30 March 2008

A Suggestion for Hollywood

Noticed that Stop Loss didn't do so great at the box office, even with a less than wide release (1291 screens), it pulled in a per screen average of $3,505 its opening weekend. Meanwhile, Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns managed to still make $3,849 per screen in its second week of release.

So I'm thinking, if they want to make a profitable Iraq War oriented film, they could do worse than Medea Joins the Marines! (Ooh-Rah!!)

(and Tyler, if you do make this film, I want an Executive Producer Credit, or at least a "Story By" credit, I'll help you flesh out the script, couldn't be too hard)

If You Can't Beat Them, Threaten to Behead Them . . .

(via Drudge)

This is getting some play, I'm not sure why the Vatican is pushing this. The Vatican has released figures showing that for the first time, the numbers of Muslims exceeds the numbers of Catholics globally.

The comparison they make isn't really apples to apples, or even apples to oranges, it's more a single orange to a bushel of apples.

The Vatican treats Islam as a single religion, which it most certainly is not, and they acknowledge that if all Christians are counted together, than Christians still swamp Muslims in total.

But, I'm nothing if not a problem solver, so here are four easy steps for the Catholic Church to regain the global lead in numerical single denomination religious superiority:

1) In prosperous western countries, it's quite common to be a 'lapsed Catholic', or a 'non-practicing Catholic', basically you are Catholic by birth and family tradition, but otherwise don't consider yourself religious. Fight that the way many Muslims do. Declare lapsed Catholics apostates worthy of a painful death, preferrably through beheading (or stoning), and stage noisy street demonstrations on a regular basis demanding that any Catholic who doesn't behave Catholic enough be threatened with death.

2) Another step to take is to incorporate tactics of groups like CAIR. Insinuate that any negative depictions of Catholics or their clergy are racist in origin, foster hatred amongst peoples, and likely to provoke a violent counter-reaction from the radical fringe within the religion (and rather than castigating that violent fringe, convey the opinion that the media are the ones that should change and self-censor, rather than the fringe loonies learning to get over themselves)

3) Babies, babies, and more babies, while the official doctrine of the Church is to forbid birth control, that doctrine isn't followed religiously by very many Catholics it would seem, given comparative birth rates. Not sure how you change this, other than again, adopt a model that seems to have been successful with large swathes of Islamic populations. It's time to un-empower women. Women who have choices in life, tend to choose to have fewer babies. Take their choices away, encourage a worldview that keeps women at home, and men at work, and the only honorable task for a woman of child bearing age is to bear children.

4) Finally, once you've done everything you can to shore up numbers internally, the last thing left to do is to go after external populations. First, declare all Protestants to be non-Christian, and only through the Catholic church can you find Christ. Back this up not just with words, but with deeds, blow up non-Catholic churches and holy sites. No reason to stop with other Christians, though, declare anybody and everybody who is not part of the church as being against the church and fit for death unless they submit to the authority of the Vatican in religous matters. It'd be done out of kindness, not malice, if there is only one true way to God's love, then everything must be done to ensure that everyone feels that love (or is dispatched into the afterlife if they resist).

It may seem like I'm trying to drag the Catholic Church back to the pre-Reformation Middle Ages with these suggestions, and you'd be right. But, with these four simple steps, they ought to be able to get their numbers to swell beyond the current 1.13 Billion Catholics and see well over half the total population of the planet fall under their banner.

(and why is it OK for Islamic leaders to try and keep their people in an unenlightened Medieval state, while it would be obviously ridiculous to suggest the same for Catholics specifically, or Christians in general?)

29 March 2008

Wonderment Continues, Weekend Edition (Day Seven and Eight)

Going to make this simple, all the 1 seeds will win this weekend. Davidson was a nice story, Curry carried his team all the way to the Elite Eight, but he's not carrying his team past Kansas. If there's going to be an upset, I think Louisville has the best chance of upending North Carolina, but that's still pretty unlikely. Next Saturday should be pretty awesome with UCLA facing off against Kansas and North Carolina taking on Memphis, this weekend probably won't be that exciting, I don't really expect much entertainment value from any of the four games being played.

28 March 2008

The Wonder Continues, Day Six

It's the last four games of the "Sweet Sixteen", if West Virginia had pulled off their upset (and they were up late in OT, so they had a real shot at it), then I would have gone 4-0 yesterday. Plus, if I were betting the spread, I'd be very suspicious of the end of that UCLA game. I'm not accusing anybody of anything, but the spread was 12, and they let a layup go that took it from a push to a WKU win (against the spread). UCLA sucks against the spread, they dominate teams, then let them back in for some unkown reason, the only game they've beaten the spread on recently was their 41 point destruction of MVS.

Back to tonight's games, should be some good ones in the mix.

(10) Davidson Wildcats v (3) Wisconsin Badgers
Great defense (OK, I admit it, the Badgers have a great defense, but they are boring to watch), against a greater offensive player. Curry has been a monster in the tournament, but it's hard to imagine that the Badgers just don't shut him down and make someone else from the Wildcats beat them. Yet, every other team facing Davidson should have figured that out, and it didn't work, so I'm going with the upset and saying Davidson's run continues. Pick, Davidson

(3) Stanford Cardinal at (2) Texas Longhorns
My Nemesis Bill Simmons™ had a whole rant about how he doesn't like the names of Stanford's Lopez twins because their first names made them sound more like hot chicks then a couple of dudes. I guess he has a point, If you were in college and told that Brook and Robin, the Lopez Twins, were coming to the party, you'd begin having some of those stupid adolescent fantasies about some mildly incestuous three way action. Hard to pick against the twins, even if they aren't a couple of hot chicks. Pick, Stanford

(12) Villanova Wildcats at (1) Kansas Jayhawks
'Nova's had a good run, it ends here. Pick, Kansas

(5) Michigan State Spartans at (1) Memphis Tigers
Memphis has the best player left in the tournament (Derrick Rose), and the best overall team, plus they have a decent coach, looks like there's a solid chance that not only all the 1 seeds will advance to the "Elite Eight", but they'll probably all make it to the "Final Four" as well. Expect a heavy dose of predictability to break out this weekend (although, you usually get yourself in trouble by predicting predictability in the usually unpredictable "Big Dance"). Pick, Memphis

27 March 2008

Oh, Wait, They're Talking About Her Brother . . .

When they (the 'they' being KPIX, CBS5 in the Bay Area) highlight a slideshow about "famous twins" with a photo of Scarlett Johansson, the first thing that pops to mind isn't that she has an actual twin brother.

I might have gone with the above photo as an even better illustration (and why exactly do they not have a picture of her with her twin, rather than sort of showing off her 'twins', anyway?)

(alternate title to this post, "Yes, I'm That Juvenille")

The Wonder Continues, Day Five

It's "Sweet Sixteen" time. Four games today, four games tomorrow, then two games on Saturday on Sunday.

I'm going 12 for 12 for sure (all the rough stuff is out of the way the first weekend, why else do you think I hid my brackets from public view).

(7) West Virginia Mountaineers at (3) Xavier Musketeers

Both teams are 'eers, both teams nicknames start with 'M's, but it's Mountains v Muskets otherwise. I'm going with an upset and say that Mountains crush Muskets (just like Rock beats Scissors), also WV plays solid defense and will be able to frustrate Xavier to the point where they'll just start jacking up ill advised threes by the end of the game. Pick, West Virginia

(4) Washington State Cougars at (1) North Carolina Tarheels
Normally, those home and away designations are pretty meaningless in the NCAA Tournament, but North Carolina gets to play its entire region in state, so that's got to help some (not that they need it, they could play this in Seattle and WSU wouldn't have much of a chance). NC looks very solid, and will probably make the finals. WSU looks good, too, but not as good as NC., Pick, North Carolina

(12) Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at (1) UCLA Bruins
The Bruins will maul the Hilltoppers. After not putting away a decent Texas A&M team, the Bruins are ready to make a statement to the other 1 seeds with their dismantling of a gritty Western Kentucky squad (or at least that's how I see it, but take all my Bruins comments with a grain of salt, I'm a homer). Pick, UCLA

(3) Louisville Seriously Fellas You Ought to Change Your Team Name to Sluggers at (2) Tennessee Volunteers
I have no strong feelings about this one way or another, other than a generally strong dislike for Rick Pitino. One sideline to this game is that it would seem that Indiana might be courting Tenn's coach, and Tenn's coach isn't exactly spurning those advances. That distraction may effect his team, I'm picking the Sluggers in this one, even if they haven't yet adopted that team name. Pick, Louisville

24 March 2008

The 50 Trillion Dollar War . . .

. . . making the rounds lately are the economist who put out a book that has inflated the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom, along with the ongoing project of rebuilding Iraq, at 3 Trillion dollars.

Much of the additional 2.2 Trillion in cost over the official estimates comes from little tricks of estimation, speculation and pure 'pulled straight from our asses' guess work.

Two can play at that game. There's a war that's been a bigger failure, and been going on for far longer, and I think I can reasonably estimate this conflict's cost at a cool 50 Trillion (give or take 10).

I'm talking about the combined War on Poverty and War on Drugs, which in effect are the same war, and arose at about the same time. These efforts, begun under Johnson, expanded under Nixon and Ford, unchallenged by Carter, and finally resisted by Reagan, have easily cost this country magnitudes more in terms of human misery, government spending, lost tax revenues, and actual lives, than even the most outlandish estimates of the Iraqi front on the War on Terror.

I don't have a whole book to flesh out the details, but it could be done, easily. The first costs to tally would be the dissolution of families amongst the urban poor. That was a direct result of a government welfare system that perversely encouraged out of wedlock births. The best positive correlation between the outcomes of one generation to the next is having a stable two parent household, and that became a distant memory amongst those most reliant on government handouts in less than a decade of an expanded welfare state. The costs of this one change easily dwarves that of Iraq. Not only do you have the welfare checks, which if they were all adjusted to today's dollars going all the way back to the mid-sixties would be a considerable sum. You also have on the negative side of the ledger, the potential income those children would have earned had a system been in place that encouraged familial stability, academic performance, and an intrinsic desire to contribute to society as a whole. Poverty needn't breed more poverty, but the welfare system as it existed during the 60s and 70s did just that, and the 30 years it took to begin to seriously challenge that pernicious system did tremendous damage.

The War on Drugs started much the same time, for much the same reasons, and had many of the same negative effects. Just focusing on incarceration alone, and you begin to total up some huge numbers. Again, if you borrow the methodology employed in getting to that 3 Trillion number on Iraq, then by also calculating the positive contributions all those prisoners would have made had they not been incarcerated, then you are talking real money.

So why is it so natural for economists of a certain political bent to so easily attack a war they don't like with that sort of methodology, but a couple of wars with a much longer history and much more certain outcomes seems to have avoided coming under the type of analysis they advocate on the War on Terror?

23 March 2008

Teh Funny, He Is Ken Jennings . . .

I can no more reject the smooth vocal stylings of Phil Collins than I could disown my own white grandmother.

Don't know that I agree with Ken about the Phil Collins thing, but I can confirm at least one "Actual Black Person™" (namely, my father) who is a big fan of Jeopardy, and even used to schedule his lunchbreak from work to watch the Art Flemming version way back in the day (like back when I was an infant 'back in the day').

Just thought I'd share.

I suppose I should do an inventory of the various "Whitest Things About Me", as well as the "Blackest Things About Me", and probably should throw in the "Most Chicano Things About Me" while am at it. I could probably even get away with a "Straightest, and or Gayest, Things About Me" in addition to a "Japanese-ist Things About Me" and "Nerdiest Things About Me", once you parse these sort of things, the possibilities never end.

Is this what The Obama means by a 'national conversation on race'?

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Day Four

The tournament continues. I continue to get plenty of picks wrong, all is right with the world.

(12) Villanova Wildcats v (13) Siena Saints
Picking against Saints on Easter, that ain't right. Both match ups today in Tampa are 12 v 13, don't know if I'd be thrilled or disappointed had I had tickets to the games there. Pick, Villanova

(2) Texas Longhorns v (7) Miami Hurricanes
Texas looks solid, could be one of the better games of the day. How much do you think Kevin Durant would rather be playing with the Longhorns today instead of the Sonics? (he can always just stare at his bank account and remember one of the reasons why he's a struggling rookie instead of a super sophomore) Pick, Texas

(2) Tennessee Volunteers v (7) Butler Bulldogs
Butler will be shooting threes like crazy, if they go in, it's an upset, but if they don't, they aren't getting the rebounds, so lots of fast break opportunities for Tennessee. Tennessee ought to roll, but Butler has a solid chance at an upset, most likely it will be a lopsided game, though. Pick, Tennessee

(13) San Diego Toreros v (12) Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
One of these teams will be playing next week against a UCLA team that got a wake up call v Texas A&M. I kind of like the idea of a UCLA v San Diego Sweet 16, so I'm picking San Diego, no other reason, no analysis behind this one. Pick, San Diego

(2) Georgetown Hoyas v (10) Davidson Wildcats
You have a hot offensive player in Curry of Davidson against a very solid defense. Very solid defenses usually win that battle, I think it will in this one, too. Pick, Georgetown

(1) Memphis Tigers v (8) Mississippi State Bulldogs
Memphis has been nearly unstoppable this year, and Miss State don't have what it takes to give them a hard time. Sometimes excellent teams take these kind of contests for granted and forget to show up, but that probably won't happen here. SHould be a rout. Pick, Memphis

(6) Oklahoma Sooners v (3) Louisville Still Not Sluggers
I thought both these teams would lose on Friday, I don't care who wins this. Picking the underdog, just because I can. Pick, Oklahoma

(1) North Carolina Tarheels v (9) Arkansas Razorbacks
The Tarheels get an almost home game in Raleigh. Arkansas will be the last 8 or 9 seed with a chance to pull off an upset, doesn't look like any of the one seeds are going to miss the Sweet 16 this year, that gives hope to all those people who's brackets were screwed up by both 12 and 13 seeds winning in Tampa (my bracket got pretty busted when USC fell in the first round). Pick, North Carolina

22 March 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Day Three

(2) Duke Blue Devils v (7) West Virginia Mountaineers
Duke had a scare, and probably should have lost against the Belmont Bruins, but if that doesn't focus this team and get them to play up to their potential, nothing will. West Virginia is a solid team, though, they are capable of giving Duke a challenge, but a focused Duke and a nearly upset Duke will be a very challenging Duke to keep out of the Sweet 16. Pick, Duke.

(11) Kansas State Wildcats v (3) Wisconsin Badgers
I didn't pick either of these teams to make it to this round. Shows what I know. Beasley was impressive in beating USC, and KSU showed that they had more players than just Beasley, they might just put together a good run in this tourney. The Badgers didn't pull away from an overmatched CSUF team till late in the game, so still think they're a bit overrated (sorry Ruth Anne, don't see them making a big run in this tournament). Wisconsin will probably shut down Beasley and make the rest of the Wildcats beat them, problem is, the rest of the Wildcats are playing pretty well, so that won't work. Pick, Kansas State

(3) Xavier Musketeers v (6) Purdue Boilermakers
I'll say it again, Musketeers drink Boilermakers for breakfast. Xavier had to rally in the 2nd half to win, and Purdue romped, so that would suggest an upset, but I still don't see any Big Ten teams making it to next Sweet 16-land. Both teams can play defense, but Xavier has more athletes, and usually that combination leads to triumph. Pick, Xavier.

(4) Washington State Cougars v (5) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Cougars eat Irishman for breakfast (and yes, there is meant to be some ambiguity as what kind of eating and what kind of cougars is meant by that comment). Pick, Washington State

(3) Stanford Cardinal v (6) Marquette Golden Eagles
It's Marquette's quickness versus Stanford's size, a lot of how this game will go depends on how it's officiated. If the Cardinal big men get in early foul trouble defending drives by the quicker Marquette forwards and guards, then Stanford will be in big trouble. But, if the refs let them play, and ignore the inevitable contact, then Stanford will beat up on Marquette. This game won't be close, one way or the other. Pick, Stanford

(8) UNLV Rebels v (1) Kansas Jayhawks
One of the 1 seeds has to miss the Sweet 16, might as well be the Jayhawks. Not exactly the best analysis of a match-up you'll find on the 'net, admittedly. Pick, UNLV

(4) Pittsburgh Panthers v (5) Michigan State Spartans
Both teams beat up their opponents on Thursday, both teams are going to want to slow this game down and turn it into a battle. Good game not to watch, luckily in the LA market CBS will be showing the UCLA v Texas A&M, cause I don't think I could watch too much of this one. Pick, Pittsburgh

(1) UCLA Bruins v (9) Texas A&M Aggies
I'm fairly certain that what UCLA did to Mississippi Valley State is illegal in many Southern states. Luckily for the Bruins, they violated those other men in more permissive California. Texas A&M and UCLA have met before, and on the very court they'll be matched up on tonight, UCLA squeaked by with a 65-62 victory. UCLA is playing better since then, and Texas A&M is playing worse, UCLA won't match their 41 point victory from Thursday, but I wouldn't be surprised if they win by more than 20. Collison and Love are playing very well, Love may end up being the tournament's MOP when this is all over. Pick, UCLA

I'm only picking two upsets on Saturday, after the wildness of Friday, don't see there being a repeat of that kind of craziness in these match-ups, but Sunday ought to be pretty interesting.

21 March 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Day Two

Turns out, maybe the Big Ten wasn't as craptacular as I thought.

On to Friday's picks:

(2) Tennessee Volunteers v (15) American Eagles
Hard to pick against the American Eagles based on school name + nickname, but it's easy to pick against them when it comes to the relative strengths of these two teams. Welcome to the Big Dance American University, it's your first visit, shame it will be a short one. Pick, Tennessee

(7) Gonzaga Bulldogs v (10) Davidson Wildcats
This is one of those 'mid major' versus 'mid major' battles that folks are upset about. Usually all these kind of teams don't get paired in the first round, but this year they did. This is practically a home game for Davidson, and Gonzaga's travelling cross country. But the Zags are used to travel, and they've known the sweet fruits of deep runs in the tourney. Davidson has had a great season up to this point, but I don't think they can keep it up against the Bulldogs, plus I'm not a 'cat' person. Pick, Gonzaga

(5) Drake Bulldogs v (12) Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
What's with all these Bulldogs? Why know Pit Bulls? Or Poodles? Or Shi Tzus? Drake looks awfully good, besides, Hilltoppers sounds like a restaurant, not a team. Have to respect a team from the Missouri Valley Conference that earns a 5 seed. Pick, Drake

(10) St. Mary's Gaels v (7) Miami Hurricanes
Obviously a Hurricane is a much stronger wind than a gail, what the hell is a Gael, anyway? But Miami's been inconsistent this season, and think they may be more down than up today. Wouldn't be too surprised to be wrong, though. Pick, St. Mary's

(10) South Alabama Jaguars v (7) Butler Bulldogs
I'm picking against Butler simply because I'm sick of all these Bulldog teams running around. Also, only two lower seed prevailed yesterday (Kansas State played very well, and got help from the refs, and Texas A&M was a 9 seed, so that barely counts), so I think lower seeds will do better on Friday. There's no reason for this assumption, but the tourney always seems to work that way, if one day is 'formful' than the other day is 'wild'. Pick, USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

(2) Georgetown Hoyas v (15) UMBC Retrievers
Hey, a dog other than a Bulldog, that's a relief. Still can't pick them over the Hoyas. Even if the Hoyas use a Bulldog's ugly mug as part of their primary logo. This is a strong and deep team, and maybe should have been a 1 seed, so don't expect them to lose in their first two games. Pick, Georgetown

(2) Texas Longhorns v (15) Austin Peay Governors
Bad time to be a governor. It's the Austine Peayers versus the Austin Pee-ers (cause they like their booze at Texas University). I'll go with the team from Austin in this one, imagine how scary they'd be if Durant stayed an extra year? Pick, Texas

(4) Connecticut Huskies v (13) San Diego Toreros
I would love to pick against the Huskies. But they have too much of a size advantage in this one, and San Diego won't be able to score in the interior with 7'3" Hasheem Thabeet clogging up the middle for the Huskies. Maybe if they can get him in early foul trouble, they'll have a chance, otherwise it won't be close. Here's hoping one of the refs is crooked. Pick, UConn

(1) North Carolina Tar Heels v (16) Mt. St. Mary's Mountaineers
Why even bother? Their only challenge will be to crush their opponent by more points than the UCLA Bruins did in their first round game. Pick, North Carolina

(11) St. Joseph's Hawks v (6) Oklahoma Sooners
It's the premature ejaculators versus a bird of prey. I'm going with the birds in this one (what? 'sooner' isn't a reference to a sexual disorder. nevermind) Pick, St. Joe's

(4) Vanderbilt Commodores v (13) Siena Saints
I guess it depends if we are talking Brick House Commodores or Once Twice Three Times a Lady Commodores whether or not Siena can pull off this upset. According to the ESPN preview blurb, Siena are a bit of a trendy pick for upset special. I don't think so. I'm leaning towards seeing Vandy as more the Brick House types. Pick, Vanderbilt

(9) Oregon Ducks v (8) Mississippi State Bulldogs
Still sick of all these Bulldog teams running around. Sticking with the Pac-10 even if their teams didn't fare as well as I expected yesterday (they went 3-2 instead of 5-0). Today's another day, and I expect the Ducks to bring the conference's total up to 4-2 instead of dropping down to 3-3. Yes, my west coast bias is evident, what of it? Pick, Oregon

(14) Boise State Broncos v (3) Louisville Cardinals
I'm punishing Lousville for not adopting the school nickname of "Sluggers". Plus I really dislike Rick Pitino. Pick, Boise State

(9) Arkansas Razorbacks v (8) Indiana Hoosiers
Too much turmoil in Hoosierland. Maybe they can ignore all the Kelvin Sampson stuff floating around, but I don't think they can, plus Arkansas is a good enough team to beat them, anyway. Pick, Arkansas

(12) Villanova Wildcats v (5) Clemson Tigers
Clearly, tigers are the more formidable version of beast than a plain old wildcat, but I'm picking the undercats in this one anyway. Villanova squeaked into the tournament, and I don't think they'll waste the opportunity they've been given. Besides, one of the 12 seeds usually makes it to the next round, so might as well be these guys. Pick, Villanova

(1) Memphis Tigers v (16) Texas-Arlington Mavericks
I'd love to pick the Mavs, but I'm not insane (on a bad night the Dallas Mavs would have trouble against this Memphis team, and on a good night the current Memphis Grizzlies would have trouble beating these Memphis Tigers). Pick, Memphis

20 March 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Day One

It's that time again, the Madness of March is upon us. Much less stabby than the Ides.

I'm not bothering prognosticating beyond each day, other than to suggest that 4 of the Sweet 16 will be from the PAC-10, and UCLA will be in the Championship game, depends who they face whether or not they win it all, but that would be 3 consecutive Final Fours, with two Championship Games thrown in (assuming they go all the way this year), the Bruins haven't been to shabby under Ben Howland (and I'm even picking them despite their glowing endorsement from My Nemesis Bill Simmons™).

As far as today's match-ups, I'm going to use a very complicated set of matrices to determine which teams should win or lose, here's the breakdowns of all 16 games (expected winning team always listed first, and yes, I stole the whole 'let's talk about the mascots as if they have some meaningful determination as to the outcome of the game' thing from here):

(5) Notre Dame Fighting Irish v (12) George Mason Patriots
Notre Dame has had a good season so far, going 24-7 while playing in the extremely tough Big East, but if they get up ended in the first round it will be all for naught. Two years ago George Mason made it all the way to the Final Four, and they have two starters from that team. I don't see this being one of the 12 upsetting a 5 games this year, though. Plus if you go by team names, I think you have to love the Irish's chances to pound the Patriots, especially with St. Pats day having been this week (unless the team's collective hangover catches up with them, and assuming there's even a single player on the team who is actually Irish). Pick, Notre Dame

(11) Baylor Bears v (6) Purdue Boilermakers
Purdue played well in conference, but their conference sucks this year, and they lost to a lousy Illinois team in their conference tourney. I don't think you bounce back from that. Baylor has been turned around after a pretty hellish situation a five years ago. Scott Drew will have his team ready to at least pull off a first round upset. Plus, Bears drink Boilermakers for breakfast, so if you are going by team names, then clearly the Bears have a huge advantage. Pick, Baylor

(1) UCLA Bruins v (16) Missippi Valley State Delta Devils
No contest, a one won't be losing to a 16 anytime soon, and even if it were to happen, UCLA won't be the one one to go down. Despite an awesome team name, MVS simply won't have enough to get the job done. Pick UCLA

(1) Kansas Jayhawks v (16) Portland State Vikings
Kansas will roll in this one, or romp, or crush a lot. Either way, an easy win over an overmatched team from the other Rip City (Santa Monica's the only real Rip City). Another contest where you have to ignore the team with the more aggressive, and or deadly, team name usually wins rubric. Pick, Kansas

(14) Cal State Fullerton Titans v (3) Wisconsin Badgers
We don't need no stinkin' Badgers getting past the first round. The whole Big Ten stunk this year, not that the Big West is a superior conference, but the Titans beat some good teams in their tourney to advance, and they have some talented players, so they'll be one of three teams from Southern California to make it to the next round (UCLA and USC being the others). Wisconsin has a huge size advantage, but the Titans can really shoot the ball, and if their shooters stay hot, they'll outscore a plodding Wisconsin team. Also, going by team names, how can you beat the freakin' Titans with a lousy bunch of Badgers? Pick, Cal State Fullerton

(2) Duke Blue Devils v (15) Belmont Bruins
The Bruins will beat Duke, just not these Bruins. Pick, Duke

(3) Stanford Cardinal v (14) Cornell Big Red
Yeah, yeah, yeah, both schools are full of Brainiacs, you've got Ivy League v Northern California's quasi-Ivy League school. This won't be a battle of SAT scores, it will be hoops, and in hoops, Stanford has a huge advantage. Enjoy your trip to Disneyland Big Red, that'll be your consolation prize for getting beat up in Anaheim by different shade of red (and how smart can their students be when they name their sports teams after a color?). Pick, Stanford

(3) Xavier Musketeers v (14) Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia had an amazing run in their tourney to sneak into the big dance with an automatic bid. Xavier is a much better team and will prove it on the court. Georgia's great conference tournament won't earn them any victories in the real tournament. Besides, I'll take a team of Musketeers over a bunch of dogs with serious breathing problems any day. Pick, Xavier

(4) Pittsburgh Panters v (13) Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
If I were running Oral Roberts, I would have picked a team name that reflected the religious nature of that school, something like the Oral Roberts Bleeding Jesuses has a nice ring to it. It is the Blood of the Christ that washes our sins away and helps their teams to victory, plus they could call themselves the Oral BJs for short. Pick, Pittsburgh

(12) Temple Owls v (5) Michigan State Spartans
Another overrated Big Ten team facing a team from a real conference. Temple's been up and down this year, but they'll put together a good enough game to make you forget they are a 12 seed. Besides, owls are tough old birds, while Spartans may be military men, but they revel in glorious defeat a bit too much. Pick, Temple.

(4) Washington State Cougars v (13) Winthrop Eagles
Washington State started out great this year, then faltered a bit in the PAC-10. Too many good teams to play night in night out, but they're a very good team, with great depth and plenty of skill. They'll have no trouble advancing past this weekend. Besides a Cougar could rip an Eagle to shreds, but it would be an interesting fight. Pick, WSU

(6) Marquette Golden Eagles v (11) Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky started the season terribly, and have improved ever since, while Marquette have been a little up and down towards the end of the season, but they did reach the Big East tournament Final, losing to a very good Pittsburgh team, and they should be able to put together a good enough game to get past the Wildcats. I know I just said that a Cougar could rip an Eagle to shreds, but Wildcats aren't quite as tough as Cougars, and generic Eagles aren't as tough as Golden Eagles, so in this case, the Eagle will rip the cat to shreds. Pick, Marquette

(9) Texas A&M Aggies v (8) Brigham Young Cougars
This is a pick 'em game, not alot separates these two teams. I think the Aggies have a slight edge, but I can't give you any good reason as to why that should be. The winner gets to face UCLA next round, so the difference between winning and losing will be only one more game. From a team name standpoint there's no justification for this pick, Aggies is a seriously messed up team name. Pick, Texas A&M

(8) UNLV Rebels v (9) Kent State Golden Flashes
Another game where it's hard to figure out who will win. And another match-up where the winning team will end up facing a formidable 1 seed for their trouble. I'm going with the Rebels, even if they don't Run like they used to. Pick, UNLV

(10) Arizona Wildcats v (7) West Virginia Mountaineers
The Wildcats haven't had a very good season, compiling a record of 19-14 along the way. But the PAC-10 was brutal this year, and they had injury problems. They appear to be healthier and ready to possibly cause a little trouble in the tournament, don't be too surprised if they make it to the Sweet 16. West Virginia aren't a bad team, they just got seeded against the wrong 10 seed. Pick, Arizona

(6) USC Trojans v (11) Kansas State Wildcats
It's great freshman standout versus even greater freshman standout in the most intriguing game being played Thursday. OJ Mayo has a better supporting cast than Michael Beasley, but they'll both be playing in different uniforms next season. Beasley might look pretty good next to a healthy Dwayne Wade in Miami, and OJ Mayo might fit in pretty well with Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City/Seattle. As far as the game goes, should be fun to watch, but as has already been established in my previous picks, I'm not picking against any PAC-10 teams on this day, and USC isn't going to be any different. Pick, USC

To summarize half my picks, I'm picking against all 3 Big Ten schools playing today, cause the Big Ten really sucked this year, and I'm picking for all 5 Pac Ten teams, cause that conference was the best conference this year, and facing quality opponents night in night out will have all these teams honed and ready to perform well in the "Big Dance".

As far as the other 8 picks, no real pattern emerges, outside of the over-rated Big Ten schools (and the under-rated Arizona team), the favorites should do fine today.

16 March 2008

2008 MAR 16, Dog Walking Photos (The Return)

Dog Walking 001

Dog Walking 034

Dog Walking 017

Just a few snaps taken while walking the dog.

26th and Colorado View From NE Corner (Stitched Together)

26th and Colorado View From NW Corner (Stitched Together)

26th and Colorado View From SW Corner (Stitched Together)

26th and Colorado View From SE Corner (Stitched Together)

Also experimented with creating a panaroma view by stitching together 3 photos taken at the same corner.

Dog Walking 021

Dog Walking 023

Came across a National Park on my dogwalking. Here's the website the sign points to, it's basically vandalism masquerading as art, but so far they're careful to make their stuff easily removable and they don't seem to do anything that would damage the stuff they put their "art" on. It's all fun and games till somebody decides to make a sign a bit too close to a real traffic sign and it confuses some inattentive driver into doing something stupid behind the wheel.

14 March 2008

Spring Has Nearly Sprung

Front Yard Flowers 014

Front Yard Flowers 010

Front Yard Flowers 006

(the rest of the Front Yard Flowers can be found here)

Now That's a Parenthetical (and Other Thoughts at 12:32AM)

First thought, Minnie Driver's not a bad singer (she's on Leno), second, pregnancy suits her. Not all women glow, despite the propaganda, but many do, plus there's the whole breasts newly engorged with life giving goodness thing going on.

Second thought, Lileks steals one of my quirks (being of course, the lengthy and mostly digressive parenthetical statement within a post (though he fails to add the further quirk of a subparenthetical clasue))

Here's his parenthetical, it's a doozy (should that term be retired? not like anyone remembers a Duesenberg, or associate that name with luxury and top-notchedness anymore, my very best Hot Wheels was a Duesenberg, mainly cause it was many grams heavier than any other Hot Wheel, so it was best at crashing in to things and building up speed going down those cool red white and blue tracks Mattel sold in the 70s), read the whole post for the context:
(It may indeed indicate a contrapositive view from the orthodoxy, but that doesn’t mean it’s inherently conservative – sometimes the opposing argument to a conservative idea isn’t liberal at all, but gets defined as such because the person who holds the idea is identified as liberal. And vice versa. That’s why so much of our debate has little to do with competing ideas of how to organize society, and ends up being a debate between statists who have differing priorities about the application of state power. He said, tendentiously.)

It's funny because it's true. The positions inartfully described as "liberal" and "conservative" on a wide range of issues aren't actually in opposition to each other, they are merely fights over turf and where the government's money should be spent (without any thought as to the source of that government money).

But that doesn't mean elections don't matter, they do, and that doesn't mean that one party isn't better than the other (despite all its faults, the GOP is still preferable to the DEMs, in most cases, but some DEMs suck less than others, and some Republicans suck harder than their Democratic opponent (see George Allen)).

12 March 2008

The Danger with Parody in a Post-Ironic Age is That Reality ALWAYS Catches Up with You . . .

Makes my Obama poster look tame by comparison, and they LIKE him. What's wrong with these people?

Proposed Changes to the NBA Playoff Structure

The NBA has a problem, one conference tends to be a lot better than the other conference, that's been the case for the past 2 decades, though which conference was ascendent, flipped sometime around Jordan's retirement.

Right now, you have two elite teams in the East (Boston, Detroit), two good teams with an intriguing player (Cleveland, Orlando), and the rest of the teams that don't much matter. It's inconceivable that other than those four will get to the 2nd round, barring a wave of injuries hitting the top teams.

In the West it's a completely different picture. There is no elite unbeatable team. On any night, any one of 10 teams is capable of beating any of the other top 10 teams (on their home floor, at least) in that conference. Only 8 of those teams will make the playoffs this year, and that's a shame. Of the eight teams currently above the cut for a playoff spot, only four losses separate 1st from 8th. In the East, 25 losses separate 1st from 8th.

Some have already suggested just seeding the top 16 teams, without regard to conference, and let them in the playoffs. I think that'd make this year's playoffs a lot better, and would have lead to more intriguing playoff match ups (especially in the 2nd round) than what you probably will have this year (as well as in the past 5 years).

Using Hollinger's Playoff Odds to predict the final W/L tally for each team, here are the first round match ups you'd have with the current system, in the East BOS(1)-CHI(8), DET(2)-PHI(7), ORL(3)-WAS(6), CLE(4)-TOR(5), and in the West LAL(1)-GS(8), HOU(2)-PHO(7), SAS(3)-DAL(6), UTA(4)-NO(5). You'd have 3 yawners in the East, with one potentially interesting match up betweeen Cleveland and Toronto, but in the West every match up has the potential to be a real battle that would normally be worthy of a Conference Finals in any normal year.

If you ditch the conferences for purpose of seeding then you get a top sixteen that looks like this, BOS(1)-WAS(16), DET(2)-POR(15), LAL(3)-TOR(14), HOU(4)-CLE(13), SAS(5)-DEN(12), UTA(6)-GS(11), ORL(7)-PHO(10), NO(8)-DAL(9). 10 teams from the West, 6 teams from the (l)East. One Eastern team (Cleveland) loses home court in the first round, and one Western team gains it (New Orleans), and more importantly Portland and Denver get to have some more April fun, while woeful Chicago (or Atlanta) and mediocre Philadelphia get to contemplate ping pong balls in the draft lottery. Only one match up is between two East squads, while three games pair two Western teams. Travel would be coast to coast (or nearly) in three of the match ups, but if they went with an all league playoff format, they'd have to take into account having that kind of travel in every round of the playoff, some sort of accomodation could be made, using the 2-3-2 format of the finals and always having 2 days off between travel when skipping more than 2 time zones would be a simple adjustment to make (when match ups are within the same or adjacent time zones, then one day off for travel would be OK).

You'd lose a couple of really good match ups in the West, but you'd gain two better teams in the playoffs, and you'd gain a few interesting cross-conference contests in the first round.

This is my hypothetical so I'm going to go ahead and predict the entire playoff based on these match ups:

1st round, favorites win most of these series, but three lower seeds advance, Cleveland rides LeBron over the Yao-less Rockets. Phoenix overpowers Orlando as Shaq gets somewhat revived revisiting his old stomping grounds. Golden State avenges last year's 2nd round exit at the hands of Utah, despite great play from Deron Williams. With this new playoff format, rather than keeping the teams in brackets, I'd re-seed the playoffs each round, that'd also mean that you'd have to wait for all the match ups to be decided before preceding to the next round, but that's as it should be, anyway. Given those 3 upsets, and re-seeding, the 2nd round looks like this, BOS(1)-CLE(13), DET(2)-GS(11), LAL(3)-PHO(10), SAS(5)-NO(8). Now that's a 2nd round that has intriguing match ups top to bottom.

Boston versus Cleveland looks like a likely 2nd round match up in the current playoff system, so I guess this series is inevitable no matter how you slice it. Boston will prevail, but they'll get tested, they simply have too much talent with their starters plus newly acquired Sam Cassell, and despite LeBron's great play, he doesn't have enough other players with him to overcome Boston's depth.

Detroit's solid defense versus the scoring of Golden State is another really fun 2nd round match up. Golden State is capable of pulling off this upset, but Detroit is a bit too solid and deep to be upset by a team like Golden State.

LA Lakers in their annual playoff match up against Phoenix could be a great 2nd round match up, also. Shaq should be fully intergrated into the Suns plans by then, and will give it everything he's got to beat his old team. But the Lakers have a lot more depth than Phoenix, are a lot younger than Phoenix, and would love to knock them out of the playoffs after losing in the 1st round the previous two seasons.

San Antonio against New Orleans would be pretty fun to watch, also. Could go either way, if San Antonio doesn't play like an old team, and New Orleans doesn't play like an inexperienced young team, then this will be the most competitive match up of the 2nd round. Too close to call, really, but I think the experience of San Antonio will show up big time and they'll win a close game 7 at home.

That sets up a final four of Boston against San Antonio and Detroit against Los Angeles. Both these match ups would be finals worthy most years, but instead you get them in the semi-finals. You could make solid cases for any one of these teams when matched up against the other, but I think Boston has enough to get past San Antonio, and Los Angeles has enough scoring to force Detroit to play at a faster tempo than they'd like.

That sets up the big Boston Celtics versus Los Angeles Lakers NBA Finals. You probably get there either way you go. Under the current format this is a likely looking Final, but either or both could get tripped up along the way.

Do I even have to say which team I think would win that Finals match up?

(as a hint, just imagine the exact opposite of what My Nemesis Bill Simmons™ would want)

10 March 2008

Things You Do at 12:30 AM . . .

what the cockroach might see, and what the iphone saw

The above photo is a composite of a photo Prof. Althouse posted on her blog a little bit ago, and my transformation of the same photo pasted side by side.

She described her photo as a 'cockroach eye's view', but that got me thinking that their optics are very different from ours, and even the same view would look very different to one of them.

So after some quick googling, and seeing what I could find without taking too much time, things I've learned about cockroach optics, first, they are dark adapted, so they probably are very sensitive to picking contrast, but if there's too much light around their vision gets washed out. Second, they have compound eyes, so what they see is going to be a mosaic. Third, they probably don't see in color, their eyes are very simple light sensors, and their brains aren't too complicated either, so color is too 'processor intensive' and wouldn't serve a survival function for them anyway.

Applying all those notions (won't call them facts, cause it's just stuff I've pulled off the internet), I used GIMP to do a couple of quick transformations, I think the results are interesting, probably not accurate, but it's something to do at 12:30 AM on a restless night.

Also, when it comes to the possessive 's', does it belong on the "cockroach", or the "eye"? I see that Althouse put it on the roach, but I've been putting it on the eye. Does the view belong to the cockroach as a whole, or to the eye alone?

The phrase "bird's eye view" almost always puts the possessive with the "bird", but when you are talking about what an eye would see rather than what someone or something actually saw, I think the possessive would be better on the "eye" part. This way, you emphasize the image, rather than the seer, but I'm in the minority (possibly of one) on this issue.

07 March 2008

St. Andrew Upon the Cross

Really, why do I still inflict Andrew Sullivan upon myself? Stop me before I click again. Give me the strength to ignore the allure of that changeable mind.

Here's the latest bit of self-important puffery:
And let me add - since I am not an adviser, since I have kept a very long distance from the actual official campaign, since I am not a Democrat, since I cannot be accused of being a closet Bush-supporter, since I am just a blogger.

Samantha Power is right. The Clintons are monstrous. Samantha has quit because she told the truth.

OK, that reminds me why I keep going back to this stuff, he's hilarious. That's some high-grade comedy right there (but only cause he's so damn sincere).

Good thing I don't work for Obama, given that I've compared Hillary to Ben Linus, not that I was any easier on Obama, I find Dr. Jack Shepard far more frightening as a leader than good old Ben.

06 March 2008

The Drug War Isn't Just Being Lost in the United States . . .

. . . the cost of the Drug War is being felt worldwide. There would be benefits across the globe if organized crime were squeezed out of the business of getting high.

From Camilla Cavendish's comment column in today's Times of London:
The most powerful role models are dealers, not celebrities. All over Britain, men in gold jewellery flaunt their wealth at school gates. Teachers tell me how hard it is to convince teenagers to get NVQs, when they can have a career with Drugs Inc and aspire to make £1,000 a day. Drugs Inc is one of the most profitable, successful businesses of all time. The UN values it at about $330 billion, almost as big as the defence industry. The criminals who run Drugs Inc shift staggering amounts of stock with no conventional advertising. They offer free samples to children and discounts for trading up to harder substances. They motivate their salesforce with threats.

De-prohibition won't be cost free. People will still do stupid stuff on drugs. But, taking the criminal element out of what is a personal choice and failing will help alleviate many of the social costs associated with drugs. The personal cost will remain as high as ever, lives will still be ruined, but at least it will cost taxpayers much less, and won't help fund terrorist activities in Asia, South America, and even right here in North America (if you don't think that a the drug cartels in Mexico are terrorists, then you haven't been paying attention, fortunately for us, they mostly only terrorize other Mexicans).

It's interesting to note that the UN is the main culprit in preventing smaller countries like Portugal from pursuing legalization or even greater de-criminalization of 'soft drugs'. The UN seems to do so many things wrong, and so few things right, as an organization it really ought to be dismantled, or defunded and shunned. There needs to be international cooperation between countries, but a corrupt and ideologically rigid body that embraces totalitarian regimes with open arms while chastising free countries isn't the kind of body that the United States or Europe should be supporting.

I Will Beat Her Like a Tin Drum in 2016

I've already announced (more than a year ago) my candidacy for 2016. After 8 years of Pres. John McCain (a year ago, I was certain that it would be after a eight years of Pres. Giuliani, oh well), the country will be ready for somebody younger, more libertarian, and willing to solve the tough problems of the day with 'outside of the box' thinking.

Well, if this Times of London article is to believed, I may get the pleasure of beating Chelsea Clinton in that general election (she'll be 36 in 2016, and eligible to run, I'll be a more palatable 47 on election day 2016).

There's no way in a million years this article would have run in any paper here in the United States. Chelsea's nice and all, but there's not a snowballs chance in hell that she'll be running for President anytime soon.

The Bush clan has quite a few more possibilities out there, George Prescott Bush chief amongst them (a third generation of George Bushes as president?), don't be surprised to see him running for a seat in the House of Representatives in 2010, and maybe even the Senate in 2012 if Hutchinson doesn't seek another term. After that, who knows?

Hillary's run is where the Clinton's "dynasty" ends, though, she doesn't have another run in her, and I don't think folks who work for a hedge fund are high on the list of serious presidential candidate material. A lot could change by 2016, or 2020, but I don't think that much will change, and I don't get a sense that Chelsea has any real ambition for politics, she's just being supportive of her mother.

But, I'd be happy to beat both a Bush in the primaries, and a Clinton in the general election to claw my way to the Oval Office. I'll make sure this country gets what's coming to it (and that's either a threat, or a promise).

Here I Was All Ready to Jump On This Mistake . . .,

Duracell Bunny? Really? Turns out outside of the US of A (and Canada, but they hardly count), there is a Duracell Bunny, and our long running Energizer Bunny started out as a parody add of the original Duracell Bunny. Now, on the one hand, Gavin Esler didn't make a mistake since his target audience wouldn't be confused by that headline. But, on the other hand, given that Sen. Clinton is an American politician, and here in America most of us haven't heard of the Duracell Bunny, that headline looks a bit foolish.

So when is an inaccurate headline, actually an accurate headline?

Conversely, when is an accurate headline, nevertheless easily construed as being inaccurate?

05 March 2008

Cute Candid Pictures, or Signs of the Coming Apocalypse?

First up, Cory Kennedy with Kanye West at Fashion Week in Paris

Next up, either an Olsen twin, or some odd human/bird hybrid creature loosed upon an unsuspecting public

Seriously, dude, costume jewelry encrusted eyepatch?!?

Each on it's own might not add up to the pending apocalypse, but taking all these signs together, and I'm not so sure . . .

(guess I'll have to dig through my Herbert W. Armstrong tomes, searchable database, here)

All photos grabbed from LAWeekly, Photos by Mark "The Cobrasnake" Hunter"

I Never Noticed How Much Sen. Obama Looked Like John Hurt Before . . .

Please refer to this (somewhat gross) editorial cartoon if you want to understand this post's title.

Wrong on So Many Levels

(via Gizmodo, or errr Wrongmodo)

Beats Doing It While Driving . . .

Women hate doing faces on train, but loathe wasting commuting time more, according to Mainichi Daily News.

Wouldn't bring this up, but I saw a woman applying her mascara next to me in the car on Olympic Blvd. today (and not only at red lights). Should have taken her picture and gotten all Amy Alkon on her, but I always forget that my phone takes decent pictures.

This illustrates why banning using celphone handsets while driving won't accomplish much. Driving modern cars is too physically easy, car cabins are too quiet and comfortable, and driving is done mostly while people are on mental auto-pilot while thinking of a dozen other things. It's not each individual distraction that's the danger, it's the general distractedness with which people can get away with while operating a car, that leads to people taking these kinds of chances while driving.

People didn't do this as much when tooling around in unresponsive hunks of steel that didn't have AC, power steering or power brakes. Nothing focuses your attention on the road like needing several hundred feet to stop your 4000 lb vehicle even while travelling at around 50mph.

There's a Reason He's My Nemesis™

My Nemesis Bill Simmons™ grabs his bag (of mail) today. In it here's his case for why Kobe shouldn't be MVP (answering a "question" he received from a "LeBron J, Cleveland"):
Q: Why is everyone handing Kobe the MVP and counting me out? I'm carrying a lousy team and averaging nearly a triple-double every night. I play hard every game. I've become a really good rebounder and weak-side shotblocker at crunch time. I lift my offensive game at the end of every game and score with 2-3 guys guarding me. When I drive to the basket, I can go left or right and guys bounce off me like superballs. I always make the right pass. I always make the right play. Every time I'm on national TV, I put on a show. Basically, I became who you wanted me to be ... and if that's not enough, I'm only 23. Do you realize I'm the same age as MJ during the 63-point game at the Garden? That's right, I'M THE EXACT SAME AGE AS MJ DURING THE 63-POINT GAME!!!!!!! And you're all taking me for granted already??? Yeeeesh. No wonder MJ played baseball for two years.
--LeBron J., Cleveland

SG: Let's get one thing straight: MJ played baseball for two years because David Stern secretly suspended him for 18 months for gambling and told him to come back for the '95 playoffs. Get your facts straight. As for your other points, you're right -- you and Chris Paul are the leaders for MVP at the three-fourths mark because you're both having superlative seasons, as is Kobe, with the difference being that neither of you has Phil Jackson or a great bench, and in your case, you don't have even a borderline All-Star on your team. It's you and 11 role players. Switch you and Kobe and you'd be doing just as well, but he'd be gritting his way through every Cavs game on cruise control and leaking fake trade rumors through his agent. I also can't forgive Kobe for what happened during the first 15 games, when he moped around and pushed for a trade. Does someone do that during an MVP season? I say no.

Yes, James has been amazing, but Kobe's been Kobe, and he's been more Kobe-tastic this season than any other. His Kobe-ness has been off the chart this year, and he's hurdled that one hurdle that he's accused of not being able to hurdle, he's made the players around him much better this season. Plus, he plays a lot better individual defense than BronBron does (even if BronBron did a good job against Kobe in their two meetings this season). Kobe had this MVP award won back during the FIBA trials in Las Vegas. When all the best players in the league are gathered on one team, and even then he outplays, outhustles and outshines all of them, you know he was ready for a special year. Kobe will win it this year mainly because he hasn't won it previously, and he may not have as good of a chance to win it again. It would seem strange that one of the all time best players this league has ever seen hadn't ever been awarded an MVP award, and that fact will be factored into how people vote.

If it were only on the merit of this one season, then yes, LeBron has a very good case to make, and possibly Chris Paul has an even stronger case. Even before the Gasol trade, Kobe had a team that many were picking to finish somewhere between 7th and 10th in the West near the top of the Conference most of the season. This idea that Kobe was just 'cruising' early in the year while trying to figure out if he had a decent team around him is just bunk, also.

Bill's just bitter that it's looking more and more likely that his Celtics aren't going to make the finals, while the Lakers will.

You Totally Lost Me When You Compared Radiohead's "National Anthem" with Hall & Oates "Private Eyes"

Chris Ward posting at the LAWeekly blog, Toplessrobot.com, waxes on and on about the 7 rock songs that will never be included in Rock Band.

It's a strange list to be pining for, but if he enjoys ruefully hoping to one day being able to play along to a Phil Collins track, that's his own perversions at work, and he's welcome to indulge them.

I'll use this as a jumping off point for just 4 songs I'd like to see in this game (but probably won't)

First up, Stand and Deliver from Adam & the Ants, it's a rockin' good song (no really, it is). Simple vocals, Any song with the lyric, "The way you look you'll qualify for next year's old age pension" must get serious consideration. Simple, but crunchy guitars, are a plus, but minuses for a Rock Band version are the double drummers, and really odd vocals, still it'd be fun to attempt

Next, Concrete Blonde's (You're the Only One) Can Make Me Cry. It's a touching song, but super simple other than the vocal, so would be kind of boring for the rest of the band, but what a vocal it is. One of my all time favorite concert moments was seeing her sing this as a duet with Steve Wynn at The Whisky. (Also, if any one of the "rocker" chicks left on Idol sung this song for 80s night, they'd be a shoe-in for the next round).

Seriously, wouldn't this kick ass?

Lastly, somethig a bit more recent.Sure there's lots of horns in the song, which you wouldn't be able to play, but just transpose the horn notes to the guitar and then you have something. Great drums, great bass, great vocals, only a solid guitar track is missing, and if you just 'innovated' a bit it would work. Who says your fake guitar can only be used to match up to actual guitar notes? Break the tyranny of simulation, cross-instrumental simulation is not only useful, but it's kinky good fun. Make it happen Harmonix.

I'm Going to Go Out on a Limb . . .

. . . I've climbed the tree, I'm out on this limb, and here it goes, this post at Go Fug Yourself is the first, and will be the only ever post that features a picture of historian David McCullough.

I know that's a pretty risky prediction to make, but I'm pretty confident in my assessment.

Also, I'm pretty sure that Bai Ling, Sienna Miller, and Lindsay Lohan will all be featured some time in the next six months.

Examining the Election by Way of Pop Cultural Allusions

Jeff Greenfield, writing in Slate, examines all the elections since 1960 and suggests that many of them have come down to a choice between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, and the American electorate in its wisdom, always sides with Bugs.

In the spirit of that article, I think it's time we examine the last three remaining presidential candidates in terms of their resemblance to certain characters on Lost.

(some spoiler-ish comments will follow, so if you aren't caught up on the goings on, don't read this)

Sen. John McCain = John Locke

Sure he's crazy, sure he's cranky, but he can certainly kick some ass. Occasionally he puts his faith in the wrong people, but even when he does the wrong thing, it's for the right reasons. It's easy to picture Sen. McCain following a vision from "Tall Walt" and killing a stranger. Is that a bad thing for a President? It's for the voters to decide.

Sen. Barack Obama = Dr. Jack Shephard

I know that's a cruel comparison to make, but I think it's valid. Graceless under pressure, somewhat self-pitying, people put faith in him where it isn't warranted. Gives all the outward appearances of being a great and natural leader, yet has no proven track record of any accomplishments that would suggest he's fit for the task, and every time he's been tested has failed miserably. Also, his proudest moments seem to be when he's making his most boneheaded decisions. One other point of comparison, really, really bad taste in women.

Sen. Hillary Clinton = Ben Linus

Always reinventing himself, always scheming, always trying to work some sort of advantage. Seems to do best when put in positions of seeming powerlessness. You can have him bound, beaten, bloodied, and bruised, and yet that's when he has you right where he wants you. Favors manipulation over leadership, yet is thrust into a leadership position through sheer lust for power. Will do anything and everything and works his shadowy connections to manipulate everyone else on the island.

Not a great choice with any of them, if it were up to me, I think we should go with Sayid (I guess the real world equivalent would be Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an able leader, who unfortunately is unqualified because of nation of birth) or even Hurley (sure he's crazy, but he's sweet and usually right about stuff, no real world analog I can think of) but they aren't running for President, so we are stuck with our choices.

The Obama, Quasi-Daily Word(s) of Inspiration . . . (2008 MAR 05)

It's going to take a miracle to completely knock out Sen. Clinton before the Democratic National Convention . . .

(good thing The Obama is a demi-god)

(once again, original taken from the official Obama site)

(also, since there's been supposed racism on part of the Clinton campaign for darkening an image of The Obama, I washed this sucker out to the point where he's practically just a white guy with a tan)

03 March 2008

Six, Six YouTube, Suck IT!!!

Kat Dennings, still the queen. And she's not a fan of being 'tagged', either.

01 March 2008

The Obama, Quasi-Daily Word(s) of Inspiration . . . (2008 MAR 01)

Talk about audacity. The image above that I've pilfered and defaced, is from the official Obama website. Seriously, dude, seriously, your acolytes are scaring me a bit.

I haven't done one of these in more than a week, but Callimachus had a short post over at his place mentioning his discomfort about these images, so figured it was about time, plus there seems to be no shortage of kind of creepy Obama posters with which to play with.

If you are interested in the other Obama posters I've defaced, just click on the label "The Obama Will Wash Away Your Sins".