Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Today Stereogum linked to an article about a proposed 50-foot Michael Jackson robot in Las Vegas, calling it the 2nd-least surprising news item of the day. While that may be true, it pales in terms of fascinating content to other headlines on that news site, including an article about Neck Tumour Man (featuring one of the most surreal photos I've ever seen) and an article about panda porn used for sex education. Thanks for the inadvertent lead, Scott and Amrit!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I participated in my first ever fantasy baseball auction draft on Saturday. It's a whopping 16-team league, and therefore the draft lasted 10 1/2 hours. Yes, you heard me right. Too much time to spend on something like this? Possibly. Probably. But it was fun nonetheless.
It's a keeper league, so as a new manager, I don't get any keepers, which puts me at a huge disadvantage right off the bat. And with so many teams, each having 24 spots to fill with $270, prices soared sky-high right off the bat, with Pujols going for $60 and Crawford going for $59. Threw me off a bit, but I think I did alright.
Without further ado, here is my roster:
C: J. Posada ($15)
C: M. Piazza ($10)
1B: D. Lee ($37)
1B: A. Gonzales ($15)
2B: B. Roberts ($18)
2B: M. Giles ($2)
SS: Punto ($3)
3B: E. Chavez ($6)
OF: H. Matsui ($23)
OF: A. Dunn ($18)
OF: S. Podsednik ($4)
OF: K. Lofton ($3)
OF: J. Hermida ($1)
OF: J. Hamilton ($3)
SP: R. Harden ($17)
SP: D. Bush ($16)
SP: R. Hill ($12)
SP: D. Cabrera ($9)
SP: I. Snell ($8)
SP: J. Blanton ($5)
RP: J. Nathan ($26)
RP: T. Saito ($10)
RP: M. Gonzales ($4)
RP: J. Valverde ($1)
My offense seems fairly evenly-balanced, with both speed and power, although I could have trouble with batting average. I'm good on relievers, but my starters are shaky: lots of strikeouts, but no guarantee of good win totals or low ERA. Basically I'm lacking a stud starter. Hopefully I can trade for one.
Less than a week until the season starts...

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Cash Cab job rolls on (sorry, bad pun). And with another week gone by, it's time to share some more of my favorite research discoveries. Here are the top 3 of the week:
- This is the funniest joke ever told?!? Stupid good-for-nothing science.
- Doctors in the Victorian Era had a pretty sweet gig. At least when their patients suffered from female hysteria.
- I didn't know shopping carts were notorious for anything. I guess I was wrong.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Here Come Da Judd
One of my favorite people in Hollywood, Judd Apatow (the man behind 40-Year-Old Virgin, Freaks and Geeks, and Undeclared), has been periodically writing a column for MTVNews.com. His latest came out yesterday, and like most of his work, I find it very amusing. There are also links to his previous 2 columns at the bottom of the page. Take a look.
His writing style in these columns is very basic: told straight-forward through mostly simple, short sentences (especially in his first column about comedic films of 2006). I wonder if he does this because he thinks that readers of MTVNews.com can only comprehend simplistic prose...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tough to Bear

This photo of Knut, the German polar bear, is nauseatingly cute. Seriously, if it doesn't make you smile, you are dead inside. DEAD!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Although I could care less about the majority of this article (I don't much care for 30 Rock, with the exception of Alec Baldwin), it does provide a bit of hope for the future of Friday Night Lights.
Also giving me hope about Friday Night Lights: apparently my mother has been e-mailing NBC after every episode, saying it's her favorite show on TV and pleading with them to give it more promotion and to renew it. However, she consistently says that she e-mails ABC. So it's possible those e-mails aren't getting to the right people. But I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she's just misspeaking.

Monday, March 19, 2007

If this sort of mistranslating is happening in major motion pictures and TV shows, I don't even want to think about how this site is translated into Danish.

P.S. I did a search, and it turns out that the line that became "She died in a rugby match for people with deformities" is from Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. I think that mistranslation has got to be the highlight of the series.

The countdown is on... less than 2 weeks until ESPN Classic starts airing reruns of American Gladiators. I was OBSESSED with that show as a kid. I loved watching contestants get beat down. And while I didn't have any interest in getting my ass whooped by a gladiator, I did want to play Atlasphere (probably the safest of the games). I also spent many an hour playing the Nintendo video game (which Wikipedia claims was due to a suggestion from a fan in my hometown, although his entry seems highly dubious). My playing the video game instead of the actual physical game probably explains why I was such a weakling through high school. And now I'm sure having these reruns on will cut into my current gym routine.

On a related note, it seems that Scott Weiland might like to take on Axl Rose in some of these A.G. events, at least based on a backstage interview during the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction (go here and under Watch the Big Show, scroll down to Backstage Bits and click on Velvet Revolver on Nick Lachey vs. Axl Rose).

And finally, why is it that dead people get to sit in first class more often than I do?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Just when you thought you'd heard the last of Sinbad, his name pops up in the news when somebody posts in his Wikipedia article that he had died of a heart attack. Turns out he's still alive... it's just his career that's dead (Hahaha!!! Betcha didn't see that one coming).
As I've been researching questions for Cash Cab, I've come across a ton of things on Wikipedia that are either just factually incorrect or plain hoaxes. Out of all of them, I think this one is my favorite:
1927 - Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Communist party for skinny dipping in Lenin's garden fountain.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The past few days have been miserable for me. Saturday began a streak of nights in which I have not been able to fall asleep due to an incessant bout of coughing. This cough cannot be stopped; it's more persistent than my hatred of P. Diddy. NyQuil, Robitussin, even prescription cough medicine laced with codeine have been proven powerless against this disease. I literally will lie awake for 3 hours, with rarely more than 20 seconds between coughs. I'm exhausted, my throat is sore, I haven't done anything social in almost a week, my mom won't stop calling to check in on me, and I'm just frustrated at the whole thing. Last night showed a bit of improvement (I think I lay awake for just over an hour), which I can probably thank my antibiotics for. Here's hoping I make a full recovery soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Since it's March Madness time, that means it's also time for another Band Madness. Yes, they're narrowing down a massive 512 bands to one winner. Surpringly, last year Nine Inch Nails took the crown, therefore they've been retired this year. So far I'm surprised by a few of the current standings (Chemical Brothers over Big Star, Billy Idol over Liz Phair, Boys 2 Men over Lovin' Spoonful, System of a Down over Black Flag, Santana over the Four Tops, Counting Crows over Motley Crue, Snow Patrol over Pavement). It can be a bit time-consuming, but get your vote on. Especially since some of the round-one match-ups are so close (Siouxie & the Banshees leads the Stone Roses by 3 votes out of 1,600 with just a few hours to go).

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's March Madness time. So who do you go to for insight into the best of college basketball? Why, the University of Pennsylvania, of course! They're not 14-seeds for nothing. But seriously, this New York Times article is pretty entertaining.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Yoshimi Battles Beyonce
I think I've finally figured out why "Irreplaceable" isn't as irritating to me as Beyonce's other songs (at least in terms of the tune... the lyrics and rhyme-scheme are still bad): it's basically the same melody, albeit faster, as The Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1." Seriously, the chord progressions are almost identical. Listen for yourselves:
Beyonce vs. Flaming Lips

Friday, March 09, 2007

Writing for Cash Cab is taking over every minute of my life. I can’t go anywhere or do anything without thinking “would this make a good question?” When I meet up with friends, I tell them about how difficult it is to come up with questions, which inevitably leads to them pitching me ideas all night. I can’t escape it.
I’ve resorted to carrying around a pen and paper with me at all times, should inspiration strike. Here’s a sample of things I’ve jotted down this week, both my own ideas and ones given to me by others (note that none of these questions were usable for one reason or another, so if you end up as a contestant, this won’t be any help whatsoever):
Lady of the lake
Slip n Slide
Bounty hunter
Monster truck
Conductor’s wand
Vidal Sassoon
Egg timer
Tomb of Unknown Soldier
Ali Baba
Bellybutton lint
Captain America
4-part harmony
Quick pick
Publisher’s Clearing House
Blowfish poison
Chirping cricket temperature

Feel free to e-mail me with topics.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I hope you all watched last night's season premiere of South Park. Once again, it proved that it's the funniest show on television. It's also the best social commentary on TV. If you missed it, here's a hilarious taste. Check it out before Comedy Central has it removed from YouTube.

Update: Apparently Rolling Stone is as big a fan as I am, as they just posted the 25 greatest South Park moments of all time, complete with video links. Great way to kill some time.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the National Association of Recording Merchandisers has released their list of Definitive 200 albums you should own. As with all lists like this, there are some questions about rankings, dubious omissions ("Odyssey & Oracle," Soundgarden, "Forever Changes," Janis Joplin, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown) and curious admissions (Creed, Jewel, Matchbox 20, Kid Rock). It's a very contemporary list, and also a very commercial one, which I guess is why there is such a prominent link to retailers.
Anyway, let the debate begin.

Monday, March 05, 2007

While doing research for Cash Cab trivia questions, I just stumbled upon quite a fascinating Wikipedia entry. Who knew Woodstock could be summed up so concisely?

Beer Barren
I’ve been meaning to recount this story for a few weeks, but am just now getting around to it.
On President’s Day, two friends and I went to eat at Uno Chicago Grill (my idea so that I could get the lunch special: a cup of New England clam chowder and an individual bbq chicken pizza. Mmm). They have a fairly sizable beer list, containing most of the standard brews. I ordered a Sam Adams, and one of my friends ordered a Stella. The waiter apologized, saying that their Stella keg was tapped. As my friend looked over the menu to find a suitable substitute, the waiter said, with complete sincerity:
“May I suggest the Coors Lite?”
Seriously, we almost died. Had we never heard of such an exotic beer before? Does he really think that Coors Lite and Stella are equivalent? Is it necessary for a waiter at a place like Uno’s to even try recommending beer?
Needless to say, the suggestion went unused.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Boob Tube
What the hell is wrong with American TV viewers? First, I see that the majority of commentors on this USA Today blog actually enjoyed Wednesday’s episode of Lost. Then this morning I read that Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? was the most-watched series debut in 9 years, getting 26 million viewers. Are you kidding me? You think this is entertaining? We’re talking about a show which throws money at a woman who didn’t know that the border between the US and Canada is longer than the border between the US and Mexico. And it’s hosted by Jeff Foxworthy! Three times as many people watched that than the premiere of The Black Donnellys. It sickens me that shows like 5th Grader, which require no thought to create or produce, are smashes that run for years, while quality shows such as Arrested Development and Freaks and Geeks languish in low-rating hell before early cancellations. I recently watched Idiocracy, which wasn’t a very good movie, but I have to believe that we’re heading towards the future it foretells, in which the world is inhabited solely by morons… at least if our TV trends are any indication.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

This article links to the 10 most bizarre and gruesome sports injury. Many of them are hard to watch, but I'd rather sit through them than rewatch last night's episode of Lost. Also note that the list is far from comprehensive, so make sure to read the comments for more suggestions.

Lost It
(Spoiler alert – don’t read if you didn’t watch last night’s episode of Lost but plan to)
What has happened to this once-amazing show? Last night it hit its lowest point ever. Completely amateurish in both writing and directing, and not particularly good acting either. I told my roommate that it seemed like a Looney Tunes version of the show, given how wacky and energetic the characters seemed, with them slapping each other and hoisting each other into the air. It was filled with continuity errors (when Vincent first appears holding the petrified arm, he’s got it by the hand and the rest of the arm dangles below, but in the next shot he’s holding it towards the elbow and the arm is straight and intact), poor special effects (the meteor crash looked awful), bad make-up (what was up with Cheech’s wig at the beginning?), and lame stereotypes (a disgruntled Asian reporter… never seen that before). Not to mention that the story was utterly lame, predictable, and was the worst offender in what is now quite common of not moving the story along AT ALL (unless the survivors end up driving the van off the island to freedom, which seems highly unlikely). When the van’s ignition roared to life and started playing “Shambala” – the same song playing in Hurley’s flashback, no less!!! – I almost threw the remote at my TV. But I didn’t, so that I could continue watching what are actually good shows this season: The Black Donnellys (loved the pilot, except for the narrator’s acting) and Friday Night Lights (quickly becoming my favorite show on TV).