Blah Blah Blog


No I.D.?

The quote of the day from the Dover School District's Biology class trial...
"For all we know, the world may have been created five minutes ago and we've all been implanted with memory chips," Pennock told Gillen.
From what I've been reading the last few days, two more simpler quotes come to my mind when considering this whole case...

1) "Much ado about nothing."
Thinking back on my relatively drama-free high school years, I'm sure there were situations a bit more dicey to handle than a "four-paragraph statement read to students" about intelligent design. Let's just say there are 2 or 3 questions from the kids who always have to ask questions, and you got, what, 25 minutes a year dedicated to this?

2) "Give 'em an inch, they'll take a yard."
Four paragraphs in 2005 leads to prayer circles in '07 and ruler-wielding nuns in '11.

I just wonder if this thing has strung along this far simply due to a small-town school board's power trip? If their intentions aren't to ease into a biology curriculum that ultimately features creationism, how easy would it have been to pull the four paragraphs?

Unless their intentions aren't simply the four paragraphs. In which case, U.S. Middle District Court is where the issue ought to be.

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Forty Years of Flight

I hope everyone took a little time out of their busy Sunday to wish Scottie Pippen a happy 40th birthday. I have changed addresses a few times since Scottie last donned a Bulls uni (well, except for his brief return to Chicago in '03) so I'm sure my invite got lost in the mail. Anyway, it got me wondering what Pip has been up to? A quick Google News search reveals...

Jersey Retirement: "The Bulls will retire Scottie Pippen's No. 33 jersey at halftime of a Dec. 9 game against the Lakers." Solves the NBA League Pass renewal dilemma.

Hall-of-famer Scottie Pippen: "Former NBA great Scottie Pippen will be inducted into the University of Central Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Student Center Ballroom." (09/15)

Minnesota's Fearsome Foursome: Pip participated in Trent Tucker's celebrity golf fundraiser in the Twin Cities with his former ball-hogging teammate, Claire Huxtable's real husband, and a York High graduate (and Pitt-alum). Shooting par 72 (a magical number for Bulls fans), the ball-hog won as usual.

Scottie seems to have taken at least a mild interest in the development of current Rockets forward Juaquin Hawkins. A tip for Hawkins - ditch The Glove and start breaking down Scottie Pippen game tapes.

"Not sure if you caught this but, Scottie Pippen's nephew, William Pippen, has signed to play with the Tokyo Apache and will be coached by Joe Bryant, Kobe's father."

Apparently Scottie is benefitting from farm subsidies meant to assist small family farmers. A finesse player on the court as well as off, it appears. This cannot please Barkley.

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Power Rankings

So I'm watching the ESPN News version of the Monday Night Football half-time show last night when Sean Salisbury revealed his latest NFL Power Rankings. I've seen this done in the past in sports and I never quite understood the point. It seems like manufactured analysis since the beauty of sports is the Win/Loss column. I mean, why assign numerical values to rank something that is already ranked by numerical values?

Well, without further ado, here are my Legal Tender Power Rankings...

1) 50 Dollar Bill
Sure only 5% of all bills are 50s, but its time to be a patriot. And who better fits the bill than a man named U.S.?

2) 2 Dollar Bill
Hey, what can I say? I'm a bit superstitious. The 2 is always 2. After all, I like a 2... I can break a 2.

3) 20 Dollar Bill
The Double-Sawbuck is moving up the charts as it is fast becoming the ATM's bill of choice.

4) 100 Dollar Bill
With all those name changes, people have been tuning Sean Combs out. It's no longer All About the Benjamins!

5) 10 Dollar Bill
Until rumor becomes reality and Ronald Reagan's mug replaces Hamilton's, the 10 will continue to struggle to gain momentum.


Week 3 Weigh-In

Its strange to think that the storyline of a potentially significant injury to Donovan McNabb would take a back seat to a kicker's pulled hammy, but most of my thoughts on the Eagles week 3 win over the Raiders focus on David Akers. Why would they send him out there this week after what happened last week? Why not just make him sit out a few games and have him back healthy possibly following the bye week? Instead, he was out there to open the game, only to tweak his injury on the (official) opening kick-off. Field goal and PAT options became limited. Kick-offs were short. Still, the fact that Akers hobbled out there to kick the game-winner was an exciting conclusion to a game that was closer than it had to be.



Blah, Blah, Band-Aids

Why is it that every time I reach for a Band-Aid, my experience is new? Whether it's the material used to make the Band-Aid, the way the Band-Aid is packaged or the Band-Aid's features, it's never the same. Is this something that needs constant developing? A new and improved Band-Aid? More durability? Extra flexibility? This box contains "Advanced Healing Strips". It also contains 30 same-sized strips. This should never happen. Who gets 30 consecutive equally sized flesh-wounds? Every pack of Band-Aids must be an assortment!

That's the Band-Aid post.




For some reason, I decided not to find a game to watch during commercial breaks tonight while watching Everybody Hates Chris and The Apprentice. Man have I been missing out on some commercials!

Car commercials... MTV without the lip-synchers. Jeep's Missy Elliott commercial (still looking for clip) is the greatest. The treatment of the video in this one is inspiring. I think I want to try to pull that off with my Handycam and Focus. The Nissan Bottom Line commercial was decent too.

Tom Brady and his 5 layers of security for Visa. When you win the Super Bowl you do clever credit card commercials that are actually funny. When you lose the Super Bowl, Chunky Soup.

The Girl in the Moon Miller Lite spot... breaking ground for a beer ad. The subtle manipulation of nostalgic graphics is cool and kept my attention. A bearded Bill Walton is a bonus!

And while its not a commercial, the intro for Everybody Hates Chris is extremely well done too. Who would have thought that passing on the Air Force/Utah tilt would have turned into such a videography study?!?

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Potato's Companion

The World Wide Web, a Couch Potato's best friend:



Week 2 Weigh-In

There wasn't much reason to be concerned about the Eagles after their week 1 loss, and likewise there isn't much reason to be excited about the Eagles in their week 2 win. Donovan played pitch and catch with T.O. and the guys all game long against San Fran's "B Team". Strange that they'd bench their good players against the defending NFC champs, but hey, Mike Nolan's in charge.

Anyway, the highlight was definitely backup linebacker Mark Simoneau's (mispronounced badly by Terry Bradshaw during the halftime highlights) extra point kick. Right down the middle. Eagle fans have never been so excited about something Mark Simoneau has done on the field. Well, we did kind of like it when he gave Hugh Douglas his old number back last season.

So this week's game is against the Raiders (1:00, CBS). We'll get to see who's clown is the clowniest! As long as ol' number 5 is on target, the Birds should be in good shape.



Weekend Reading III



The Official Weigh-In: Week 1

I might as well weigh-in on the Eagles first game of the season...

As Ric Flair says, "to be the man, you gotta beat the man."

Someone please tell Jim Mora, Jr. and his Falcons team and fans that in the NFL, that really applies only in the postseason. If you're a contending NFL team, one that made it to your conference's finals a season ago, playing on your home turf and pull out a 4 point victory in September, do you seriously run around and go crazy like you just won the Super Bowl?

As for those 10 point scoring Eagles, I really feel that the loss rests on Donovan's shoulders (and bruised sternum). He was inaccurate, throwing high, most of the night. Also, his reluctance to tuck the ball and run was obvious - he probably left a few first downs on the field by not taking off. I think if Donovan completes a few of those wild passes and scrambles a bit more, the Eagles offense could have mustered another 10 or so points.

The skirmish before the game generated some excitement. The Eagles defense seemed to take a hit when it was announced that Jeremiah Trotter was ejected from the game well before it began. Well, this stellar D held up pretty well by forcing turnovers and applying pressure on Michael Pick, I mean Vick. Their run defense was probably a little more inconsistent without Trotter, but allowing 14 points has to be considered a success.

In the end, an early loss will just make the next few weeks a bit more entertaining in that there is a little more uncertainty hanging over the Eagles. They are the only team in their division who lost in week 1, so there could actually be an NFC East race for a month or so.



Sitting On My Hands

Get home from work at 5:30. Game begins at 9:00. That's a long 3 and a half when the uncertainty of a new crop of Birds is hanging over your head.

I expect there to be some focus tonight on the Eagles' malcontents. I just hope they don't lump Terrell Owens and Brian Westbrook together. T.O. is getting paid millions per in the second year of his contact; received a huge signing bonus prior to last season when signing with the Eagles; and cited taking care of his family for his hopes of a larger contract. Westbrook (it's Brian, Jay Mariotti, not Bryant) is in the final year of a standard contract given to unproven 3rd round draft picks; received no signing bonus to speak of; is as vital to the team's success as anyone on the team minus ol' #5; and honestly admits that he wants the raise so he can live a certain lifestyle.

My prediction? Eagles win 27-13.



Quote This*

* Original post revised.

Time for the quotes in email signatures trend to reverse. For some reason I find these little nuggets of wisdom to be totally annoying. What is intended to uplift and inspire seems frivolous and trivial when capping a message that reads "Thanks :)".

Recent examples:
"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's
determination" - Tommy Lasorda

It isn't until you come to a spiritual understanding of who you are - not necessarily a religious feeling, but deep down, the spirit within - that you can begin to take control. ~ Oprah Winfrey ~
Ugh. And, why?



More Picks...

I'm watching the entire Cubs/Cardinals game... must be fantasy baseball playoff time!

Anyway, here are additional Super Bowl picks. Note the Merrill Hoge column. He's got the Cowboys winning the NFC East. He didn't pick the Eagles to win their division last season either. I guess if you're an ex-fullback that can still speak complete sentences, that's good enough for ESPN. Got a hankerin' for hospital food? Wear an old Merrill Hoge Steelers jersey to a Philly home game sometime. Here's to Sal and Mort's prognostications panning out.



College Football 2005

A few takes from some College Football this weekend:

I watched the Notre Dame game vs #20 Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

2 Things came to my mind when watching this game:

#1- The Irish are back! Weis is a great coach, and he was running that same offense he ran in New England. The short, quick throws finding mismatches and exploiting whatever the defense threw at them. It was very impressive, and he doesn't even have his players in there yet!! When Willingham was there they had a tremendous defense, and a bit of luck his 1st year (which proved to be his only successful one). I felt like I was watching the Patriots play, and they scored at will against the Panthers. 35 1st half points and the game was over. We may be looking at a historical coach in the making and it wouldn't surprise me if they knock off USC when they play later this year. The Irish have a tough schedule as usual, and they should be primed to knock off the defending champs who play a bunch of cupcakes in the mean time. They are probably a few years away, but welcome back Notre Dame to prominance!!

#2- The Pats could be in trouble! That offense they have had the last few years was always ahead of the curve. I remember the year after their 1st Superbowl they opened against the Steelers who were looking to maul them physically. Weis orchestrated a game plan that had them going empty backfield in the 1st half and throwing almost every down. Completely out of character for the Pats, they torched the Steelers in that 1st half. The loss of Charlie could be devasting especially now that Belicheck will play a big part in the offensive play calling?!? Stick to the Defense Billy. Last year may have been the swan song for that Patriots team. Would that really bother anyone that isn't from Boston?

Game #2- Miami vs Florida State from Tallahassee:

Thought #1- This game has always been full of close games. Most known for the "Wide Rights" that have cost the Seminoles 2 games against the Canes and perhaps, the National Championship those years as well. Last year they played another close one, with Miami trailing by 10 at the half, they came back to beat FSU yet again. Last night's game was awful. It was a 10-7 victory for FSU, which did have some nice plays from their Tailback Booker. Aside from him, and a solid performance from their defense, FSU looked like SMU. I don't think you can find many passing performances worst then last nights debacle. Luckily i went to bed at halftime, because not only did I not miss any scoring, I heard the game ended on a botched Field Goal attempt. That would be 3 on the game for Miami. The U that is...

Thought #2- Both of these teams will likely be ranked ahead of the previously unranked Fighting Irish after the new polls come out.
This just further shows the irrelevance on preseason polls. Or any polls for that matter. It's time we get a postseason in College Football, there just isn't any other way around it. The BCS is terrible, in it's enterity it has gotten the best 2 teams to play each other only once, a year in which Ohio State played the U. They just happened to be the only undefeated teams that year.



The Mag Picks...

ESPN the Magazine's choice to play in this NFL season's Super Bowl: Vikings over Colts. We're talking Super Bowl XL Bristol, not III 1/2! Okay, even though I hate to see the Eagles get slighted, I guess they're not the worst predictions I've seen. No, the worst is Joe Theisman's selection to represent the NFC - the Redskins. I guess ESPN gave him next season's Monday Night Football gig as Al Michaels sidekick because of his fearlessness. I'm also wondering if "Stink" Mark Schlereth had to submit his choice of Ravens as AFC rep before actually watching a preseason full of B-More QB Kyle Boller's erroneous play. Nevertheless, I'll side with half of the Mag's picks and go on the record as picking an Eagles over Colts Super Bowl.

The Eagles have surprised me a bit with some of their decisions on their 53-man roster. After what Hugh Douglas gave them last season, I would have liked to see his presence return this season, but he was one of the final cuts for the Birds. Can;t say I'll miss other veteran cuts John Ritchie or Sean Landeta. The decision to go with Josh Parry at FB makes sense since he can contribute mightily on Special Teams, whereas Ritchie cannot. The acquisitions of Darnerian McCants and Lamar Gordon might work out well. These guys could actually play fairly significant roles, but the additions must mean the Birds aren't sold on Billy McMullen or Bruce Perry.

The retirement of Jerry Rice probably won't get much bad pub, but to me it falls in line with the obnoxious behavior of the NFL's top wideouts this preseason. You gotta love a guy hanging on to his last opportunity to play because he loves the game of football so much that he can't stand to leave, which was how I interpreted Rice's situation when he signed with the Broncos and was told he'd have to fight for a roster spot. Well, Rice made the team, only to retire shortly after because he was slated as the teams 4th receiver on the depth chart. That tells me that Rice may very well have been in it more to compile additional numbers rather than enjoy an opportunity to contribute to a division contender. In a league where players make frequent visits to the trainer's table, he was only an injury away from playing a huge role for a team that gave him a chance. Seems to me like Jerry Rice was sticking around for the stats rather than the game.

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Gassed Up

$40.80. I can't believe it. I mean, I drive a Ford Focus. But before making a purchase at Gung Ho Bikes, I should at least make some comparisons to be sure this really is as alarming as it seems. How much would 12.75 gallons of other frequently consumed liquids cost?

12.75 gallons of soda machine soda = $68.22
12.75 gallons of Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce = $114.75

Gas isn't so bad I guess. But why are the prices so high? I checked How Stuff Works to get the complete scoop on gas...

First off:
  • Americans drive more than 14,000 round trips to the sun per year in automobiles, light trucks and SUVs.
  • In the United States, something like 178 million gallons of gasoline is consumed every day.
  • The world oil supply acts like an asymptotic value, which is just a mathematical term for a value that gets closer and closer to another value, but never actually gets there.
Where our money goes:
  • The biggest portion of the cost of gas - about 45 percent - goes to the crude-oil suppliers.
  • The refining of crude oil makes up about 13 percent of the price of gasoline.
  • Distribution and marketing account for about 13 percent of the price of gasoline.
  • Taxes, including federal and local, account for about 31 percent of the total price of gas in the United States.
  • In order to stay in business, service stations have to add on a few more cents to make a profit.
Why the prices fluctuate:
  • Taxes are probably the biggest factor in the different prices around the country.
  • Competition among local gas stations can drive prices down.
  • Distance from the oil refineries can also affect prices - stations closer to the Gulf of Mexico, where many oil refineries are located, have lower gas prices due to lower transportation costs.
  • Military conflicts in parts of the world with lots of oil supplies can make it difficult for oil companies to drill and ship crude oil.
  • Hurricanes have damaged offshore drilling platforms, coastal refineries and shipping ports that receive oil tankers.
  • If a tanker itself is lost or damaged, or leaks its oil into the ocean, that will put a dent in the market as well.
Importing Oil:
  • Crude oil inventories have the single biggest effect on gas prices, and the United States depends heavily on foreign oil supplies.
  • In December 2003, the United States imported approximately 300 million barrels of oil.
  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a consortium of 11 countries: Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
  • These 11 nations are responsible for 40 percent of the world's oil production and hold two-thirds of the world's oil reserves.
  • When OPEC wants to raise the price of crude oil, it simply reduces production.
  • In April 2001, OPEC decided to reduce its collective production by one million barrels per day.
Domestic Supplies:
  • The United States is the world's second largest producer of oil.
  • In 2003, the United States produced about 5.7 million barrels of crude oil each day.
  • The biggest production region is around the Gulf of Mexico.
I think that just about covers it. It sounds like the prices should drop, but they never really drop back to where they were before a big spike, so the prices will continue to be higher than what seems reasonable. So what can we try? Hybrids or diesel engine cars? Car-pooling to work? Seeing how many hands are in the pie, its unrealistic to imagine an alternative fuel source being introduced to the mainstream anytime soon. I guess I'll grin and bear it - and be glad my Focus doesn't run on cans of Dr. Pepper or Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce.

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According to ESPN The Magazine presents Answer Guy...
Why is a player who comes through under pressure called "clutch"?

The likeliest inspiration for the use of clutch lies in the tightening or clutching sensation a player feels when the pressure is on. This "clutching" most often manifests in the throat area, which may explain "clutch"'s antecedant - "choke." And, yes, "choke" is an automotive term. Big deal.
Try being "clutch":
  1. Click on the "free iPod book" graphic
  2. Click the "Back" button on your browser
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2
  4. I might win some iPods

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