Hodgepodge Tuesday

Got an extra $2.35 million just burning a hole in your pocket? You could have put in a bid for a 1909 Honus Wagner.

Apparently MSNBC thinks that it is news to report that a video on YouTube was staged. Next thing you know, they'll be reporting that this is fake.

Speaking of YouTube, here is one more reason why good sports don't involve the use of the head.

A suicide bomber killed 23 in an attack on the U.S. military base in Afghanistan where Vice President Cheney was visiting. Cheney was not harmed. I'm not saying I wish he got killed, but I hope now the administration has a better idea of how their policies are being received. Perhaps we aren't being "greeted as liberators" everywhere we go.

Most of you reading this: a new study says you are narcissistic and have an unhealthy sense of entitlement. The study asserts that narcissists “are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors.” ...narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism and favor self-promotion over helping others. Seems accurate. In a statistical contradiction, 66% showed above average narcissism. So to do my part for the common good, let me just say, you all suck.

If anyone is wondering if Al Gore will be running for the Democratic nom for 2008, I'd say fat chance.

Dow Jones Industrial Average, you suck.

Random Sampler Plate. Tuesday Quick Hits. What is up with all these cheap knock-offs? The original Hodgepodge Tuesday can only be found here, at Vote Dark Horse|Vote Dorshorst.

Let's end with some Chuck Norris.


Winners and Losers

I assume the 79th annual Academy Awards finally concluded sometime last night. There were no surprises among this year's winners. Forest Whitaker won Best Actor for The Last King of Scotland. Helen Mirren won Best Actress for The Queen. Alan Arkin won Best Supporting Actor for Little Miss Sunshine. Jennifer Hudson won Best Supporting Actress for Dreamgirls. Martin Scorsese finally won Best Directing for The Departed, which also won Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Editing. Pan's Labyrinth won for Art Direction, Cinematography, and Makeup. Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Children of Men, Volver, Blood Diamond, United 93, The Prestige, and Half Nelson were also notable nominees that did not win.

All of these films/performances were highly praised, and I assume are very good, but I have to admit, I have not seen any of the nominated films yet. I doubt you have seen any either, based on the box office numbers for 2006. The Benchwarmers, The Fast and Furious III, Miami Vice, Big Mamma's House 2, RV, and Nacho Libre all grossed higher than all but The Departed and Dreamgirls, which still got beat by Talladega Nights, The Da Vinci Code, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. The top films this year are Norbit, Stomp the Yard, Ghost Rider, and Epic Movie. And I weep.


Last week, the AP voted WI #1 in men's college basketball, and the coaches voted us #2. This led to a bit of celebratory boasting around the state. I held off here, knowing that the next two games would be at Michigan State, and at Ohio State. If we won those, there would have been reason to celebrate. But until then, we hadn't done anything worth this.

I did not know if they would win at Michigan State against a team that needed to win. They lost last Tuesday. I thought Wisconsin might learn from that game and bounce back. I really wanted to write a post guaranteeing a win at Ohio State. But I couldn't. They lost again yesterday at Ohio State.

The Badgers will be out of the top four, but still in the top seven when the polls come out tomorrow. They are a lock for a two seed. Their best road wins have been against unranked Georgia and a Marquette team that has shown a huge inconsistency over the season. Wisconsin will still be a popular pick (and one of mine) to make the Final Four, but they will have to show that they can win away from the Kohl Center.


It's Less Hard out here for a Chimp

Well I'll be a monkey's uncle.

A new study claims that chimpanzees and humans split from a common ancestor only 4 million years ago. As the article makes very clear, this is "a much shorter time than current estimates of 5 million to 7 million years ago." Because 4 is less than 5.

Face it folks, your grandfather may not have been an ape, as you so like to point out, but they were closer than you think. And now, other researchers have reported that chimps in the West African savanna have learned to make and use spears for hunting. Next thing you know, they'll start watching NASCAR. Another few million years after that, and they will likely have evolved to where most of us humans are today. It would be just like on that one planet, the one with all the apes, except that this time, it would be Earth.


Fat Tuesday part III: the Reckoning

No, that's not forced perspective. The can is the size of my head.

1:00 Started cooking the first potful.
1:22 Starting first bowl. I hope the last bite tastes this good.
1:27 Finished with first bowl. Start second bowl.
1:34 Finished with second bowl. Start third bowl.
1:44 Finished with third bowl. Start fourth bowl. It doesn’t taste that good, but that might just be because it’s the fourth bowl.
2:04 Finished with fourth bowl. Fifth bowl is ready to go but I am not. I feel like I could puke. I’m done eating for a while. I think I’m halfway done. I hope so, anyway.
1 bowl holds 1 1/2-2 cups. I have eaten 6-7 cups at this point.
3:00 Feel like second wind is coming. Metaphorically. The gas has not started yet.
Half way done.

3:27 Start fifth bowl.
Finish fifth bowl.
Start sixth bowl. I had hoped to be done in seven bowls, but it looks like there will be more left.
Finished with sixth bowl.
The first fart. Just a small one.
6:00 Start seventh bowl.
Finish seventh bowl.
I am feeling really bloated.
Starting next to last bowl.
My throat does not want to swallow anymore.
9:00 I don't know what is worse, the Badgers dropping a game to Michigan State, or the gas that I'm starting to get. I went to drop a deuce and thought I was going to blow my rear
9:20 Starting last bowl. I am just going to power through this one.
Another violent poop. The gas is getting bad.
9:45 Done. D
one with the last bowl, done with the pot, done with the can.
Now on to the other can again.
The bottom of the can, bottom of the bowl.
What a beautiful sight.

Fat Tuesday part II: Call to Arms

Here at Vote Dark Horse|Vote Dorshorst, we will be celebrating Fat Tuesday, and live blogging it for you readers. Drinking to excess was considered, but that would likely generate a very poorly written entry. So I will be eating to excess.

The medium: one 7.5 lb (3.32 kg) can of Bush's Baked Beans.
The goal: half eaten within 45 minutes, the second half eaten within 4 hours.

For those interested.
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Total Servings: 26
per serving:
-Calories: 140
-Total Fat: 1 g
-Sodium: 550 mg (23%DV)
-Fiber: 5 g (20%DV)

Some Trivia:
The human stomach has a volume of 50 mL and generally expands after eating a meal to 1 L (4.22) cups. I will be eating a total of 13 cups of beans.
Many edible beans, including broad beans and soybeans, contain oligosaccharides, a type of sugar molecule also found in cabbage. An anti-oligosaccharide enzyme is necessary to properly digest these sugar molecules. As a normal human digestive tract does not contain any anti-oligosaccharide enzymes, consumed oligosaccharides are typically digested by bacteria in the large intestine. This digestion process produces flatulence-causing gasses as a byproduct.

The spectacle begins at 1:00 Central Standard Time.

Fat Tuesday

Today is Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the last day before the season of Lent, the 40 days before Easter, the annual remembrance of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. If that last part was unfamiliar to you, then I guess you won't be doing anything special tonight. And if you are one of those who insist on calling today "Mardi Gras," you can just go back to France.

If you aren't planning on observing Lent, then there is no reason for you to celebrate Fat Tuesday. And there is no reason to indulge in excesses if you aren't planning on practicing abstinence and moderation for the next 6 weeks. Eating to excess is only fine if you are planning on starting a diet tomorrow. Drinking to excess is only okay if it's the last you'll be doing for some time. Flashing strangers is only okay if it's something you occasionally do but will be giving up for the next month (although I think I'd have noticed if that was the case).

If none of these apply to you, then admit that you're partying for the sake of partying and just call it another Tuesday.



Happy President's day.

This is my 100th post.
Because it is my holiday and I didn't feel like doing the work of writing something for this, let's make this an open comments thread.

Not the Worst

On Saturday, Senate majority leader Harry Reid had said, "This war is a serious situation. It involves the worst foreign policy mistake in the history of this country. ... We find ourselves in a very deep hole. We need to find a way to dig out of it."

Today the White House disputed that claim.

I would have to agree. America has had much worse foreign policy mistakes. No one looks at Iraq and thinks that the Vietnam War went better for us. Ignoring Hitler in 1938 was a serious foreign policy mistake. I don't think the Spanish-American War was very good, policy-wise, although we did win it easily.

The worst foreign policy mistake in the history of the country would have to go to the War of 1812. Not only did we start a war and lose soundly, we lost to Canada. And they even burned down the White House. Our biggest military victory was after we had agreed to end the war. Starting war in Iraq? Not even close.



Today I participated in the annual Polar Plunge in Madison to benefit the Special Olympics. Brad at LIB jumped shortly after I did, although his group didn't have any pirates.

I wrote about taking the Plunge a few years ago as my descriptive speech for CA 105. Because I'm lazy, and I'm not above recycling old material, that is what follows:


It was early on a Saturday morning. I was still groggy, but it was probably better that I didn’t fully feel what I was about to do. On a sweltering summer day, a dip in Lake Monona may be refreshing, but in the middle of February, I had a feeling it might be a tad bit chilly.

Everyone else around was bundled up like Ralphie's brother in “The Christmas Story.” I felt out of place in just a pair of black swimming trunks, exposed to the elements. I couldn’t tell which was worse, the wind searing my uncovered back like a branding iron, or the ice burning my bare feet like smoldering coals. An icy hand pressed on my chest, slowing my breathing, and keeping my heart at a slow, steady beat. As I stood on the threshold, about to dive into the abyss, and I looked into the cool blue water, I questioned what I was doing this for. The Special Olympics? I couldn’t help thinking, “Are they really that special?” But it was too late to back out. I held my breath, and I jumped.

The water was cold. Very cold. As cold as, well, ice. It was so cold that a month later, when waiting for the bus to come in twenty degree weather with forty mile an hour winds blowing snow in my face, I would remember being in the lake and think, “This isn’t that cold.” It was so cold that I had to wait a week before my testicles dropped. It was so cold that I still get goose bumps remembering it.

My body couldn’t take in the shock of the water. I didn’t feel cold. I didn’t feel wet. I didn’t feel anything. But through the numbness, there was something else. The floodgates holding my last remaining energy reserves opened and adrenaline surged through my body. This was the ultimate splash of cold water to the face. I had taken the plunge, let the icy waters sap my body of all my heat, all my strength, all my feeling, yet now, I had more energy, more, intensity, more awareness than ever before.

Barkley vs Bavetta

Because there was a recent mention of Charles Barkley, here's the much hyped race between Barkley and Dick Bavetta, the 67 year old NBA ref.

There was a bet of $50,000 to charity on the line. If you're Charles Barkley, that's two Blackjack hands.


He who smelt it...


Good Sportsmanship

Recently, former NBA player John Amaechi announced that he was gay. As he is the first former or current NBA player to come out, this got some press. And it got some people talking about whether homosexuality is accepted in sports. And then former player Tim Hardaway made his views on the subject clear.

"First of all, I wouldn't want him on my team," the former Miami Heat star said. "And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don't think that is right. I don't think he should be in the locker room while we are in the locker room."

When show host Dan Le Batard told Hardaway those comments were "flatly homophobic" and "bigotry," the player continued.

"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people," he said. "I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

Gay and lesbian groups quickly denounced Hardaway, NBA commish David Stern banned him from any All-Star Game appearances, and most people agreed that he was a moron.

I will fervently defend Hardaway's right to say what he did. And he has every right to hate gay people. But let's make one thing clear: Hardaway is an idiot. He probably won't be winning any humanitarian awards. Should that surprise anyone? And should it matter?

It's hard to go a week without hearing about a brawl, or some sports figure getting arrested for gun charges, or a DUI, or domestic violence, or rape, or lewd conduct, or murder, or someone getting caught using steroids, or fuel additives, or steroids, or someone busted for gambling. And this is not just in professional sports. Collegiate athletes have had their own problems too. I'd list some recent highlights from the UW football team, but this post is already getting long. All of these things have become an accepted part of sports.

So you'll have to excuse me when I say that some athlete coming out or another athlete hating gays are not serious issues.

Athletes in general are stupid, immature, and irresponsible, and I don't care. Let them say whatever come out of their thick heads; it doesn't always need to be published in an article. I don't watch a boxing match expecting to get a civics lesson. I don't expect the NFL to determine our country's foreign policy. I don't expect professional basketball players to raise our children. We value athletes because they are strong, or run fast, or are coordinated. That's all we should expect from them. Athletes should not be role models.


Happy Darwin Day

Today is the birthday of Charles Darwin. This day is used to celebrate not only the theory of evolution, but science in general, and its ability to use evidence and create theories based on that evidence.

If you are someone that thinks the idea of evolution should be debated, I'll let Penn and Teller argue my side.

*It's good to see that Kansas is now turning back to the side of rationality. They will be changing the science standards for public schools, from questioning evolution, to:

An alternative, drafted by scientists and educators, would treat evolution as well-supported by research. It also would rewrite the standards' definition of science to limit it to the search for natural explanations for what is observed in the universe.



The final poll results are in: the Democrats have won the 2007 Grammys.

Maybe they'll be let back on the radio now? I do wonder if the Dixie Chicks winning was politically motivated. I'm not saying they weren't deserving. It's just that, well, Al Gore was invited to present for best Rock album. He had no reason to be there. Tipper has made it very clear how she and her family feel about the Rock and Roll music.

No easy way out

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday blamed U.S. policy for inciting other countries to seek nuclear weapons to defend themselves from an "almost uncontained use of military force." Putin criticized the U.S. for many things, including "unilateral, illegitimate actions," and a plan for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

*This was our response.

Now, Putin has never been a close ally of ours, so this is no real surprise. And he is likely just acting in his own interest here. And he has a history of unilateral, uncontained use of military force, so his words now seem a tad hypocritical. But let's go over his argument anyway.

Putin said it was "the almost uncontained hyper-use of force in international relations" that was forcing countries opposed to Washington to seek to build up nuclear arsenals.

"It is a world of one master, one sovereign. ... It has nothing to do with democracy. This is nourishing the wish of countries to get nuclear weapons," he said.

"This is very dangerous. Nobody feels secure anymore because nobody can hide behind international law," Putin told the gathering.

Let's look at recent history: We didn't like Afghanistan. We knew they didn't have nuclear capabilities, so we bombed them, invaded, and took out the government. We didn't like Iraq. We knew they didn't have nuclear capabilities, so we bombed them, invaded, and took out the government. We didn't like North Korea. We know they do have nuclear capabilities. We left them alone. The lesson from this that Iran has learned? If you don't want to get invaded, you'd better get yourself some nuclear weapons.

Is Iran justified in developing nuclear weapons? Not really. Nukes are pretty useless as a defensive weapon. The only thing they could need them for would be to use against Israel. But we let Israel develop their own nuclear weapons program. And we aren't exactly planning to give up our nuclear arsenal.

Since this was the Russian President criticizing American foreign policy, and I just watched Rocky IV, I'd like to draw some parallels here. Only in this case, we are the unbeatable robot played by Dolph Lundgren.

We could continue escalating our war on terror But after about the 5th round, they might start to come back. Soon, we get cut, and once they see that we're not invincible, and it's a whole new fight. And if they ever start to win over the crowd/rest of the world, then it's over for us.

As I learned in another great/terrible movie from the same decade, the only winning move in nuclear warfare is not to play. If we don't want other countries to increase their military capabilities, then we've got to stop doing it ourselves first. What I'm trying to say is that if I can change and you can change; everybody can change.


SuperBowl XLI

SuperBowl XLI is tomorrow, Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears. Everyone seems to be sure that the Colts will win. As usual, everyone is picking the wrong team. Sure, you may not agree with my pick of the Bears to win. Then again, you probably didn't agree with my picks of Indy and Chicago two weeks ago. Offense wins games, Defense wins championships. Or at least that's what Rex Grossman has been telling himself all year. Fortunately for the Bears, their defense and special teams will be their offense. Heck, I've wouldn't be surprised to see Urlacher put in as a running back or tight end. It's the last game of the year, can't hold anything back now.

It would be nice to see Peyton Manning lose to Rex Grossman. And I usually like to root for the underdog, except when I know they will lose. But the real reason I'm picking the Bears, and the main reason for this post, is so I can link to this video.

*Not that I had any doubts, but this clearly shows who will win.

And the Sears Tower destroyed the other buildings from Indy.


Foreshadowing a long Winter

Earlier today, Punxsutawney Phil stuck his head out of his hole and did not see his shadow, signaling an early spring. But I don't get my groundhog weather prognostications from any east coast liberals. Near here in Sun Prairie, Jimmy did see his shadow. Winter is less than half over.

Six more weeks of winter? Bring it on!