Monday, February 28, 2011

RIP Frank Buckles

    The United States lost a truly great hero on Sunday, yet he was a man that none of you probably knew.  He was not a sports athlete (most of them aren't heroes anyway, we just think they are because they can dunk) or an actor (Charlie Sheen anyone?) or even a fireman or police officer (who have always been heroes but seem to have just come into vogue in the last couple of years).  Nope, he is Frank Buckles and he was the last surviving US veteran of World War I.
     He was 110 years old, born in Missouri, and managed to be a part of both World Wars.  He entered the Army when war broke out in Europe.  He enlisted on August 14, 1917 at the tender age of 16, and carried the serial number 15577.  And boy how he tried to get that number.  He repeatedly tried to get into the military before finally lying his way in.  A Marines recruiter at a fair in Wichita, KS told him that he was too young.  He said he was 18 but needed to be 21.  A week later a different Marine recruiter at the same fair told him he wasn't heavy enough.  This time he told the recruiter he was 21.  A Navy recruiter told him he was flat-footed. Finally he went to Oklahoma City, where an Army captain demanded a birth certificate.  So he lied, said he was 18 and had no birth certificate, and in he went.
     And off he went, to Europe.  He served mostly in England and France driving trucks and working in warehouses - not the on front line for sure but still vital to the war effort - even taking German POW's home to Germany after the war was over.  He never saw combat, but always joked that he made every effort to.  As such he never was able to win any of the medals, honors, etc. that allow one to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, although family, friends, and supporters were able to lobby the federal government to make an exception and allow it.
     He was, however, a POW himself.  Curiously enough, not in WWI though.  After the war he became a sailor, working on ships going all around the world, and in that capacity was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines in 1941.  He spent 3 years in prison camps before being released.  He married in 1946 and moved to a farm in West Virginia where he and his wife Audrey raised a daughter.
     So what has Frank Buckles done to be so notable other than live longer than any WWI veteran in the United States?  Well, he has been a tireless proponent of the erection of a national official monument to WWI veterans.  Sometimes he would call weekly or even daily to find out how things were progressing towards that end, and went to Washington more times than Mr. Smith ever did in advocating its creation.
     Now that he has passed away there is no one left alive from that conflict, and we begin to count down those who served in World War II.  And hopefully his legacy will live on in a World War I national monument.  Too bad nobody who was there will ever get to see it.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Moving Day

     You might have noticed, Company, that there was no new post for you to read yesterday.  That is because yesterday was moving day, and since I have moved enough times in the last ten years to last a couple of people a lifetime, I know how much it sucks.  And this time was no exception.
      My problem is that I have a nasty tendency to procrastinate whenever I do things, and moving is no exception.  My least terrible move was when I picked up the entire Worldwide Headquarters and moved it from the US to this off-shore tax haven in one fell swoop in with very little notice.  It seems to me that when I know a long way out that it is coming, it always ends up being a clusterfuck.
     It wasn't a clusterfuck this time, but I have been working on this for some time.  I have been moving a box or two over a series of weeks, and so when it came down to moving day (the day to move all the furniture) I thought I'd be done, but on moving day yesterday and cleaning day today it seemed like it was taking forever and that it was never, ever going to end.
     But it has.  The house is pretty much set up, the garage is filled to the rafters and literally beyond, and all is set except for a couple of small things.  A plant to be hung here, a self waiting to get put up there.  Most of it involved pounding nails and that is always fun, so we are all set.
     That being said, I apologize for yesterday.  Moving day just took up all my time.  And even though it was hilarious that I had a 27 ft long U-Haul for my like twelve things, and I had a kickass helper who worked for beer, it still sucked.  So I am glad it is done.  But I am already dreading when the next time was.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Just Slide Over Here

The slide house in scenic, treeless Tokyo.
     Why walk when you can slide?  That is the poignant question posed by the good folks at Yahoo! News when they were discussing a recently completed house in the Nakameguro district of Tokyo.  That is because architects have designed it with a slide.  Oh and a tiny central courtyard that appears to be filled with colorful plastic balls.
     This house is as ingenious as it is cool.  It is three stories, with a garage contained in the first floor, and all of the living quarters are in the middle.  The stairs wrap around the one side of the house on the outside, and the slide goes down the other side (See diagram below, courtesy Yahoo! News).  I understand that if you are like me and you love having lots of windows and natural light in your home, you are thinking this is bunk.  If all of the living quarters are on the interior portions of the house there isn't going to be a lot of natural light coming in.  And to a certain degree you are totally correct.  But for the design there is still a fair amount of windows, and besides, if you look at the picture, I am not sure you'd want a whole lot of windows in the thing anyway.  There just seems to be a lot of drab homes and concrete in the neighborhood anyway, and who wants to look outside on a neighborhood that looks like an industrial park or the underside of a freeway viaduct?
Diagram of the innovative slide house.
     So it is pretty cool.  I don't know a whole lot about Tokyo, and I don't know a whole lot about Japan, but I have the sort of idea that these people have some scratch.  First of all, there seems to be a lot of features built into this house for the children, which is fine I suppose, but I would guess that would limit your potential buyers for the future, but whatever.  I guess they don't care about retail value, although I have to say that if I had enough money and needed a house in Japan, I'd buy the slide house in a heartbeat.  Another reason is that it has a sort of crazy modern minimalist feel to it that young, wealthy people seem to like, with little in the way of furniture and dark wood floors with a lot of white everywhere else.
     Also, Japanese real estate is fucking expensive, and a house that innovative could not have been cheap to design, unless of course the owner is an architect and did the designing himself.  That is a distinct possibility I suppose.  But real estate there is so expensive that there are hotels in Japan that are sort of more like lockers at the bus station where you climb in and there is just enough room to sleep and it is like you are sleeping in a torpedo tube or something.  So you could imagine how much it cost to erect this little Pee-Wee's playhouse of greatness.
     If you haven't already, you should take a look at the little slide show linked above.  It is pretty neat.  And it is very original.  I mean, it's a house with a slide for Christ's sake.  I just wonder how you clean it...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Podcast Classic: 8-2010: Wasting Time Getting Organized

This week the boys are M.I.A. so the Unpaid Interns - in lieu of creating something new and refreshing on their own - have dug shallowly into the Podcast vault and come up with a Podcast Classic from October of 2010.  In it, the boys take the time out of their busy schedules to help you get your life organized. As one would expect with the boys, they don't help you at all and the waste all of your time as you wait for them to get it done.  Tune in now, because they are at least hilarious about it - it's available now on iTunes or at left!

Spring is Springing...Sort Of.

This is coming, Company.
     Summer is coming, Company.
     Wait, what?  It is like 12° outside the Worldwide Headquarters and there is crusty snow - the worst kind of snow - all over the ground and even a little on the buildings, too.  Also, my car wouldn't start this morning and there is still hockey being played in arenas around the country, and of course all over Canada.  The "snowbirds" are still down in Florida and Arkansas and Texas and Arizona with their Buicks and Cadillacs, etc.  Also, I am pretty sure that my car was not white when I bought it, yet it seems to be white right now, and I am always getting the white on my when I am leaning against it.  Last time I checked, those are all signs of winter.
     Okay, I will give you that.  I totally understand where you are coming from, Company.  But the signs are starting to change.  Let us take a gander, shall we?  (Get it, Gander?  Geese? HAHAHAHAHA!  I am so hilarious.)
     First of all, the birds are starting to return, which is neat.  Not all of them, and the geese aren't coming back north yet, but some of the early risers are beginning to meander into the area to hang out with all the winter birds, to tell them about what it is like down south.  So that is a sure fire sign of spring, when the first birds begin to trickle in.
     The reason that they are coming in is that the angle of the sun it starting to get pretty high and it is staying light longer.  Anything that is concrete or asphalt or man made that gets snow on it loses the snow almost instantaneously.  Well, not that quickly but pretty damn quick.  It's not dark when you get home from work if you work first shift, and sometimes it almost even feels warm.  You don't quite notice it unless you are looking for it, but the angle of the sun is getting higher.
     I guess that's it.  Those are the biggest two signs.  I am sure that there are others as well.  But those are the two most noticeable, and they are stunning when you finally notice them.  So take a look around next time the sun is out.  Don't use one of those typical dreary February days, and don't try this if you live in the Pacific Northwest, but do it to it next time you are outside.  Spring is right around the corner.  You just have to look.  And believe a little bit.  And ignore the calendar.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner

     So, I tried to make breakfast for dinner last night and I had a short period of a string of epic failures.  Would you like to hear all about it?  I bet you would.
     Here is the setup, okay?  Baby Doll was going to be about 8:30 pm, and I was determined to have breakfast for dinner (henceforth known only as dinner) ready for when she got home.  I was making scrambled eggs on the stove, maple flavored breakfast sausage patties on the stove, bacon in the oven, tater tots in the oven (technically they were tater crowns but regardless they were meant to replace hashbrowns or American fries) and biscuits in the oven.  Sounds good, no?  There were also slices of cheese available, as well as applesauce and cottage cheese for those who are into that.  Yeah, I know, I live like a king.  It's good to be a media mogul.
     So anyway, that was the menu, and I was just trucking along, hurried and harried but hanging in there.  Then it all started happening.  First, I needed to drain the sausage, but I didn't have a soup can for the grease.  All I had at hand were empty soda cans.  So I went to rip the top out of an empty soda can to use for the grease, and in the process I managed to slice open a little cut on the index finger of my right hand.  It was not a big cut - like a paper cut - but it was bleeding like it was going out of fucking style.  I added the "fucking" just to make it seem more edgy.  Anyway, it was bleeding, and like any good 12-year-old I just stuck it in my mouth to contain the blood and began running around the house.  The eggs had been moved off the cooktop burner and the burner was turned off.
     However, when I cut myself I immediately dropped the hot pad I was holding in my hand, as would be expected.  It dropped right onto the turned off but still very much hot burner of the stove, and as I was running around the house with my finger in my mouth swearing it began to smolder, and then it was on fire.  So now I was bleeding profusely and the kitchen was in the early stages of burning down.  I threw the burning hot pad in the sink and sprayed some water on it from that little sprayer that is on some peoples' sinks that I never knew what it was used for until I was like 23.  That put out the flames, which was good, and it bought myself enough time to go get a bandage for my finger, which was by now almost done bleeding.  It took me all that time to think to put a bandage on.

Oops, I must be cooking lunch
or something.
      Anyway, the fire was out but the pot holder was still smoldering.  Luckily, since I was frying I had the exhaust fan on above the stove.  But the kitchen was filling with smoke and I needed a new source of fresh air.  So I opened the sliding patio door in the kitchen to let in said fresh air, but the storm door was closed.  Since we have two cats (shut up, I know) and I didn't want them to get out, I opened the storm door and attempted to shut the screen door.  It wouldn't go, but I needed it shut so I kind of forced it.  Little did I know that I was forcing it shut in a way that I wouldn't be able to open it again.
      But that was a problem for later.  I went back to the sink and doused the rest of the smoldering pot holder.  The exhaust fan made quick work of the smoke, and coupled with the stuck-in-the-closed-position screen door wouldn't even allow the smoke alarm to go off.  I used a utensil to open the rest of the top of the soda can and was able to drain the fat from both my sausage and bacon.  So the ship was righted; disaster averted.  The eggs were a little burned but hey, there had to be something to happen.  But that was about it.  Final tally was one dead potholder and five wounded eggs, so all in all not so bad.  Or was that the final tally?  Nope, there was one more casualty.  See, when I went to put the burned up pot holder away, I wrapped it up in the tinfoil from the bacon pan - which was all filled with bacon grease - and threw it in the trash.  Or at least I thought I did.  I accidentally threw the good pot holder in there, so we ended up being out of two pot holders.  But breakfast for dinner was delicious.  And I didn't burn down the Worldwide Headquarters so all was well.  But I think I am off cooking detail for some time.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Our Presidents: Grover Cleveland v 2.0

    Since 2010 on President's Day we talked about how no one cared about it, I thought that this year we would talk about a President that no one cared about, but then I realized that someone has to care about every President, right?  I mean, somewhere out there must be someone who has dedicated their life's work, or even just a masters thesis, to the life and presidency of Franklin Pierce, right?  So I decided that what I would do instead would be to pick out a President at random and talk about them, on what is going to I guess become an annual tradition for the next 50 years or so.  Great.
Handsome devil, isn't he?
     Let's start with Grover Cleveland, the second time around.  We will call him Grover Cleveland v 2.0, even though his real name was Stephen Grover Cleveland, because he has the honorable distinction of being the only person to serve two non-consecutive terms as President of the United States.  That means that somewhere between his turns as President someone else got a turn, in this case Benjamin Harrison.  But we will get to him later.  His second term lasted from March 4, 1893 until March 4, 1897, which means that he won the 1892 election, in both the popular vote and electoral college.  Interestingly enough he was the only Democrat elected to the Presidency between 1860 and 1912, which my NASA computers tell me was a span of over 22 years.  His Vice President during his second term was Adlai E. Stevenson, after whose son a lot of shit in Illinois is named.  Or after him.  Or his grandson.  They all had the same name.
     So what did he do, and more specifically what did he do in his second term?  Not a whole lot.  While he was known as a pretty honest guy, he was unable to reverse the Panic of 1893, which was a very nasty economic downturn that fucked shit up all around the country and world.  This failure badly hurt the Democratic Party which contributed to Republican landslides for the next few cycles and ushered in the Progressive Era, which I guess you could say is a pretty neat sort of thing, to usher in an era.
     Let's see, what else did he do?  Oh, he sent in the Army and US Marshalls to break up the Pullman Strike of 1894 on the railroads, which pissed a lot of people off.  But what was he supposed to do?  Railroad traffic was at a standstill all around the nation, and people needed to get places and northerners needed their grapefruit.  He heavily supported the gold standard over the silver standard, which pissed a lot of people off, because he apparently didn't know that we wouldn't be on either standard by the 1970s.  That was a bad decision.
Here he is as a young man.
      He was able to lower some tariffs during his second term, which I suppose was okay, although they weren't lowered very much.  A group called Coxey's Army marched on Washington during his term, but disbanded when they were arrested for walking on the grass at the US Capitol, I thought that was pretty hilarious.  They took grass awfully seriously back then.  He refused to annex Hawaii and also refused to reinstate the recently deposed Queen Liliuokalani, ultimately recognizing and beginning relations with something called the Republic of Hawaii that you have probably never heard of before.  He also got into a dispute with the British over Venezuela, which is about absurd as it sounds on the surface, but was able to sort of make both sides happy in the whole affair.
     Grover Cleveland v 2.0 had cancer, I bet you didn't know that.  He had it like on the roof of his mouth; it was of a type that is commonly known as Snuff Dipper's Cancer.  It looks gross to be honest, from the pictures I looked up online.  He was diagnosed in secret, and had it removed in secret.  How cool is that?  Oh, and he admitted one state to the Union: Utah.  This enabled the Jazz to have somewhere to move and John Stockton and Karl Malone to run countless pick and roll plays.
Grover Cleveland was on the $1000 bill.
How many bills have you been on?
     So that is that, I guess.  It is President's Day today, Company, and Grover Cleveland v 2.0 is just one of the many exciting and interesting people that you should be celebrating by doing what American's do on President's Day: buying mattresses and forgetting that the Post Office is closed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

You Are In America

     I wanted to include this as the first article in a serious about incredibly pretentious things, but I couldn't really think of four more so I guess that you are going to have to listen to me go on about this one particular issue: European license plates on American cars.
These things are stupid.  So there.
     Yep, I hate it, even more than I hate people who put their lake on their license plate.  I hate it more than those stupid little white ovals that people put on the back of their car, which are originally meant to show the country of origin that used to be really popular in Europe but now are getting popular in America for people to show places they like such as "OBX" for the outer banks or "VT" for Vermont which are usually found on Volvos or Volkwagens.
    Anyway I hate those fucking Euro plates, because they are not cool.  They are just pretentious because everyone, especially most Europeans, have this idea that Europe is better than the US in every conceivable way.  And maybe it is, I don't know.  But I can tell you that the folks in Folkestone aren't putting Montana plates on their Vauxhalls or West Virginia collector plates on their Princesses.
This is okay in Europe. In America? Simply pretentious.
    So why then, do we feel the need to put dumbass Euro plates, which by the way don't even fit properly on US cars anyway, on our cars?  Why did that pompous ass seem to need to put one on his new Beetle on a shitty street in a shitty town in the middle of the American wilderness?  Why did he feel the need to impress?  And who did he think he was impressing?  All he did was piss me off, and he didn't look cool.  I am not sure who was driving the car: if it was the guy in the red Adidas Run-DMC jumpsuit or the pepper-haired man in the tweed jacket with leather patches on his elbows, but I am glad I couldn't figure it out or I would have tried to kick his ass.  Bottom line is this: if you want to have a European car with European license plates so badly, move to Europe.  You seem to like it there so much better anyway. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tip Your Waitress

I'll give Keri Russell a tip.
     I went out to dinner last night, Company, and had a delicious turkey dinner.  Delicious but honestly underwhelming.  It was, however, delivered in a timely fashion with a lot of courtesy and respect and most importantly, a smile.  So you can imagine how mortified I was when I came to this morning and realized that I forgot to give the poor waitress a tip.
     I did not do so intentionally, I assure you.  No matter how poor my service has been, I have left no tip maybe once in my life, and I am pretty sure that I was under the influence of someone else.  See, the problem is that I have worked for tips before - just as many of you have before, Company - so I know how important they are as a source of income.  And, I have to honest, I didn't even work in a job where tips were figured as a major part of the income.  They were just gravy.  But I have known enough people who have worked as waiters and waitresses and bartenders, and I can understand and appreciate that spending time and effort on one customer that gives you nothing when you are only making a base wage of $3.52 per hour or whatever.  That is why I usually try to tip above and beyond what most people do.
     So needless to say I felt like shit this morning.  Very disappointed in myself.  I could see the girl being angry and disappointed when she came by and there was nothing there for her.  And rightfully so.  I would assume that she even cursed us under her breath, or maybe even out loud to her co-workers.  Again, rightfully so.  I wouldn't be upset if she had done it right in front of me, because it would have made me give her something.  So I immediately began a sort of disaster plan, which is this: since the restaurant is right next to our hotel we are staying at (I am away from the Worldwide Headquarters this weekend) I am going to bop over there this afternoon and see if she is working.  And I am going to leave her an extra big tip for the trouble, although I admit that I just thought of that part as I was typing out this post.
     This isn't about what she thinks of me, okay?  That is not it.  I don't particularly care.  This is about a couple of other things:
1.)  Me sleeping better at night.  I am not going to lie.  I feel like shit and I want to make it right.  That is what this mostly is about.
2.)  Making things right.  Things are not as they should be, karma is not aligned, the Universe is pissed off.  It needs to get back in whack
3.)  Her piece of mind.  She needs to know she did a good job and that sometimes the world does do what it is supposed to.
      So that is what I am going to do, and I hope that she is working.  If not I am sure that time will heal all wounds.  But I am going to try and make it right.  Because that is the right thing to do.  Remember, always tip your waitress folks, and don't be like me.

(Editor's Note: The damage control plan worked.  The waitress was there when I went in the next day, and she got a fat tip.  All's well that ends well.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bite Me

     I have never been a fan of the Twilight series of books.  Or movies.  Or the TV show.  It's just not my cup of tea.  Impossibly attractive looking youthful vampires running around fighting, biting, being dramatical and making out is just not for me.  Plus, I am a firm believer that being a vampire is equal opportunity, and that not all of them are going to be ridiculously good looking and under 30, okay?  I am sure there is an old and fat vampire out there, and let's be honest, that Count Chocula is no spring chicken either, okay?
     Anyway, I was never a fan of the hoardes of teenagers out there who became so obsessed with this series that they started hanging around the Hot Topic and wearing a lot of black and acting strangely goth but not quite.  Never liked it.  I beamed when they burned Hot Topic on South Park.  But now it has been taken to a new level, because it is causing all sort of legal troubles.
     The specific troubles which I am referring to involve a 15-year-old girl, a 19-year-old boy, and authorities in Florida.  Here is what went down.  Fifteen-year-old girl (well call her Girl) comes home with marks on her body.  Tells parents, authorities, whomever, that she was attacked when she was jogging in an area park and that is where the marks came from.  I don't know if you realize this, Company, but fifteen-year-olds getting attacked in public parks while they are jogging is a pretty serious matter.  It is not good for business.  It is not something that the Convention and Visitors Bureau puts on their website.  So the police go check it out, and they find no sort of evidence of an attack.  No footprints in the mud.  No broken twigs and branches.  Nothing to indicate a scuffle. 
     When they tell the girl this, she finally fesses up and states that she received her wounds through Twilight-inspired "fantasy biting" (which doesn't sound like a term a fifteen-year-old would come up with, now does it?) with a 19-year-old man, whom we will call Man.  So Girl gets bit by Man because Show is so influential.  That's fucked up.  No charges have been filed against Man as he hasn't done anything other than consensually bite someone, although I would suspect he has done some stuff that he shouldn't have with her, and Girl I would assume is in a lot of trouble.
      First, with the law.  The Monroe County Sheriff's Office has charged her with making a false report, which is a no no.  That will cause fines and possible jail time if you are naughty enough.  And I am sure she will be in a lot of trouble with her parents.  I just can't but help to get the feeling that this is one of those situations that runs a little deeper than we see on the surface.  I suspect that the words "I don't want you associating with that boy anymore" were uttered more than once in the girl's household, and that was part of the reason why she didn't want to fess up.  I am sad that she was dumb enough to think blaming some unknown attackers would get her off the hook.
     Who bites when attacking, anyway?  I know that lots of people would bite when attacked, and that I suppose I understand.  But if you are a lowlife hiding in a bush alongside of a Florida bike trail, then you aren't going to leap out and start biting the first teenager that goes by.  I am guessing that you have other things on your mind, one of which is her purse or iPod.  I will leave you to figure out the other one on your own, Company.  But you aren't going to jump out and start gnawing on someone's shoulder blade or ear lobe.
     So what does all of this mean?  First of all, teenagers are stupid.  Second of all, Twilight sucks, both literally and as a pun, and that the police aren't as dumb as they seem.  Let's all learn from this and move on.

Podcast Update: 7-2011: I'll Have the Marriage Meal with Coke, Please

     It is a very special wedding edition of the Podcast this week, as we explore the possibility of getting a McDonald's themed wedding in Hong Kong, although we aren't sure yet who we will be marrying and who we will have attending.  Then, as part of the refreshments, we get our hands on the recipe for Coca Cola and make up a whole big batch.  Add to that a cup of Twilight-related vampire biting courtesy of our news article, and you have our latest Podcast episode.  Check it out here or at iTunes or at left today!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Coke You

3 drams USP Fluid extract of coca
3 oz citric acid
1 oz caffeine
30 something (units unclear) sugar
2.5 gal water
1 quart lime juice
1 oz vanilla
1.5 oz caramel
1 oz 7X flavor

That, my friends, is supposedly the recipe for Coca Cola Classic.  Oh wait, want to know what 7x flavor is?  You have to use 2 oz of it to flavor 5 gallons of syrup.  But we have the recipe for that too.

8 oz alcohol
20 drops orange oil
30 drops lemon oil
10 drops nutmeg oil
5 drops coriander
10 drops neroli
10 drops cinnamon

     There you go.  Now you can make your own Coke.  The recipe listed above is one of the most closely guarded trade secrets.  The recipe is held in a bank vault somewhere in Atlanta.  Only two people in the company are allowed to know the recipe at a given time, and they are not allowed to travel or hang around together.  I am sure there are reams of confidentiality agreements that have to be signed.  When Asa Griggs Candler began marketing Coke on a larger scale he would personally open all the companies mail so that employees couldn't see the invoices for the supplies he was ordering.  So how then, did we here at Big Dave and Company manage to get it?

I know what's inside of you...
     Well, it is pretty simple.  We read it on Yahoo!  They, in turn, got it from the folks at This American Life, which is a radio show that airs on NPR and other stations.  What they did was a lot of exhaustive research, and they cam across an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from February 8, 1979, that was published way back on page 28 and described a notebook that once belonged to a friend of John Pemberton, the original creator of the Coca Cola formula.  This notebook had lots of recipes, but the main entry was a recipe that was believed to be for the drink.  There was even a photo of the recipe for the drink.  That is the recipe listed above.  Or is it?
     Coke, for their part, says that it is not. And I suppose they should know, seeing as how they make like eleventy billion gallons of the stuff every day.  Company spokeswoman Kerry Tressler has said that "Many third parties, including 'This American Life' have tried to crack out secret formula. Try as they might, they have been unsuccessful."  The director of Coke's archive has said that this might be the precursor to the infamous formula, but it probably isn't even the version that went to market.
     And what does it matter anyhow?  The version that went to market has changes a couple of times, anyway.  Somewhere along the way the alcohol was taken out in the 1890s when Atlanta went dry for a time, and the company started using cocaine-free coca in 1904.  Plus there was that whole "New Coke" fiasco back in the 80s - the 1980s that is.  So the formula has been tweaked and changed before, and I would suspect that as new food technologies (thanks to guys like Clark Griswold) emerge and certain other things have become cost prohibitive there have been changes to the recipe that we just don't know about.  Besides, I would doubt that you are going to run out and try to make your own Coke anyway, Company, because you don't even know what neroli is - neither do I - although I looked it up and it says that it is similar in scent to bergamot - which I also don't know what it is.  Besides, you'd be better off trying to make OpenCola, and then you can fiddle around with the recipe. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Two Men and a Machine

Two men and a machine and Alex Trebek.
    Ken Jennings won 74 games in a row on Jeopardy! in 2005.  Brad Rutter won $3.3 million in his appearances.  Watson is a giant computer named after a former president of IBM.  And, in case you haven't notices, all three have been playing Jeopardy! together.
   That is right, Jeopardy! has brought back its arguably two most successful contestents to take on a specially constructed supercomputer, made by IBM and more evolved than the infamous Deep Blue, who defeated World Champion Gary Kasparov at chess in 1997.  Over a three-day series the three will battle to see who will win, with the winner taking home a cool million bucks.  IBM has declared that they will give the prize money to charity, should they win.
     The scores are shockingly low, at least to me.  Rutter and Watson were tied with $5000 each after the first day, and Jennings had $2000 to stand alone in third place.  Each answered a number of questions right, obviously, but there were some chinks in what one would think was Watson's pretty impressive armor.  I mean, he obviously could store tons of fact and information, and he has some pretty impressive stats.  He is powered by 90 IBM Power 750 servers, has 15 terabytes of RAM (there are all those fact we were talking about),  and can do 80 trillion operations per second (that's 80,000,000,000,000,000 if I have my zeroes correct, which I might not).  It took 25 scientists 4 years to create, and only God knows how many lines of code, and how many semicolons went into the programming.
     Like I said, though, there were some problems.  It obviously wasn't the fastest to answer a lot of questions, and it did get some answers wrong.  While it got a questions about a Beatles song right ("Hey Jude", blech), it did come up with the wrong Latin word for "terminal" (don't worry, Watson, I couldn't come up with that either) and it repeated another player's mistake because it can't interact with them.  Therefore, when it came up with the answer "Beethoven" instead of "Jamie Foxx" (talk about opposite ends of the spectrum) it couldn't give a snappy comeback when Ritter joked "I get the two mixed up all the time." 
     So in the end, what is the deal with all of this business?  What do we stand to gain, short of 1½ hours of entertainment?  Well, IBM will use a lot of what they learned from the performance of Watson in more practical applications, like medical diagnosis.  They will also sort of get a gauge as to where they are in the development of artificial intelligence, or AI.  You know, where they stand and how far they have to go.  Plus, we will know by the end of the day Wednesday, February 16 just who sits on top of the intelligence ladder: The machine, or the man who made it.

(Editor's Note: Watson whalloped the two men on day two of the challenge, which was the Double Jeopardy round of the first of two games.  The second game will be anormal format on Wednesday)

(Editor's Note: Final 3-day tally: Watson $77,147, Jennings $24,000, Rutter $21,600. On the screen with his correct Final Jeopardy answer Ken Jennings wrote "I for one welcome our new computer overlords.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

     Today is Valentine's Day, Company, and if you are a boy who has forgotten your special lady friend then you had better hurry up and get some flowers and candy before it is all gone or the only shit left is all crap.  And do you want another tip?  If you forget, or don't get out in time, just fess us and do something super nice tomorrow.  Don't come in with a pack of Uno cards from your friendly local gas station.  Oh, and I almost forgot: If you are a lady and have forgotten that it is Valentine's Day, don't sweat it.  You guy has probably forgotten too and you guys can just avoid it this year.
     Anyway, like I said it is Valentine's Day and the flowers are rolling into the Worldwide Headquarters, and I have to admit that I am flattered but I can't be EVERYBODY'S valentine, Company.  No, I am just kidding.  They are for the female members of the staff, each of which have a very different idea about just what is appropriate for the holiday.  Some dig it.  Some abhor it.  Some just don't care.  The trick is finding out just what your particular woman thinks.
     Sometimes you hit the mark just right, sometimes you fall a little short, and sometimes you go way overboard.  Just remember, the important thing is that you just show how much you love the person and how special they are to you.  That and the snowballs.  You have to make time for snowballs.  So just do something nice, let them know that you care.  That is what it is all about.  Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Traditions

     Unless you are calendar-challenged, you probably know that tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  It is actually St. Valentine's Day, but we like to shorten things so we usually just call it Valentine's Day.  It is a special day that always falls on the 14th of February on which people express their love for one another, schoolchildren are forces to express their love for everyone in their class no matter how bad they smell, singles become increasingly bitter, and mobsters engage in mass murder.  And this is going to be a radically different Valentine's Day for me.  Sort of.
A pair of local nuns celebrate St. Valentine's Day in the traditional manner
     Normally my Valentine's Days are pretty simple - classic even.  I would spend the day at work if it was a weekday, or lying on the couch in my underwear watching college basketball and occasionally touching myself if it was a weekend day, and I would begin getting blackout drunk at around lunchtime.  Then, a little later after it got dark, I would go out in the community dressed like Rambo to hide behind snowbanks and hurl hastily made snowballs at happy couples as they emerged from the Valentine's Day dinners.  That's pretty simple, and I have done it for years.  It is almost like a tradition.
      But this year, things are going to have to change.  See, this is the first year in quite some time that I haven't been single on Valentine's Day, so I am feeling a little bit differently about the whole thing.  Now that I am not quite as bitter and washed up as I have been in years past, I want to express my feelings about my Baby Doll through chocolates and overpriced flowers, and maybe a criminally overpriced Valentine's Day card that costs more than a handjob down in Little Hanoi.  But I digress.  See the thing is, I don't have that deep, bitter hatred towards the happy couples who are out having dinner.  I mean, I am a little jealous that they can afford to go out for an expensive dinner to go with their expensive flowers, cards, candies, and Volvos, but that is neither here nor there.  I don't feel the jealousy that they are sort of in love, but I am torn by my desire to a.) keep with traditions and b.) throw snowballs at people.  I have, however, figured out a way to mate all of my Valentine's Day situations into a single outing that will make everyone happy.  Or at least everyone who matters.
      If you looking for me out on the town, I will be the guy out behind the snowbank with his girlfriend throwing snowballs at the guy who is throwing snowballs at the happy couples as they leave the restaurant from their Valentine's Day dinners.  I might even make sure that some of them have ice in the middle of them, both for distance, accuracy, and lethality.  Also because it is just plain fun.  See, I came to the realization quite some time ago, that Valentine's Day is really all about the snowballs, and as such we have to keep up tradition.  If you can do it while expressing love, then that is all the better.  But you have to keep up tradition.  So happy Valentine's Day a day early everyone, this is your last chance to get a gift together, to make that grand romantic gesture.  And you only have one more day to stake out your spot behind the snowbank.
    

Saturday, February 12, 2011

May I Borrow A Cup Of Sugar?

Nobody is asking for this.
     I don't know about you, Company, but I watch a lot of television and the occasional movie.  Now, we all know that there are certain things that are not realistic about what we get beamed into our living rooms on a daily basis.  You know, like when the A-Team blows the shit out of some bad guys' Jeep and it flips over but they are fine - no cuts, no bruises, no nothing - and the A-Team can roll around with some sort of hilarious quip and turn them over to the Army, which always seems to be coming right along on their heels.  That shit doesn't happen, okay?  If you flipped an open top Jeep as a result of an explosion you aren't going to be fine.  You are going to be fucked up something fierce.  Also, the Army doesn't just tool around America chasing convicts in green sedans, okay?  I don't know if you have ever seen the Army moving around the country, they tend to drive bigass trucks and move very slowly in convoy fashion.
     Anyway, to attempt to get back on track, one of the things that always seems to be happening in Hollywood's made up worlds is the neighbors are always asking for a cup of sugar, usually as a means of getting them into the situation when they really have no reason to be there.  I contend that this is non-realistic, because when was the last time you asked someone to borrow a cup of sugar?
      I know I never have.  And I know that I have never had anyone ask me for that. Seriously.  There have been times when I have wanted to ask someone for a cup of sugar, but I have never been able to bring myself to do it.  It just seems too cliché at this point in time, so there have been instances when I have actually gone out and purchased sugar in lieu of walking next door and asking for some.  The sugar then invariably goes to rot because I just don't use enough to make it worth my having any.
      But then again I don't bake.  And by in large anyone who would be wandering around asking for a cup of sugar would be someone who could bake, and would like to bake, and those types usually have plenty of sugar floating around in their kitchen.  And they aren't the type to bake without checking up on their supplies anyway.  And even if the unlikely event were to occur when they ran out, it would be worth their time to go get some more at the store, plus they are out of chocolate chips anyway.
     So where did this cup of sugar thing come from?  And why won't it go away.  I suppose that it is just ingrained in our psyche - pun definitely intended.  Or maybe that God-awful Def Leppard song "Pour Some Sugar On Me" has made it slightly dirty and now they leave it in because of that.  Who knows?  I don't.  What I do know is that there is not really an epidemic of sugar borrowing going on in the world today.  Sugar supplies are not currently in short supply.  There are not legions of zombie-like sugarless people wandering the streets of suburban anywhere.  So let's cut it out.  Let's figure out a better way to get neighbors to our doors.  That is the least that Hollywood can do for us, right?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Serving Up Some Eats

The only thing I do better than these guys is look good in a hat.
     Are you ready for this one, Company?  I am in awe of professional chefs and cooks.
     There.  I said it.  Those guys can do some pretty sweet stuff, and to do it under the sort of time restraints that they have is amazing.  Think about it like this: if you go to a gourmet restaurant, your food is probably brought out to you like a half hour after you order it, and each of those meals is made fresh and prepared specially.  Granted, they usually have quite the staff working in the kitchen, but still.  That's impressive.
     I came to this sort of realization and appreciation the other day when I decided I was going to make dinner.  Sautéed shrimp and vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms and onions, with a little fresh tomato on mine after it was done cooking because I don't do shrimp) with a Parmesan garlic sauce over spaghetti.  Sounds pretty fancy-pants, doesn't it?  I know, that is what I was going for, but the neat thing is that it isn't terribly difficult.  That is about as invested as I get when cooking and let's be honest, if I can do it, you can do it too, Company.
     That being said, cooking still is stressful for me, mainly because I have trouble managing all the parts at the same time.  It is like extreme multi-tasking.  I was cooking all sorts of stuff in all sorts of ways: boiling and sautéing and tossing and chopping and draining and stirring and etc, etc, etc for a bunch of stuff that all has to be done at the exact same time.  I wish that I was Vishnu with all the extra arms to help me get stuff done.  There are four burners on the stove and I was running out.  It was nuts.
     And oh the mess.  The kitchen was, at one point in the middle of this escapade, an unmitigated disaster.  FEMA was actually there for a little while with their trailers and the whole nine yards.  They even had the guys with clipboards along for the ride.  Thankfully, I got it sort of straightened up by dinnertime and all the emergency responders could go home to their families.  In the end though, it was sort of successful.  It tasted good: all the right flavors were there in the right order and proportions, but in the shuffle the sauce didn't come together like it should have.  The stirring got lost to the sautéing, but that is life.
       So anyway, the point is that I couldn't pull it off perfectly one time in my own kitchen, but professional chefs and cooks do it hundreds of times a day.  They do it over and over and over.  So hats off to them and their craft, you guys deserve it.  Whether your are a line cook at a greasy spoon or you have a tremendous amount of stars affixed to your restaurant's name, you deserve a little bit of thanks.  And a little bit of admiration.  Keep up the good work.  I am pretty hungry you know.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Podcast Update: 6-2011: From Search Engines to Speedway

In a very special episode of the Podcast this week, we try to rebound from the train wreck that occurred just seven days ago.  Before we can even get to our news article about a man in Connecticut who calls 911 to ask how much trouble he would get in for growing a pot plant, an episode that was supposed to be about the Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, and ancient Finnish beer turned into an episode about search engine results, a trip to Speedway, and ancient Finnish beer.  Tune in an join the hilarity.  Don't forget to use the links at left to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or send an e-mail to the boys on the podcast by clicking here.

Whining Crybaby

This picture has nothing to do with
today's topic. The Unpaid Interns
just thought it was cool.
     I came to the stark and utter realization yesterday that I am rapidly approaching my 1,000th blog post, which I think it quite an accomplishment for something we all thought would fizzle out about two weeks after it began.  In that light I realized that it has been an excessively long time since I have bitched and moaned about the fact that I have yet to be named a "Blog of Note" by the good folks at Blogger.  So I am going to bitch about that now.
     There are a lot of really, really bad blogs out there, okay?  Now, I am not saying that this is not one of them because 92% of the time it is, but I would like to think that what I lack in quality (which is, again, a lot, I admit) I more than make up for with quantity and dedication.  I write like 28 posts each month, which is more than a lot of the blogs of note have, oh, I don't know, ever.  Let's take a look at some of the more recent additions:

- Please Welcome Your Judges  Okay, this one is pretty good.  Enjoyable, readable, and devoted to pop culture and television.  It is also updated regularly.  I have actually started following it.  Minus points for the giant Blogger logo with "an official Blog of Note" that is staring me in the face every time I go there though.

- Baking My Way Through Germany  The blogger here has actually taken a lot of time and care into her product, and her blog looks fantastic.  It, too is updated regularly and chronicles her journey at becoming a baker in Germany.  So that is cool.  I guess I understand why it is a Blog of Note.

-  My 1-2-3 Cents  This one seems to be about wrestling, like WWE or whatever wrestling.  Not my cup of tea, but again, this is a blog that they are taking the time to keep up and write for.  In fact, Kevin (the writer) is more prolific than I am, which concerns me.  Maybe I am not writing enough.

-  The Tiny Leaf  This one is copyrighted, which is cool, but I am not sure why.  There is only one post available to read, from the day after it became a Blog of Note, and it is respectfully declining, which I guess is fine but which I opine is nuts and a half.  But the writer I am sure has their reasons, and if that is what you want then more power to you, I am not going to hold you back.  But I think it is strange that she gets to be a Blog of Note just on the strength of declining her Blog of Note nomination VIA POETRY!  That is actually really, really, innovative and ballsy.  You know what?  You're cool.  I like your style, lady.

Okay, so what have we learned here in our little tour of Blogs of Note?  Hmmm...not much.  That there are lots of deserving Blogs of Note that are actually Blogs of Note.  That you can be ballsy and they still will nominate you.  Also, that none of those other people seems to be as bitchy as I am.  Maybe that is why I don't get to be a Blog of Note: You know, the incessant whining.  Oh well.  We will keep up the fight until it happens. 

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Building Your Lego Life Castle

In this post, these are events and identities.
     Here is the deal, Company, and I am only going to say it once, so you had better listen up.  The things you do will always be a part of you.  So you might as well fess us and just deal with it.
     Let me give you a prime example, okay?  If you are in a car riding with some friends to Spring Break, and you let the most atrocious fart in the history of mankind, you are always going to be known for that fart.  You can't get rid of it, not ever.  You could be President of the United States, and you could have just brokered a peace deal between cats and dogs, and you would still be that President who almost asphyxiated his buddies on Spring Break that one time.  That is just how it works.
     See, life is sort of like building a Lego castle with bricks that you can never remove.  Because time only goes in one direction - forward - you can only add bricks and you can never subtract.  Now, you can put all other sorts of bricks on and around a certain brick, but you can never take it away.  It will always be there.  You start with that flat green piece when you are born.  Immediately people begin building the castle for you.  Your parents give you a name brick that you can never take away - say Emily.  You can change your name to Ladysmith Black Mombasa when you are 23 if you would like, but you can never change the fact that your name was once Emily.  That block will always be there.  There will just be a Ladysmith Black Mombasa block stacked somewhere else in the wall.  The blocks are added as you go along in life: the circumcision block, the broken arm block, the failing high school biology block, the clergy block, the award winning author block.  Whatever.  You keep stacking them throughout your life but you can never, ever take them away.
      So what is the deal with that?  Why are you telling me this?  That is sort of depressing to know that we can't truly ever undo what we have done.  That no matter how retarded the castle looks we can never go back and start over.  It doesn't have to be depressing though, you just have to accept it.  Whatever blocks are there are there.  You might not like that the falling in the septic tank block is in your Lego Life Castle, but it is there.  And it is important because it is supporting other, later additions.  So even though it is ugly and it sucks there is some sort of merit to it.  It is part of your castle.  It is part of you.
     The important lessons to take away from this little discussion, Company, is that 1.) Legos are cool and b.) you just have to be careful what blocks you pick out for your castle.  Granted, sometimes you don't pick the block and someone puts it there for you, but in the end you have a great amount of creative control.  And you have an infinite number of Legos out there to choose from.  So choose wisely, but remember that no matter what comes out in the end, your castle is cool.  Because it is yours.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Morning After

Well, it is the day after the Super Bowl, and I am sure that call-ins are at record levels all across the nation, but that is okay.  There are a lot of happy people in Wisconsin, and a lot of unhappy people in western Pennsylvania I am sure, but that is just the nature of the beast.  Anyway, congratulations to the Green Bay Packers on their championship, and congratulations too to the Pittsburgh Steelers, since losing in the Super Bowl isn't all that shabby.  All that being said, let's get to some thoughts and comments about Super Bowl XLV, which is Roman numerals for Super Bowl Go Look It Up Online You Lazy Fuck:

- The halftime show was awful.  Truly awful.  About the only two things that I can say about, nay - fourthings, are that Fergie is still smoking hot, Slash didn't fuck up his part, Usher can dance like it's going out of style, and at least we know that the Black Eyed Peas were actually singing and not lip syncing.  This is worst performance I have seen since I saw Blink-182 on Saturday Night Live and they were singing noticeably off-key for an entire song, and this Super Bowl halftime is worse I think because of all the money spent on it, time spent on it, and all those stupid fucking dancers that look like they spent too much time living near the nuclear power plant when they were kids.

The Fort McHenry ramparts in Baltimore of which
Christina forgot to sing.
 -  Speaking of awful: Christina Aguilera.  Awful all around: she looked awful.  She was dressed pretty awful.  She sang awful.  And she didn't even get the words right.  Here is the deal Artist Formerly Known as X-tina: when you sing the Super Bowl National Anthem, nobody gives a shit that you are doing it, okay?  It is an honor, yes, but in the end everyone including but not limited to the players and fans, just sort of want you to go out and do it and be done with it.  You have a great voice, I am not sure that we can dispute that (or at least I wouldn't) but you don't need to be fucking with the rhythm and cadence of a song that is hundreds of years old.  You want to do a killer Super Bowl National Anthem?  Just go out there and sing it like it is supposed to be sung then get the hell out of the way.  I bet you get put in the top ten.  As for the words thing, I will give her a pass; we all make mistakes.  Dial up the pressure and the moment and the fact that for whatever reason she wasn't singing the melody she was supposed to be, and I can see it happening.  Also, you wear WAY, WAY, WAY too much makeup to be appearing in closeups on HDTV.  Way too much.

-  I walked away from a lot of the Super Bowl Commercials saying "They spent $3,000,000 on that?"  Because Super Bowl commercials were going at $3 million per minute, and then you ad on top of that how much it cost to get Eminem to cruise around Detroit in a Chrysler 200, or how much CGI it cost to make a bunch of people want a Hyundai Elantra, and you are talking big bucks.  Winners: The Chevrolet Lassie spinoff, The Eminem commercial, and the NFL one with all the TV personalities with NFL merchandise on.  Dig it.  I don't watch for the commercials anyway, I watch for the game.  And can somebody please, please, please bring back the Bud Bowl?

For $612, Jerry Jones and the NFL will
let you sit here, and you will still
count in the attendence total.
 -  The football wasn't all that great.  There I said it, if you aren't interested in sports then you can skip this one, but the football wasn't all that great.  I thought a lot of the game was boring.  I thought both sides were mistake-prone.  I thought there were a lot of potentially amazing plays that weren't made.  I mean, there were definite highlight moments, and there were a lot of exciting times, but I just sort of thought it was sloppy all around.  Then again, how many Super Bowls have I played in, right?

-  The star power was out.  How do you think it went down: Did George W bring Condoleeza Rice to Jerry Jones' booth, or was it the other way around.  And why the hell was A-Rod there?  He should have had to buy a ticket, God knows he can afford it.  And where was Bush, Sr?  George Herbert Walker Bush, the likeable Bush?  Where was he?  Yeah, the stars were out, but it just made me angry.  Oh, and Fox?  Using a girl from Glee, which conveniently was on right after the game, to sing America the Beautiful?  That was shameless.  Jerry Jones shameless.  At least she got the words right, so that was nice.

Shameless
 -  Speaking of shameless: Jerry Jones.  He was never anything but transparent about setting a record for Super Bowl attendance, which meant even more money, which made me hate the guy even more.  First of all, let me just say that I am glad that he got burned on that whole missing seats thing: there was no reason to bring in 1500 extra seats or whatever just to set the attendance mark, and there was doubly no reason to create that bogus outside patio where people could watch the game and still get counted towards the total, so I was glad that he had to refund all those people money and that he and the NFL got a ton of egg on their faces.  Shows just what greedy, chauvinistic bastards they can be and have become.  I have to give huge props to the fire inspectors in the City of Arlington or Tarrant County or from whatever jurisdiction they are from for sticking to their guns; it would have been really easy for them sign off on those seats what with the amazing amount of pressure they must have felt from Jones, the Cowboys, and the NFL.  Good job guys.  Glad to see someone didn't get swept up in the hype.  Oh, and to the retarded moron who wasn't happy with his refund times three that he got for his essentially worthless ticket and asked "What about our hotel and travel expenses?"  That is why they are paying you three times the face value of your ticket.  To help defray those costs.  You still were there, and you were part of a great controversy that you can tell your kids about.  Settle down, it's just football.

So now football is over, and we have like a week or so until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training and we can get into the baseball spirit.  And March Madness is right around the corner.  And if you are into the NBA the playoffs start I think tomorrow and wrap up sometime in mid-June from what I hear.  You will have to call Canada to find out about hockey.  But it was a good Super Bowl, or at least a memorable one.  I almost can't wait for next year.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday

This is all you get for winning?
     As I type this word it is 9:23 am, and I have suddenly realized that it is Sunday, and I am sort of wondering what happened to both Saturday and Friday night.  Well, I can tell you what happened to Friday and Saturday: work and travel sort of put those days by the wayside, which is why I had no posts for you the last two days.  My apologies for that, but hundreds of miles in the car, plus work and a party for a 4-year-old, just didn't leave time.  And with ever more strict bans on texting and talking on the phone while driving, I thought that writing blog posts would be uncouth, even if it is not specifically forbidden by law.
     Anyway, this is not any normal Sunday, it is the first Sunday in February, which means that it is Super Bowl Sunday, a day unparalleled in American sports and culture.  Although the game won't be on for another 8 hours or so, the pre-game commentary and tomfoolery has already begun, I assure you.  There are men with no hair or hair that wouldn't move in a hurricane are talking about things that the average person doesn't care about - like what Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace had to go through while remodeling his kitchen or what Packers running back Brandon Underwood is going to be wearing under his uniform.  You know, stuff that no one really cares about except maybe for Mike Wallace or Brandon Underwood or maybe Chris Meyers.
     Yet somewhere in Western Pennsylvania or anywhere in Wisconsin someone dressed like a lunatic will be sitting on the edge of their couch listening to Terry Bradshaw dissect how Wallace's new kitchen will help him get more yards after the catch, or YAC as they seem to like call it.  And I don't know why.  I love football, and I will be glued to the television for the big game - like roughly a third of the rest of America and a whole bunch of other people around the world - but I am pretty much not going to pay any attention to the pregame bullshit.  There is nothing new to be said.  See, it has bee two weeks since the last game was held (the Pro Bowl doesn't count because it sucks balls) and so in two weeks everyone in a suit on a sports channel has already dissected ever possible angle.  Therefore, a whole day directly before the game isn't going to make any difference.
     A lot of people will be watching the game just for the ads, and that is okay.  If you get something other than football out of the game, and it floats your boat, then more power to you.  You still count in the ratings.  Good luck to both teams playing today - win or lose you still have a lot to be proud of.  Enjoy the experience, and the same goes for the fans.  Don't get all upset should your team lose.  You still got to see them in the Super Bowl, which is more than the fans of 30 of the other teams can say.  So enjoy the ride.  And have a wonderful Super Bowl Sunday everyone.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Bacon Explosion

I can't even think of anything to write about this because there are tears in my eyes.  Check out Bacon Explosion.  Pay particular attention to the photos of how to prepare the dish - it makes a fat kid weep.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Podcast Update: 5-2011: Choose Your Own Adventure

     This week, on an all-new Podcast, Big Dave and Mike-a-licious struggle to emote just a little less as they talk about Choose Your Own Adventure books and how their publisher, Chooseco, does things the way a business should.  Oh, and they are getting attacked by Kona the Wonder Puppy all the while.  Add a news article about a French company selling girlfriends on the Web, and you have all the makings of...well, a complete, epic train wreck.  Tune in today on iTunes or at left!

Old Men and Shooty Hoops

Ouch. Super Ouch.

     One of my favorite South Park episodes is the one where the boys dance like High School Musical and the kid who is good at basketball has the dad who slaps everyone silly, and he always calls basketball shooty hoops.  So sorry about that.  The real title of this post should have been called "Old Men and Basketball."
     Some of my friends and I started playing basketball exactly one week ago.  They wanted to do a Gus Macker tournament, and I was more than happy to help them get in shape by showing up on Thursdays to play 3 on 3 or 4 on 4 or whatever on whatever.  It is not like running around a little bit is going to hurt me any.  But we are a mix of middle aged guys, myself - who is sort of a tweener - and teenagers.  Not playing a lot, and then starting to on a cement floor, it was bound to be a problem.  It was bound to get somebody hurt.  And it took exactly one week.
     That is right, someone go hurt tonight.  We had to pack it up and call it early because a body kept moving when an ankle decided to stop.  It is not catastrophic, at least it doesn't seem so.  He could sort of walk on it, and he was able to get it.  So it is not broken and he didn't snap something that ends in the initials -CL, so that is good.  But it only took two times.  Two times and we had our first injury.  And of course it was not to one of the kids.  Oh well.  I guess that we will see what happens next week.  I suppose we should have the paramedics there, shouldn't we?
     Editor's Note: Just in case you were wondering, the picture at top is the X-ray of NFL running back Najeh Devenport's broken ankle.  Sucks to be him.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Chooseco, World of Warcraft, Groundhog Day, and Full Strength Coffee

CYOA #8: Escape - My favorite one
     I spend a lot of time on the blog writing about how bad certain businesses are with customer service, or just being businesses in general, so I think that it is only fair that I mention a business that does things well, or acts in way that all of us want businesses to act.  A couple of days ago I wrote a post about Choose Your Own Adventure books and how much I liked them.  Then, something surprising happened. Or at least surprising to me.  A representative of Chooseco sent me an e-mail (bigdave@bigdaveandcompany.com) to say that she enjoyed my blog post about the books.  She commented that she likes to see how fans have enjoyed their books, especially since the publishing run has spanned several generations.  I was floored.  It made my day.  I think that it is so fantastic that a company would reach out to its fans like that.  That is how business should be done.  Go out and buy Choose Your Own Adventure books or any of the other books published by Chooseco.  Support a company that does things the right way.
     I was lying in bed last last night watching reruns of South Park, and they showed the World of Warctaft episode.  I noticed somewhere in the episode a date of 2006, which made me sort of take notice.  First of all, it has been five years since World of Warcraft was at its height, and second I started to wonder what the hell happened to it.  Five years ago, everyone I knew was playing what they called WOW, and they were all bugging me to play along.  I refused, and unlike Facebook I won that battle because I never played the game.  I do, however, remember all my friends and companions and acquaintances (if I ever had to spell that word in a spelling bee, I would just throw up my hands and say "I'm out!" because I never spell it correctly - another word like that is guarantee) were all geeked out because a lot of the lingo and stuff they use in the South Park episode is real WOW terms.  That, to me, was the height of super ultimate geekery, but then again I have gotten an erection over road signs, so who am I to talk?  Anyway, nobody talks about World of Warcraft anymore, and I don't know of anyone who admits to playing it.  Sucks to be WOW.
     Somewhere along the way in my life I became a coffee drinker.  I am not sure why, and I don't think that I am totally addicted to it yet, but I have a cup or maybe two every morning.  I can get by without it if I have to, but I think I just like to have a little hot liquid going down into my insides - especially in the wintertime - and plus it is always made and ready when I get to work and I don't have to make it like I would tea or hot chocolate.  And am a lazy, lazy person.  The point is that we usually have coffee with half the caffeine, or half-caff, and that is fine.  But the last couple of days, Dr. J has been making real coffee with all the caffeine and none of the pansyness, and I have been like an ADD kid who has just eaten a Hershey bar.  I am bouncing off walls.  I am fidgeting - a lot.  And I can't seem to focus.  Dr. J says he feels like Beavis when he turns into Cornholio.  Me too, a little.  It is freaking me out just a little bit.  We should probably get the half-caff back, just for everyone's safety.
     By the way it is Groundhog Day today, and Bill Murray is nowhere to be seen.  It doesn't matter whether or not your friendly local groundhog saw his shadow or not, it is still going to be cold as hell.  I hope that those wackos in Pennsylvania had fun standing outside in the blizzard/ice storm waiting for Phil to come out of his burrow, and I hope that he was smart enough to stay in bed.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Stanger In A Strange Land

     Two and a half years ago I picked up the Worldwide Headquarters, LLC Inc. and moved them into a tiny Midwestern town in order to get the kind of corporate tax break that makes normal people angry at the government.  And, because I am a dedicated member of the community, I went out and got a job with like ten other people - most of whom are in their 50s with one exception - and almost all of whom grew up and have lived their lives right here in this little town.
       Now, I have always felt pretty good about how far I have come in my time here.  On the rare occasions when I have ventured out of the Worldwide Headquarters I have been fortunate enough to meet many wonderful people who I have nothing but compliments about, which I feel is a feat since moving into a small town where everyone knows one another is not easy.  When I first moved here the police used to follow a block behind me as I walked through town, and one guy even rolled down the window of his car to ask me why I was walking down the street.  But, like I said, I was able to sort of break through with the kindness of strangers who quickly became friends and I am at the point where I know someone just about everywhere I go.  That was always sort of the hallmark of my fitting in in my mind.  Anyway the point is that this little town has been pretty good to me - not only has it sprouted an almost-award winning podcast and provided me with the most important person in my life.  Yet sometimes I feel like such a stranger in such a strange place.
      It usually happens when a bunch of the local folks who have lived here forever get together and start talking about people that I do not know and places that are not around anymore.  Like for instance, some born and raised local comes in and everyone knows them, walks by and says hello like they have known one another for years, and they sit and chitchat about stuff that happened years ago.  At Parker's gas station.  There is no Parker's gas station in town, but I guarantee that there is a gas station that used to be Parker's in the 70s and is now an Exxon.
     That is the other thing.  Lots of people tend to refer me to landmarks that either a.) are called something else now or b.) you would only know about if you lived here forever and grew up here.  "Oh, go down the street, take the second left, and she lives right next to Larry Durgon's house."  That is fine but I don't know who Larry Durgon is and I sure as hell don't know where he lives.  Sometimes it is a step farther, where they live next to Larry Durgon's hold house, and then I am doubly screwed because Larry has been dead for five years and I can't even look for a sign in the yard.  The other thing that people absolutely love to do to me is to refer to restaurants and bars by names that they had years ago.  So then I get all excited and think there is someplace that I have never known about that I can go eat at.  But there isn't.  I have been there.  I just live in the now and don't call it the name that it had in 1991.
     The other way that sometimes makes me feel like I am really out of place is when everyone is looking at something from the perspective of a 50-year-old, which is fine because that is what most of the people I am around are, but I am not so I tend to think a little differently.  I am sure that in 20 years my thoughts will run along the same lines, and I will be cursing the youth of the day.  But that is not the point.  The point is that I am the youth of today so I tend to think like the youth of today, and sometimes I just can't handle it.
      Don't think that I am complaining, even though I am a little.  I am mainly just observing and reporting.  I understand that, as an outsider, there are a lot of views I have and things that I do and say that they probably don't care for or that frustrates them.  And that is okay.  I do feel that this is my home, and I feel like part of the community, and I like it here (especially the massive corporate tax breaks and very conservative income reporting laws, especially in regards to my corporate jet) but sometimes I just feel like a stranger in a strange, strange land.