more likely that he is at a similarly high skill level, but playing in an offense that takes much better advantage of his vast skills? I certainly tend to think so. It seems like a much more logical conclusion to me.
I know that this is a long post, but if you have gotten this far, what do you think?
Posted by Rich at 6:54 PM
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Friday, March 24, 2006
In response to Finnegan and Alex (I wrote this a couple of years ago, but it is still essentially true):
Get thee to a Television!
“Whatever, I do what I want!” No, those are not the words of an 800-pound gorilla, although I do wonder how much Eric Cartman actually weighs. The big-boned fourth grader is the speaker in this case, but his words are really the rallying cry for the show in which he stars, Comedy Central’s brilliant animated comedy
The most amazing thing is that
The best thing about the show, whose four stars are a group of fourth-graders in the small town of
Much like The Simpsons,
South Park may be crude on the surface, both in animation and in language, but this roughness around the edges actually belies the sharp and intelligent writing.
Posted by Rich at 6:16 PM
Observations from Slate: A look at Annoying White Guys; a bit about how mid-majors are mostly majors without the talent, meaning they have the same lack of "student-athletes," written by former YDN editor-in-chief Jacob Leibenluft.
Observations from Rich: As amazing as MMOD is (for awhile I was watching both the Gonzaga-UCLA game and the West Virginia-Texas games at the same time), I noticed that there is a delay of around 40 seconds vs. the TV feed (which is delayed itself by at least 5 seconds or so)! So it was sort of disconcerting to see the 61-61 with 5:40 left on my computer, while the scoreboard on the top of the TV said 63-61 with 5:03 left. Not a huge deal I guess because most people would be just watching on their computers.
I feel terrible for Redick and Morrison, especially Morrison, as the Zags obviously should have won that game. But that's the nature of the Tourney. Of course the Gonzaga loss can't hinge on just one play, but how can Batista, a big strong guy, get stripped in that situation. He's gotta hold onto the ball better. And then Raivio went out of control back the other way. Tough way to go for the Zags. As for Duke, the Blue Devils picked a bad time to play their worst game of the season. They shot under 30 % for the game!! Redick forced too many shots and simply had an off night. I still think that he will be a solid pro because he will never again have to worry about the kind of defensive attention that LSU gave him. He will be an NBA role player, a gunner. It was a rough night all around as I was hoping that West Virginia and my boy Mike Gansey could do the deed against Texas, but alas it was not to be. Even with a miracle from Pittsnogle...
Lest you all think that I only like white players, I will soon be posting my arguments for Dwyane Wade's superiority over Steve Nash. You might think that is much of a debate, but my friends have been talking up Nash quite a lot over the last two days.
Posted by Rich at 12:17 PM
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
A great piece from The Onion. I find it of particular relevance to Dan, my parents, and our friend Nostradamus of course.
I have added some links to "The Bloggies." You will be familiar with Tight Toy Night and Stop Shaking the Baby from Delino and links on other blogs. Boycott the Knicks is blessed with brilliant content, but a terrible layout. But it is worth your while. Of particular note: a comparison of Isiah Thomas and Robert Mugabe. Modern Demagogue is a great blog name, but I question the names of the actual contributors, Llamapus and Emophor. Oh well. At least you can read long rants about anything and everything there.
Posted by Rich at 12:51 PM
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
So quit saying that the NCAA tournament costs businesses $3.8 billion.
Posted by Rich at 12:48 PM
Michael Schiavo speaks out.
Asked why he stayed technically married to Terri even though he was openly living with Jodi before his wife died, Schiavo said, "Why [did] I have to divorce Terri?
"Terri wasn't like a football . . . an inanimate object you pass back and forth. She was my wife. You mean, because your wife gets sick, do you give her back?"
Posted by Rich at 12:20 PM
Monday, March 20, 2006
...is inferior to Hale and Hearty in every single way. I made the mistake of trying the Au Bon Pain New England Clam Chowder from the dining hall last week. Too creamy! No one in New York should ever go to Au Bon Pain. Hale and Hearty is everywhere these days and serves far superior food.
Posted by Rich at 1:34 PM
Take a look at this analysis of the NCAA tournament selection controversy. As usual, it shows that Billy Packer is an idiot.
Oh, and if you want to become a ninja? It's not so easy.
More good basketball analysis. This time it is about the NBA and the significance of "Extreme Individual Performances" on wins and losses.
Somewhat obvious, but true.
Posted by Rich at 12:46 PM
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Some light stuff for the evening. One of mine and Dan's favorite topics: Scientology. I think that it is funny that everything in this "religion" has an acronym-style abbreviation (even L. Ron Hubbard is LRH...and an incredible fraud). Also, have you seen that thanks to Tom Cruise, we may never see the incredible South Park scientology episode again? Hopefully this article won't be pulled from the internet.
Scientology -- the term means "the study of truth," in the words of its founder and spiritual messiah, the late science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard -- calls itself "the world's fastest-growing religion."
Critics of the church point out that Scientology, unique among religions, withholds key aspects of its central theology from all but its most exalted followers. To those in the mainstream, this would be akin to the Catholic Church refusing to tell all but a select number of the faithful that Jesus Christ died for their sins.
Church officials boast that Scientology has grown more in the past five years than in the previous fifty. Some evidence, however, suggests otherwise.
Scientology releases no information about its membership or its finances. Nor does it welcome analysis of its writings or practices. The church has a storied reputation for squelching its critics through litigation, and according to some reports, intimidation (a trait that may explain why the creators of South Park jokingly attributed every credit on its November 2005 sendup of Scientology to the fictional John and Jane Smith; Paramount, reportedly under pressure, has agreed not to rerun the episode here or to air it in England).
"We're not playing some minor game in Scientology," Hubbard wrote in a policy paper titled "Keeping Scientology Working," which is required reading for every member. "The whole agonized future of this planet, every man, woman and child on it, and your own destiny for the next endless trillions of years depend on what you do here and now with and in Scientology. This is a deadly serious activity."
Both of Natalie's parents are Clear, she says. Her grandmother is what's called an "Operating Thetan," or "OT." So is Tom Cruise, who is near the top of Scientology's Bridge, at a level known as OT VII. OTs are Scientology's elite -- enlightened beings who are said to have total "control" over themselves and their environment. OTs can allegedly move inanimate objects with their minds, leave their bodies at will and telepathically communicate with, and control the behavior of, both animals and human beings. At the highest levels, they are allegedly liberated from the physical universe, to the point where they can psychically control what Scientologists call MEST: Matter, Energy, Space and Time.
The brain, Rurik says, has absolutely no bearing on our thoughts or feelings. Nor, he adds, does the mind -- its chief function is to serve as a memory bank of all we've experienced in trillions of years of lifetimes. Indeed, Scientology holds that the entire field of neurological and mental-health research -- from Freud to the study of brain chemistry -- is pseudoscience. In Scientology's overview text, What Is Scientology?, psychiatry is described as a "hodgepodge of unproven theories that have never produced any result -- except an ability to make the unmanageable and mutinous more docile and quiet, and turn the troubled into apathetic souls beyond the point of caring." (Note: I like that Scientologists dislike psychiatry.)
Scientology has been extremely effective at attacking its defectors, often destroying their credibility entirely, a policy that observers call "dead agenting." Some of the church's highest-profile critics say they have been on the receiving end of this policy. In the past six years, Tory Christman claims, the church has spread lies about her on the Internet, filed suit against her for violating an injunction for picketing on church property and attempted to get her fired from her job. Rinder dismisses Christman as a "wacko" and says her allegations are "absolute bullshit."
Discussion, as some academics like Kent note, isn't encouraged in Scientology, nor in Scientology-oriented schools. It is seen as running counter to the teachings of Scientology, which are absolute. Thus, debate is relegated to those in the world of "Wogs" -- what Scientologists call non-Scientologists. Or, as Hubbard described them, "common, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, garden-variety humanoid[s]."
"Scientology has a plausible explanation for everything they do -- that's the genius of it," says Sara. "But make no mistakes: Scientology is brainwashing."
and so on and so forth...
Posted by Rich at 9:15 PM
Friday, March 17, 2006
Obvious but true that March Madness on Demand is brilliant (although I don't understand why there is no live scoreboard in the interface). I especially like the "Boss Button" that immediately puts up a random spreadsheet on the screen. Imagine if you had this in life. Right before you were caught doing something wrong, you could just press a button and be safe. Sort of like the dark side of the Staples easy button.
Example: A husband looking at internet pornography becomes a husband looking at Tiffany's jewelry for his wife at the click of a button. (Maybe that's a bad example, that already exists with Alt-Tab.)
Another example: You are about to walk into Subway for a sandwich. You hit the button and it looks like you are going to walk into somewhere that doesn't smell terrible.
Posted by Rich at 4:25 PM
I just registered Marquis over at NYC Bloggers, where I found this little gem. Rather, I stumbled on this blog, and upon reading the description, I suspected that I might have started it with Dan late one night without remembering it. Apparently not.
Also, this amazes me, but I feel like people at work complain way less about being too tired than people did in college. I might think this because I don't really talk to people at work.
Posted by Rich at 10:31 AM
Thursday, March 16, 2006
My first NCAA tourney in an office setting. Going pretty well so far as I was able to watch the end of regulation and both overtimes of the only exciting game (Pacific-Boston College). I also caught portions of the other games. Good job Wisconsin-Milwaukee! Oklahoma was garbage. It's funny when people randomly yell things out and you know it's because they are following the tourney on their computers.
Also, I have noticed once again the office obsession with any free food. There is a huge box of Snickers on top of a file cabinet near my desk. Everyone who walks by comments, "Wow, Snickers!" or something to that effect. I even fell prey to the siren song of the Snickers. The box is quickly emptying itself out.
Posted by Rich at 3:48 PM
A nice post about the Foer family over at the soon-to-be-live-I-have-a-sneak-preview-I-think Yale Herald blog. What Alex neglects to tell you is the story about my interaction with Josh Foer in Trumbull College:
It was the Winter of Aught-Three and I was but a callow sophomore when my residential college announced the beginning of a game called Assassins. Cognizant of the fact that I was fearful of playing alone, my roommates Nicholas and Joseph decided to play with me. We had ever so much fun shooting those little plastic darts around the common rooms and great halls of Trumbull, but when the game officially began, we became deathly serious.
After three days inside our room, we ventured forth to go to the bathroom together. No, not to use the same stall, but to provide cover for each other on the way into that safest of safe zones. Alas, it was on that fateful trek that young Nicholas met his proverbial maker. The assassin? None other than United States memory champion Joshua Foer. Foer had an impish grin on his face as he snuffed out the hopes and dreams of someone who had played the game as well he possibly could have up to that point.
Nicholas understood that he had been beaten by a better man. Foer's dedication to the game became legendary as he ultimately murdered his way to victory and the victory cigars that came with it.
(Editor's Note: This is the best that I can recall of the story. The only part that I am 100% sure about is that Josh Foer killed Nick in Trumbull College Assassins one year between 2002 and 2004.)
Posted by Rich at 3:38 PM
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
First, a fascinating interview with Matisyahu, an Hasidic Jew who makes "reggae-fueled" music that's fun for the whole family and then some.
Second, an article that explains what women are really like. Notice the Hidden Hand reference. I didn't know that you had so much influence Kingspawn:
"Ericsson said he began to suspect a "hidden hand" at work during the months following his 2004 breakup with then-fiancée Sara Osborne, when potential dates routinely refused to return his calls or e-mails. "
Third, it is a good thing that we are saving the African children.
Finally, on a different note, Jayson Stark gives some good ideas for improving the World Baseball Classic. I have enjoyed the games that I have watched so far, but it has often been tough to find them on TV. Also, I would change the tie-breaker system. The first tie breaker (after head-to-head) should be run differential, not runs allowed. Winning 12-8 should be just as good as winning 6-2.
Posted by Rich at 1:49 PM
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
This afternoon I have been reading a little bit about one of my favorite subjects: the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). I was driven to this distraction by a clever little piece of internet journalism which I found courtesy of this link description from the Sports Guy's intern:
mcsweeneys.net (Daniel M. in NC) -- The ideal fantasy baseball lineup if compiled entirely of classic Nintendo characters. I'd probably have just picked the American Dreams from "Baseball Stars" or something, but that's admittedly much lazier and less entertaining, kind of like the whole "Pistons as the Olympic team" argument.
Of course the reference to "Baseball Stars" got me excited and I decided to read more about the game I love. Wikipedia has an incredibly detailed analysis of the game. Of particular note to me was the description of the "Luck" player attribute:
Luck (?): Unknown. Luck's exact affect on the game is currently unknown. One theory is that "close calls" are awarded to the player with the higher luck. Another theory is that luck helps players get hits that sneak through the defensive holes, or get hits when the game is on-the-line. It has also been suggested that luck helps players out defensively by decreasing the chances of a bad throw. There is also the theory that luck is a bogus category that has no effect whatsoever.
Amazingly, even after 17 years, no one knows what this value actually means to a player. All I know is that if you give me Oh, Kagenu, and the rest of the Japan Robins, I'll take on anyone.
Posted by Rich at 2:17 PM
A tragic plane crash took the life of Peter Tomarken and his wife yesterday. Tomarken was the former host of the classic game show Press Your Luck and another Berger family favorite, Wipeout. Few things were more exciting to my 8-year-old mind than coming home from school to catch a re-run of this show and hearing someone yell "No whammies, no whammies, no whammies, stop!" Tomarken joins Ray Combs as another game show host who left us too early. Let us hope that a better fate awaits the Yale blogosphere's own beloved game show host, Tom.
Posted by Rich at 12:50 PM
Monday, March 13, 2006
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
Wednesday night's episode of The O'Reilly Factor featured a discussion of the two major current Yale-related news stories: the Taliban student and military recruiting in law schools. Mr. O'Reilly brought two Yale College seniors (Zvika Krieger and Andrew Bender) onto the show to talk about the issues at hand. Krieger and Bender acquitted themselves fairly well, but O'Reilly came off looking somewhat buffoonish as usual. He focused too much on discussing the law school controversy with undergrads who weren't closely connected to the issue. But that was nothing compared to his final question: "Does Yale hate America?"
The only thing worse than O'Reilly was the e-mail response to the segment. Someone complained about her son not getting into Yale Law School because of Hashemi. Hashemi has nothing to do with the law school!
Posted by Rich at 12:08 AM
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Strange, but true. You can now root on your favorite energy drink on a soccer field in the United States. Maybe the players will grow wings and fly around the field? Would that be an advantage in soccer? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But the key would be if you could hold onto the ball in the air without using your hands. That would make it a big advantage.
Posted by Rich at 4:10 PM
Inspired by Mulatto Jesus, Dan and I just watched an episode of this show and we loved it! More good reality TV. After so much wrong, there is finally so much right. I will spare you all the details of the episode (except for the fact that the mom's broken English made things much funnier), but I will tell you what happened at the end. As is customary, Jamie (the boy) was discussing his dates and his final decision. He had narrowed things down to his current girlfriend Natalie and his potential new girl, Brianna. After discussing the pros and cons of each girl, he said, "This has been really hard, but I've made my decision and I choose..." and then the DVR recording ended! Dan and I fell off the edges of our seats and then started crying. Who did he choose? Has anyone seen this episode? Can you shed some light on the situation?
(I am going to do some research, but I am really relying on the rest of the blogosphere to help me out here.)
Posted by Rich at 12:44 AM
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
A great new article here about Iraq. Although I have been preaching the importance of semi-violent behavior for years regarding my relationship with Dan.
In other news, despite doing very well myself, I was somewhat humbled by the play of an Asian pop-a-shot machine (and another man who may or may not have been homeless, but he sure knew how to bank those shots in). At least I saw how good he was before I started shooting, so I wasn't overly cocky.
Finally, I am going to Peter Luger Steak House tonight. I'll try to bring you back some Channukah gelt.
Posted by Rich at 4:48 PM
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Not much else to say about this family that walks on all fours.
Nut graf (as others might say):
"The five are all mentally retarded. Their mother and father, who are closely related are believed to have handed down a unique combination of genes which result in the behaviour."
Posted by Rich at 4:37 PM
Last night showed me that there is still hope in reality television. Specifically in the form of Deal or No Deal and Pros vs. Joes. I blogged about Deal or No Deal before I had ever seen the show. Now that I have seen it, I have enjoyed it a lot. The game itself is pretty interesting, but proper strategy is always skewed by the fact that the amounts on offer mean way too much to the people playing. But this just makes the viewing experience more fun when you watch someone turn down $150,000 because she has a 1 in 4 chance of $400,000. And then she ends up with $5 (instead of taking the deal like she should have). The people are what make the show, as the contestants are mostly hilarious. They really ham it up for the cameras and I admit that I find it a pleasure to watch (although at this point I fast-forward through a lot of the briefcase choices.
Pros vs. Joes hooked me from the beginning with the introductions of the professional athletes. I was very impressed with the quality of players willing to appear, including none other than Jerry Rice, the greatest football receiver of all-time, who is now obsessed with reality television. Other athletes on the first episode were Dennis Rodman, Matt Williams, Goldberg, and Jim McMahon. But Rice stole the show, entering the locker room sounding like "The Ladies Man," and going on to verbally and physically (on the football field) abuse the Joes. Rice has totally reinvented himself in my eyes, and I think he's been highly entertaining so far. I always equated Rice with Michael Jordan in a sense as the perfect, proper athlete who was always composed. Turns out both guys are way more interesting and more like regular people. Good. There were issues with the format of Pros vs. Joes, but overall it was an incredibly entertaining show. Although I feel that it might be better (and certainly more competitive) if average Joes faced off against top former FEMALE athletes. Food for thought and probably in the works already.
But as much as I like these new shows, nothing will ever live up to Man vs. Beast, the greatest reality show in history, and one that deserves a post in its own right. But I will wait for the third installment to write extensively about it. For now, chew on these morsels about events that took place in the two glorious episodes that were made. A 100m race between a man and a giraffe, followed by a 100m race between the same man and a zebra (Note: The man, Shawn Crawford, later became an Olympic Gold Medalist after beating the giraffe and losing to the zebra. The giraffe and zebra are still eating a lot of grass and leaves). A tug-of-war between a sumo wrestler and a female orangutan (naturally won by the orangutan). And finally, a hot dog eating contest between the legendary Japanese Takeru Kobayashi, and a Kodiak bear from Alaska. Needless to say, the show's producers made this an America vs. Japan match up and the lucky viewers watched a seemingly bored bear demolish the greatest eating machine humanity could offer.
Posted by Rich at 12:36 PM
Monday, March 06, 2006
After such an incredible celebration of Jews and gays, I figured Brokeback Mountain was even more of a lock to win at last nights Academy Awards. Whoops. I was completely shocked when Crash took home Best Picture. I was even more shocked, however, at how poorly organized the show was as a whole.
In case the producers don't realize this, the awards that people are most interested in are the major awards, especially Best Picture. Yet the telecast spent close to 30 minutes of air time on performing songs that few people have ever heard (although I was very happy that one group, the Three 6 Mafia, got to perform...incidentally they gave the best acceptance speech of the night after their deserved victory for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp"), and showing montages about film noir and epics that were purely self-congratulatory. Lauren Bacall's introduction to the film noir montage was a total nightmare for everyone involved, as she consistently stumbled through her speech. Dan even wanted to fast-forward past it because he felt so uncomfortable watching it. Then, after all that, the telecast spent about 10 minutes combined on handing out the Best Director and Best Picture awards. This would be somewhat akin to the Super Bowl spending three hours on the halftime show and then fast-forwarding through the game-winning field goal as time expired (and then going off the air before the audience could even understand what had happened). Shameful.
Jon Stewart was solid as host. He definitely got better as the night went on, and I was especially happy that he also noticed the fact that Larry McMurtry was wearing jeans. That was incredible. My favorite parts of the show were the various fake ads narrated by Stephen Colbert. Reminded me of Mr. Show. Well done there. I also thought it was funny when the guy from Tsotsi, winner of Best Foreign Language Film, read the teleprompter out loud. He said, "Time to wrap up. Ok, fine, fine." Don't give away the Academy's secrets! Although it might have helped Lauren Bacall...
Addendum: One final thing that I forgot to mention was the TERRIBLE decision to play music throughout every acceptance speech. People had to fight to be heard over the music, which was horribly distracting. They used to play music when people went on too long, not as soon as they picked up the award!
Addendum #2: From Slate: "In 2037, some media studies major will write an undergraduate thesis on the 78th Annual Academy Awards as a tipping point in 21st-century pop culture, a critical text of the iPod era, and she will get a B+."
Posted by Rich at 10:25 AM
Friday, March 03, 2006
Everyone (the three Americans following the World Baseball Classic) is talking about how unfortunate it is that the enforced low pitch counts might deprive viewers of the best possible pitching matchups in this tournament. But what if we think about this another way. Don't pitchers generally get worse later in starts? Could it be advantageous for Venezuela to have Johan Santana pitch 5 innings, Freddy Garcia 3 innings, and Francisco Rodriguez 1 inning? I don't know, but I've thought about this a lot (mostly when I am playing an exhibition in a baseball video game). It seems like an advantage to me...
Posted by Rich at 4:21 PM
I'm not sure...but I am sure that my friend Dave is.
Also, I find Gladwell's work to be extremely kindred in spirit to the done in Freakonomics. Which reflects well on both parties. Other people have probably pointed this out before, but I figured that I would say it anyway.
Finally, on a different issue, are you telling me that my buddies in Karachi can't read this blog? What a nightmare!
Posted by Rich at 3:40 PM
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Here is a legal document for the masses. When most of you think of J. Howard Marshall (better known as that old, lecherous pervert who married Anna Nicole Smith), you see him as sad, old, and pathetic. But if you read a little more about him, you realize that he was a ruthlessly successful Texas businessman who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted (including legal documents no longer than 1 or 2 pages). Which is how he ended up married to Vickie Lynn Marshall, better known as Anna Nicole Smith (amazingly he had a similar relationship with another stripper named "Lady" Diane Walker ten years earlier). Which is where this story gets even more interesting.
First of all, Vickie only had an eighth grade education. This was evident in her semi-illiteracy. She "has trouble with zeros" and until recently, wrote "25.00" to mean "$2,500." Furthermore, J. Howard later even called her "unteachable." So with a young son and few viable job options, she became a dancer at a strip club (a sad fate for a lot of poor, uneducated women, but they do make a surprisingly high amount of money). She was "lucky" enough, however, to be working the day shift when J. Howard rolled in. She danced for him, he tried to grab her breasts (this is in the document...imagine a sickly 86-year-old at a strip club feebly trying to grab a stripper's breasts...incredible stuff), and a courtship began. He lavished money and gifts on her and she was obviously happy to accept them. But it is fascinating to note that she refused his marriage proposals for three years before finally accepting! She wanted to have her own career first (meaning she wanted to pose in Playboy).
Later, when J. Howard was in the hospital, Vickie "climbed into his bed, exposed her breasts and asked [him], 'Do you miss your rosebuds?'" Six months later, he was dead. I'm not going to bore you with the rest of the money dispute details between Vickie and Pierce Marshall, but I will encourage you to read some of the document for your own amusement.
Posted by Rich at 1:40 PM
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
After watching Gregory Gaultier's brilliant upset of defending champion Anthony Ricketts in the Tournament of Champions last night at Grand Central Terminal, I turned around to see none other than Jonathon Power standing a few feet away from me.
After watching him absolutely obliterate his countryman Matthew Giuffre 11-1, 11-0, 11-1 the night before, I decided to approach the Canadian professional.
Me: Just wanted to say that I was very impressed with your play last night.
Power (smiling): Thanks so much.
Me: So, you have any tips for a mediocre squash player?
Power (chuckles, thinks about how absurd it is for me to call myself mediocre): Just make sure you always play within yourself. (Or something like that.)
What should have happened:
Me: So Jonathon, what do you think about that picture they have of you at the Yale Club? You know the one that they show people in order to make sure that they wear goggles?
Power: Um, what are you talking about?
Me: The picture where you clearly just got nailed in the face by a squash ball...why wouldn't you wear goggles when you play now?
Power: Alright, alright you got me, that was a promotional picture that Louis and I made together. I never got hit in the face. But it has you wearing goggles, right? Oh yeah, and next time you go to the YC can you ask Louis how his junk is? Tell him mine is doing great.
I also could have asked him why he has an "o" at the end of "Jonathon?" Is it a Canadian thing?
On another semi-celebrity note, Wayne Chrebet just walked by my desk with his arm in a sling.
Posted by Rich at 11:25 AM