just procrastinating

Monday, January 31, 2005

Can't Argue With That
The media can't seem to find a bad angle on the Iraqi elections, which seem to have gone swimmingly. Here's a fellow at Democratic Underground trying his best:
there were only 1.1M registered voters out of 14 million eligible voters.

That means that 67% of 1.1M voted and that puts the number at approximately 67,000 that voted, if my math is correct.

SO 67,000 OUT OF 14,000,000 ELIGIBLE VOTED!

Well, I guess we're outmatched.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

March Cliche
Since it's almost February already, I got to thinking about March. You know that saying about March, "In like a lion, out like a lamb"? I always liked that metaphor. It's certainly on target for Virginia, but not so much for Chicago. In Chicago, it's more like "in like a lion, out like jackass" and becomes more sheep-like as April progresses.

Anyway, that got me to thinking about something. You know during business meetings or training sessions occasional during introductions they will do the old: "What is your name and tell us something unique about yourself?" Most people will say something like, "I'm Tom and I coach Little League" or "I'm Mary and I like to sing in the church choir." My canned response is "I'm Dave and in my spare time I am working to develop a cliche that will be universally adopted." This usually elicits some concerned, uneasy laughter. But it's true.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Angry Kids
Did you read about these kids being arrested for "violent drawings". I took a look at these drawings and thought that they looked like the exact genre I was working in when I was that age. And this:
The special education students used pencil and red crayon to draw primitive stick figure scenes on scrap paper that showed a 10-year-old classmate being stabbed and hung, police said.
I can understand wanting to stop bullies who are intimidating kids, but 9-10 year old special ed kids being charged with felonies for drawing pictures? I'm not so sure if that's cool. Let me see a picture of the kids and I'll render a verdict.

This article was kind of sad. They don't mention exactly what it was that he did, but I bet when we find out, he won't have as many supporters:
JACKSONVILLE, Florida (AP) -- When five dozen roses didn't work, an estranged husband took out a full-page newspaper ad to ask his wife for forgiveness.

"Please believe the words in my letter, they are true and from my heart," read the ad in Tuesday's edition of The Florida Times-Union. "I can only hope you will give me the chance to prove my unending love for you. Life without you is empty and meaningless."

Larry, who declined to give his last name, sent the $17,000 apology to Marianne, his wife of 17 years. She left him almost two weeks ago, he said.

"It was a culmination of things," he told the newspaper. "But I am desperately trying to save our marriage."

Larry, who lives in Orlando, said his wife is staying with her parents near Jacksonville. But they blocked him from entering their gated community and she changed her cell phone number so he can't contact her.

A relative told him that Marianne saw the advertisement.

"She said my wife read the ad and started crying. But so far I've had no response from her," Larry said.
I hope it works out for him.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Johnny Carson
I was just thinking about Johnny Carson last week when that story about him still talking to Letterman came out. I went to IMDB and noticed that he was about 80. I thought: if you can make it to 80 having been a heavy smoker your whole life, then you done good. Oh well, not quite.

It's too bad. My Mom was a big fan, and I suppose I was too. I'll always remember Johnny Carson from the standpoint of a little kid. Early on, the Tonight Show was kind of a treat to watch, because it meant I was up past my bedtime.

Friday, January 21, 2005

New Apprentice Season
I'm getting drawn into this new Apprentice season. I like the concept: Street Smarts vs. Book Smarts. They are having one team consisting of college and grad school educated folks and another with only high school grads who have become successful. According to Trump both teams have the same IQ (not sure how they know that) and the high school team's net worth is 3x that of the more educated.

I'm interested in seeing how this will play out. I am rooting for the high school team, since I question the value of an education in business. Education has it's place, but if you are smart, inquisitive and learn at work, do you really need to spend all that time in the classroom? I know it is required for many jobs, but why?

In this episode, Trump had the teams market and sell an new sandwich at Burger King. I have some experience here, having spent a month in 1987 working behind the counter for $3.35 an hour. Anyway, the high school team (Net Worth) ended up putting together a much better marketing plan and won. The college team (Magna)had Todd as project manager, and a goofy marketing guy, Danny, who should have been fired. But this is TV and they'll need him around for a few more weeks to keep things lively, so they fired Todd.

I thought I was too old to be on the Apprentice, but this cast has some people that need to be thinking about retirement planning, not being an apprentice.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Cheer Up, Dems
I read this in a comment here by someone named Oyster:
The tsunami is said to have altered the earth's rotation slightly, shaving a few fractions of a second off the coming years. Therefore, the next Bush term will be slightly shorter than the first...
Always gotta look on the bright side. And think, you still get four more years of lower taxes.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

We Can Rebuild Him
I see on my Survival calendar that 31 years ago yesterday "The Six Million Dollar Man" debuted on ABC. Anytime someone talks about rebuilding this or that, in my mind I hear, "We have the technology."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Large Appetite
I'm amazed by this story:
CLEARFIELD, Pa. (AP) — Kate Stelnick may weigh only 100 pounds, but her appetite is remarkable. The college student from Princeton, N.J., is the first to meet a restaurant's challenge by downing its six-pound hamburger — and five pounds of fixins' — within three hours.

Stelnick didn't eat for two days to prepare for the challenge. "I felt very full, but I was too excited that I actually ate it to notice," Stelnick said.

Stelnick, 19, made the five-hour drive to Denny's Beer Barrel Pub with two friends from The College of New Jersey on Wednesday, after they saw pictures of the monster burger, dubbed the Ye Old 96er.

Denny Leigey Jr., the owner of the bar 35 miles northwest of State College, had offered a two-pound burger for years and conceived of the six-pounder after his daughter went to college and phoned him about a bar that sold a four-pounder.

But nobody had finished the big burger in the three-hour time limit since it was introduced on Super Bowl Sunday 1998. In addition to the meat, contestants must eat one large onion, two whole tomatoes, one half head of lettuce, 1 1/2 pounds of cheese, two buns, and a cup each of mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, relish, banana peppers and some pickles.

Stelnick did it all in two hours, 54 minutes.
It's amazing what people can accomplish when they put their minds to it. Picture of the girl and burger here.

Monday, January 17, 2005

McDonald's Job
That top spot at McDonald's is turning into a killer. Last year the top guy died at a relatively young 60, and now it's the 44 year-old Charlie Bell. This CNN article takes a pretty cheap shot at him:
A charismatic leader who said he ate a McDonald's product most days, Bell was diagnosed with colorectal cancer just weeks after being named to the company's top job in April.
I'm sure it's just a coincidence.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Celebrity Sighting
I'm obviously hanging with the "in crowd" here in Charlottesville, because tonight at about 7:30PM the place to be was in the cereal isle at the Giant. That's where I was, along with Sissy Spacek and her husband. We were checking out the special on Frosted Mini-Wheats (a two for one deal). She's shorter than you'd think, and looks pretty cute for a 55-year old. She seemed nice actually, and smiled at me.

There are more than a few local celebrities that live here year round: Sissy Spacek, John Grisham, Howie Long, Tim Reid (aka Venus Flytrap of WKRP fame), Mary Chapin-Carpenter, and also Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange used to live here and occasionally are spotted. There are some others: The Dave Matthews Band was started here and they appear every now and then, and were my last brush with fame.

Exercise, Fruit, etc.
Jacob Sullum at Reason make a good point about the new Government sanctioned "diet":
Is it just me, or does the recommendation of 60 to 90 minutes a day of "moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity" in the government's new Dietary Guidelines for Americans seem even more implausible than the nine servings of fruits and vegetables the pamphlet says we should be eating every day? Mind you, this exercise is above and beyond normal activities like climbing the stairs to change a diaper or running after a toddler who has swiped the scissors from your desk. "Moderate physical activity" includes hiking, dancing, and bicycling below 10 miles per hour. "Vigorous physical activity" includes running, faster biking, and chopping wood. Aside from the sheer effort, it's just hard for me to imagine fitting an hour and a half of such activities into my daily schedule.
Originally when I heard about the 30-60-90 exercise requirement, I figured that they counted anything in the total: sitting up straight, reaching for a pencil, fast typing, standing for long periods, etc., but apparently not. I consider myself to be reasonably fit and I can probably count on one hand the number of days in my life when I have done 90 minutes of cardio straight. I usually work out 3-4 days a week consisting of 20-30 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical thingee, and 45 minutes of weights twice a week, and I feel like I am at my limit.

And what about this whole 9 servings of fruits and veggies? Come on, man. I certainly can't think of a day when I had 9 servings of fruits and vegetables, ever. If I get a glass of OJ, a banana and a salad with dinner, I'm again at my limit.

This is a stupid, pointless Slate article about Michael Jordan. I've read it twice now and I still don't get it. I think he is trying to say that Jordan was a great player and a great salesman but he left no legacy. But he doesn't really provide any evidence and I don't agree. This is obviously written by someone who doesn't care for endorsements or the Chicago Bulls.

And while we are the topic of my childhood heros, there was a Walter Payton special (Beyond the Glory: Walter Payton) on Comcast Sports Network last night that looked great, but I was at a bar and couldn't hear any of it.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Face Analyzer
I'm going to call the Face Analyzer a bust. It currently has me being of Chinese and South-East Asian descent, and the celebrity that I most resemble is the Japanese Emperor. It also thinks I am quite average. However, my wife likes it, since a 10 year old picture of her thinks she is some kind of superstar.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

New Diet?
Is this a joke?
New diet guide: Count calories and exercise: Government sees chance to change health habits

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government on Wednesday told Americans to slash their calorie intake and exercise 30 to 90 minutes a day, updating guidelines that advised people to lose weight but gave few specifics on how to do it.
Um, OK. I get a kick out of this part:
The guidelines were based on recommendations of a 13-member panel of scientists and doctors who spent nearly a year reviewing Americans' diet and health.
A 13-member panel of scientists worked for a year came up with count calories and exercise? That's f'ing brilliant man, I never would thought of that.

Brown and Busy
Sometimes I think I am busy, but I just saw the UPS guy sprint through the building with a smile on his face. Obviously not an hourly employee. Those UPS and Fex-ex guys do not have time to fuck around.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Moss Mooning
The faux mooning by Randy Moss didn't seem like that big of a deal to me. Professional? Probably not. Juvenile? Sure. But not a sign of the apocalypse. Tsunamis, flooding, mudslides and mooning? Some context from Colts coach Tony Dungy:
"I will say one thing about Moss ... probably no one in the country can appreciate what is behind that," Dungy said. "What happens — and if you play in that division, which I did for a long time, you know — when you leave the parking lot in Green Bay that's kind of a tradition their fans have. They stand next to the fence as the buses go out and they moon the buses.

"Randy has had about six or seven years of those guys mooning him as he's left after a loss and I think that was his way of saying, 'OK, appreciate the fun, you guys had your fun, here's a little shout back at you.' That's what that was all about."

Asked about it after the game, Moss said he was "just having a little fun with the boys. I hope I don't get in trouble by it, but if I do I'll take the heat."
I'm not a big fan of Randy Moss, but I'd cut him some slack on this.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Nerd Quiz
Here is a quiz. I guess I'm a "Nerd Wannabe - Not nerdy, but definitely not hip". Fair enough.

I am nerdier than 28% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Via Nanovirus, who is a complete nerd, and I'll vouch for that.

Weekend Movies
I rented a couple movies this weekend, both ending in -man. I'd been looking forward to Spiderman 2 for sometime, since Ebert said "Spider-Man 2 is the best superhero movie since the modern genre was launched with Superman" (1978). And I think he is right. I loved it. When it was over, I watched most of it again. I don't know what it is, but you really feel for that Peter Parker. That scene where he stopped the train was very moving, whatever that means. If you haven't seen this movie, stop whatever it you are doing and go get it. I might watch it again tonight.

The other movie ending in -man was Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.This one wasn't quite as good as Spiderman 2, but I still liked it. I hadn't intended to see this one because when Will Ferrell did the promotional tour for this on the Today show and whatnot, he was in character as Ron Burgundy and he wasn't really that funny. The actual character in the movie is funnier and more likeable. This movie has some hits and misses, so I'd only give it about 2 1/2 stars out of 4.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Dave Barry
Dave Barry is calling it quits, at least for the time being:
There comes a time in the life of every writer when he asks himself -- as Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Hemingway all surely asked themselves -- if he has any booger jokes left in him.

For me, that time has come. I've been trying to entertain newspaper readers since the '60s, when I wrote ''humor'' columns for the Haverford College News. I put ''humor'' in quotation marks because when I go back and read those columns today, I don't get any of the jokes. But at the time, they were a big hit with my readership, which consisted pretty much of my roommates.

After college, I got a job as a reporter at the West Chester, Pa., Daily Local News, where I was also allowed to write humor columns. I thought they were pretty good, but after my third one, an editor took me aside and told me -- this is an absolutely true quote -- ''you used to be funnier.''

That was more than 30 years ago, and since then, hardly a week has gone by during which somebody has not told me that I used to be funnier. I sometimes got discouraged, but I kept at it, year after year, the past 22 of them at The Herald. Why didn't I give up? I'll tell you why: I have no useful skills.

So this is a great job. And yet I'm quitting it, at least for now. I want to stop before I join the horde of people who think I used to be funnier. And I want to work on some other stuff.
I'd have to agree that he used to be funnier, but part of this is just that his style hasn't really changed and I think it sort of got old. I don't know how you recover from that but I do hope he comes back. BTW: The only real purpose of this post was that I was sick of looking at the picture I put up this morning.

It's my first blogiversary today. Has it really been a whole year? Christ, it feels like I've been at this thing forever. The daily hassle of trying to come up with something interesting or funny mostly for my own personal enjoyment can weigh heavily on you at times. I had intended to retire on my blogiversary. Now that everyone and their pet has a blog, I sort figured, what's the point? But I'm kinda in an "up mode" for blogging, and I decided that even if no one reads this, it's still a worthwhile endeavor, at least for now.

In some ways now I think everyone should have a blog, if only to add something to the searchable online world. Most of it is just the same redundant mundane crap, but everyone occasionally has something to say that is worthwhile. I don't know how long these words will last, but who knows? A hundred years from now someone might find something that I wrote and say, "Interesting. I too have made a New Years resolution to get new pants. We are like brothers."

Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Work Hours
Interesting article in USA Today about Gen X and Y opting to spend more time with family than at work. This article is about 10 years after Scott Hess was made famous by a Fortune magazine article on the same subject.
Work is fine — in its place. But hard-charging baby boomers have placed too high a priority on it, their kids seem to think.

Generation X and Generation Y workers, who are younger than 40, are more likely than boomers to say they put family before jobs. And that's not just because their children are younger, says Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute in New York. "There has been a real generational shift," she says.

She's comparing the institute's new survey of 2,800 employed adults with comparable surveys it did in 1992 and 1997. A 1977 Department of Labor survey fills out a picture that shows:

• Both sexes are more accepting than ever of working mothers.

• Among younger workers, "job success at any cost" has become less appealing.

• In two-parent homes, children get more time with their parents than they did 25 years ago; mothers do about as much child care as they used to, but fathers are doing more.

Nobody knows why the change is happening, but there are several possible causes, Galinsky says. "What I hear all the time from young men is that they want to be different than their fathers, who often worked long hours. They want to be more involved in their children's lives."
Via Virginia Postrel, who attributes this more to economics than to the fact that Generation X is just plain better than everyone else.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I woke up at 4:15 this morning and realized that I completely forgot about my final exams in December. My heart raced. Fuck! I'm going to fail all of those classes. I went through the a list of classes that I was taking and couldn't think of one final that I made it to. Then I realized that in addition to that Spanish class I never went to, I hadn't even been attending most of my classes, or really any, come to think of it.

Then I slowly started to realize that I was going to work every day, so that's why I'd been missing class. And maybe I'm not taking any classes; you know, I haven't been in any type of school since 1998. So I slowly conviced myself that I hadn't missed anything and went back to sleep.

This is recurring dream of mine that I've had for years and probably always will.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Thank You Global Warming
For this beautiful 73 degree day. This time of year with the sun low in the sky, 73 feels hot. The 10-day forecast has temperatures between 52-70, which is ideal for me this time of year. This was supposed to be a bad winter, so maybe we're getting lucky. I'm sure 50 years from now it'll be 150 degrees in the shade and I'll probably regret having been such a global warming supporter, but I'll take my chances.

Cool Chick
I've never been a big fan of Sandra Bullock, but I am now.
"Miss Congenialty" star Sandra Bullock is in line for a new title: Miss Generosity.

The bubbly brunette actress has given $1 million to the American Red Cross for its tsunami relief effort.

It's the second time Hollywood's girl-next-door has opened her heart and pocketbook for disaster victims. She previously gave $1 million to the Red Cross following the 9/11 terrorist strikes.

Monday, January 03, 2005

I'm still finalizing my New Year's Resolutions for 2005, but here are a few that I'm ready to put in stone:
1) Keep my car clean (interior)- My car is a disgusting: coffee stains, garbage, dirt, dog hair, dog puke. It is an incredibly unhealthy environment and it should be condemned. My wife's is that way too, so we made a joint resolution.

2) Get some nicer pants - We are business casual here, but it is clear that the Director level and above folks aren't wearing khaki's like me. Perhaps a compromise is Banana's dress chinos?

3) Eat better, and get back to 170 and stay there. My clothes fit better at 170 and I can start wearing my favorite T-shirt again. So that's 5 lbs. that I need lose, which I will accomplish by eating better. No more getting 25% of my daily calories through some kind cheeto-type product.
There are probably some other ones too, but those I always break so they are not worth mentioning.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Rose Bowl
Wow, what a game. Hate to see the Blue lose to the Longhorns, but very exciting finish. Even though I am a Michigan alumni (grad school...so a fan, but not as much as if it were my undergrad), I actually didn't want to see that Texas kicker miss. You just can't recover from something like that.

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