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5th Grader: The Fine Print

My eye caught this disclaimer as it zipped past during the credits of last night's "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader"... maybe not grossly incriminating but it has to rub off some of the wiz kids' luster, no? It's a lot like memorizing a "People: Best of 2006" from cover to cover (minus Nintendo Wii snippet, hah!) in hopes of triumphing at the annual New Year's Eve Jeopardy challenge.

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AI 6's 6

After some sub-par guesswork on the fate of last year's Idol crop, I figured I better allow myself at least one performance on the Idol stage before getting all fearless with my predictions. This year's group is unique compared to previous groups due to the fact that they're not really that, well, unique. No rockers. No twangers. And thankfully no crooners. I think the similarity in voice/style among the remaining 20 contestants is what makes this season so difficult to predict. But I'll take a shot anyway by highlighting 6 to watch:

6) Lakisha Jones: Fast start but much was the hype associated with singing last; won't fare as well as most are predicting, probably top 8 but I doubt top 5
5) Brandon Rogers: Slow start but should gain momentum; expect a top 8 finish
4) Jordin Sparks: Could be the most unique female; another top 8 finisher
3) Chris Richardson: If he can get comfortable, expect a top 4 finish
2) Blake Lewis: Probably the most versatile of the males; this season's runner-up
1) Stephanie Edwards: I was most impressed by her in the opening round; she'll stick around longer than any other female and win this thing

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Goin' Off

First off, the pretentious chef thing. I may have touched on it briefly in the past, but this issue really got under my skin after reading an email recently from a co-worker. In an announcement about an upcoming culinary event, references to Chef This Guy and Chef That Guy were aplenty. And to top it off, the email was signed by program director Chef Firstname Lastname. The funny thing is, when I first started working here at the Institute, the emailer was in the position of Admissions Director, known simply as Firstname Lastname.

Now I'm going to venture a guess that at least 99.5% of all people past and present know or have known how to cook food. I mean, it's so easy a caveman could do it. Therefore, I reason that doing something professionally that everyone else can do on at least some level is not worthy of a title. In other words... get over yourselves! Identifying the taste of paprika is a far cry from detecting coronary artery narrowing. And another thing... I'll take a Chick (with no pick) over Seared Tuna with Dueling Pepper Coulis everyday!

I think I'll stay in my Inbox for a second as it leads me to my next victim: an old English teacher. Let me tell you something Outlook spellchecker, I know how to spell Monta Ellis' name. He's not Monty. He's not Monte. He's Monta. The red squiggly line under his name reminded me of a paper I wrote in 8th grade about Isiah Thomas. The teacher circled the name in red and wrote "Isaiah" next to it. My '90/'91 Hoops cards must have conflicted with the Bible or something. Bottom line Mrs. Pitzer... mark-up my paper until your Sharpie runs dry, but don't question my NBA authority and expect me to forget about it (17 years later)!!

While we're talking spelling, let's jump into the dictionary. Since coming across The Situationist web site, I've found many of their posts and articles interesting. To keep things straight, I need a dictionary handy and my preference is Yo Merriam, Webster, what's up with including defined words in their definitions? In no way have you helped me make sense of "disinhibition." What more do I now know about "heuristics?" Mrs. Pitzer may not know how to attack a 2-3 zone, but she sure knows you can't use a word in its own definition! Turn off Colbert for a few nights and get to defining!!!

Speaking of obnoxious (in this case unintentionally so) on-air personalities, I had the misfortune of tuning into ESPN Radio this morning on my drive to work. Although I rarely listen, I find Mike & Mike to be likeable hosts, but it seems that even they cannot escape the sports-talk agenda. How in the world, with Spring Training right around the corner and so many fans craving their peanuts and crackerjack, can Roger Clemens' situation be such a headliner story deserving detailed analysis?!? It's a simple story that we've seen unfold before. It's older than the On-Star hotline guest delivering the insight. We don't care.

My use of parallels my use of ESPN Radio... you try to stay away for the most part, but sometimes you get confused and think it's the best option available. For instance yesterday, when I saw a line about Dennis Johnson passing away. I thought that the WWL would be a decent place to find a good ol' AP release, which was the case. Additionally, ESPN's trend-following user comments section trailed the standard article. The "conversation" for this particular piece highlighted the silly side of Web 2.0's underbelly. Many readers posted comments to the effect of "Even though I'm a huge Lakers fan, RIP DJ." First of all, I don't know what the whole typing RIP into a message board thing does, but how about the "Even though I'm a Lakers fan" themes? Just plain silly. I guess people talk because they think they have to in the virtual world too.

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It's Cold Outside



Two New Sites

I've really been enjoying these two new-to-me sites lately:

Pancakes recommended this streaming music site to me and since it is apparent the Old Man won't be blogging about it anytime soon, I thought I'd share the magic of Pandora with you. The service is free and simple. Type in an artist or song and a stream of songs is generated based on songs with matching criteria in Pandora's vast database of tunes. My "Run D.M.C. Radio" station first plays a Run D.M.C. song, often rarely heard album cuts, then jumps to the likes of Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Eric B and Rakim, etc. Run D.M.C. songs are mixed in with more frequency since they're the group originally entered. Give it a try.
Heptagons, x-coordinates, bar graphs... all on 3" x 5" notecards that make you think and oftentimes laugh. I find this to be a clever and very unique blog. And how about the process: Scan in an index card and post to blog, if it receives heavy feedback, offer the same graphic on a tee-shirt. Check it out.

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Who's (not) in my Fave Five?

There hasn’t been a team in the String Bean Basketball 3 who hasn’t dealt with a rash of injuries. The '06/'07 edition of the Association has been riddled with torn patella tendons and bruised shoulders. But my Papertown Shakes squad is reeling right now, for the most part due to games lost by the walking wounded. The players below would give a starting crew in this month's all-star game a good run. The players below would flat out win a 12-team fantasy league. The players below are all injured Shakes.

PG Baron Davis
SG Michael Redd
SF Paul Pierce
PF Antawn Jamison
C Marcus Camby

Obviously, two of these players are grants (players who are injured every season) and I shouldn't be surprised they’re once again sporting the business casual. But Redd, Pierce and Jamison have been durable players over the years. The hope is to get 3 players back in time to hold down the league's 2nd seed, and all 5 back to run with Gil, Dre, Marion-Lite and Shaq in the Finals.

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Super Bowl Winners

In an attempt to find the positives in an awfully bland Super Bowl, here are your winners:

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Fearless Super Bowl Pick

Rooting for the Colts, picking the Bears.



Jack the Ripper

Poker week continues...

I made this one up last weekend and it fared much better than my previous attempt at a homespun game. And it goes a little something like this:

Jack the Ripper
is a 7-card stud game that combines elements from "Follow the Queen" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". Jacks are the only wild cards in this game. If a Jack is dealt up, the following card and the other 3 cards like it are "bad" meaning they cannot be played in a player's final hand. Of course, should another Jack turn up as the game progresses, the "bad" card would then likely change. If the final card dealt face up is a Jack, there are no "bad" cards.


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