Thursday, December 30, 2004


Fascinating (if morbid) article in The New Yorker on stories of suicide attempts from The Golden Gate Bridge (all but 26 of the more than 1,200 jumpers were successful in their efforts to end their life).


Friday, December 24, 2004

Do you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese at the North Pole?

Hilarious video mash-up of Pulp Fiction and classic Rankin-Bass holiday animation.

(via Boing Boing)



Time to try and luck out again with football pool picks this week. Here is the email I sent to Pete "I'll sell your home, any home for $39.95" Bruinsma:


Merry Christmas,

Here are my picks... It being Christmastime, I asked myself, WWSD? (What Would Santa Do?)

Since there are no NFL teams (yet) at the North Pole, I figured Santa would be rooting for the northernmost teams in each of this weekend's lineups.

For my data, I relied on The NFL Stadium Guide for an address of where each team's home stadium actually resides. For example, Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium is actually not in Buffalo, but in Orchard Park, NY. Giants Stadium is in New Jersey, etc.

Once I had a solid location for each team, I Googled for their latitude, which if you recall from Geometry class, tells how far away from the equator you are. The equator would be at 0 degrees latitude, and the more north you go, the higher the latitude. Santa at the North Pole would be at 90 degrees north latitude. Thus he will be cheering for the team with the higher latitude in each of this weekend's matchups.

Okay, here we go!

Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN) is 44 degrees 53 minutes North
Green Bay, WI is 44 degrees 29 minutes North
Pick: Minnesota!

Kansas City is 39 degrees 7 minutes North
Oakland is 37 degrees 49 minutes
Pick: Kansas City!

Denver is 39 degrees 45 minutes North
Tennessee (Nashville, TN) is 36 degrees 7 minutes North
Pick: Denver!

Pittsburgh is 40 degrees 30 minutes North
Baltimore is 39 degrees 11 minutes North
Pick: Pittsburgh!

Detroit is 42 degrees 25 minutes North
Chicago is 41 degrees 50 minutes North
Pick: Detroit!

Cincinnati is 39 degrees 9 minutes North
NY Giants (East Rutherford, NJ) is 40 degrees 49 minutes North
Pick: NY Giants!

Indianapolis is 39 degrees 44 minutes North
San Diego is 32 degrees 44 minutes North
Pick: Indianapolis!

Jacksonville is 30 degrees 30 minutes North
Houston is 29 degrees 58 minutes North
Pick: Jacksonville!

Tampa Bay (Tampa, FL) is 27 degrees 58 minutes North
Carolina (Charlotte, NC) is 35 degrees 13 minutes North
Pick: Carolina!

New Orleans is 29 degrees 59 minutes North
Atlanta is 33 degrees 39 minutes North
Pick: Atlanta!

New England (Foxborough, MA) is 42 degrees 13 minutes North
NY Jets (East Rutherford, NJ) is 40 degrees 49 minutes North
Pick: New England!

Buffalo (Orchard Park, NY) is 42 degrees 56 minutes North
San Francisco is 37 degrees 37 minutes North
Pick: Buffalo!

Washington (Landover, MD) is 38 degrees 56 minutes North
Dallas (Irving, TX) is 32 degrees 51 minutes North
Pick: Washington!

Seattle is 47 degrees 37 minutes North
Arizona (Tempe, AZ) is 33 degrees 32 minutes North
Pick: Seattle!

Miami is 25 degrees 48 minutes North
Cleveland is 41 degrees 24 minutes North
Pick: Cleveland!

St. Louis is 38 degrees 45 minutes North
Philadelphia is 39 degrees 53 minutes North
Pick: Philadelphia!

Tie breaker will be Philly's latitude of 39

Thursday, December 23, 2004

OEDILF on NPR update

As previously mentioned, the clever people who contribute limericks to OEDILF (The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form) are being covered on NPRs Weekend Edition Saturday.

Looks like things are happening fast, as the interview is scheduled to be taped tomorrow, Christmas Eve morning and might possibly even air the following day. As they say, check your local listings. NPR also archives the show, so once it airs, I'll post a link to that as well.

The interview will be with Chris J. Stolin, Editor-In-Chief, and will be about four minutes in length after it gets edited down. Check it out while your opening presents (assuming it will air this Saturday... guess it's still a little up in the air).

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

You better not pout

You better not cry. Gallery of extremely unhappy children visiting Santa.

(via Boing Boing)

This photo wasn't in the gallery, but I thought it was pretty good.


Meat The Beastles


The Beastles is one of the better mash-ups I've heard, fusing Beastie Boys with Beatles. The InfoNation staff's picks are "Watcha Want, Lady?" and "Tripper Trouble" The album is available for download by dj BC. Ch-ch-ch-check it out!

(via Screenhead)

Monday, December 20, 2004

A snake by any other name...

...would be just as hard to get out of the dashboard.

(thanks for the link, Tim!)


Earlier this summer, I posted on the OEDILF: The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form, whose goal is to rewrite the Oxford English Dictionary by defining every word in the English language in the form of reader-submitted limericks.

To wit, this definition of al dente:

I like my potatoes al dente.
To cook them ten minutes is plente,
So they don't turn to mush
Or primordial slush
Like they do when you boil them for twente.

The other week I submitted them as a story idea to NPR, and this past weekend, a producer from NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday emailed OEDILF's Editor-in-Chief Chris J. Stolin (and CC'd me in the email) asking him for an interview. Looks like the NPR story will be a go!

Right now there is a spirited discussion in the Forums on which limericks will be chosen to read during the interview. I have submitted seven limericks thusfar, all with a current status of "Tentative", and none clever enough to make the grade... Still, if this NPR story boosts interest in them, it's kinda cool to know I helped in some way.

Congrats and good luck, OEDILF!

My picks rocked! And papered. And scissored.

A few days ago, I posted about how I was going to make my picks for this weeks office football pool using the Rock, Paper, Scissors method. Well, the results are in, and I managed to luck out once again! Yep, the RPS strategy correctly picked 10 out the 15 games played so far. There's still tonight's Monday night game, but with the nearest competitor at 8 wins, it's a clinch.

So, anyone got any ideas for how to do my picks for Week 16? Preferably something Christmas-themed.

I'm Holdin' Out For...This?!

Roll your own superhero with Hero Machine 2.

Gaze with wonder and fear upon my latest creation... Jaundice Justice! Behold the Willie Nelson-esque braids! The brooding Dangling Cigarette! The kicky epaulet/kilt/leotard combo! And with those teeny-tiny ankle wings, I imagine he gets just enough lift to really clean out those Guess-Your-Weight guys at the carnival.


(via Random Drivel)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Good old rock! Nothing beats that!

In a recent post, I mentioned that I am having fun this football pool season using unorthodox means for choosing my picks each week. So far I've used such diverse methods as:
- coin toss
- "Alphabetically first" by team name
- Longest team name
- highest Scrabble score by team name
and a few others as well...

This week will be decided using the most commonly used decision-making method on the planet: Rock, Paper, Scissors. You know... Rock crushes Scissors, Scissors cuts Paper, Paper covers Rock.

I'll update with my picks in a couple of days (don't want to let my competition know what I'm picking until their picks are in). In the meantime, while doing research on the fabled game, I stumbled across World RPS Society and, the latter focusing specifically on the Rock Paper Scissors World Championships. No, I'm not kidding. Looks like a lot of fun and no one takes it too seriously. The surprisingly detailed Official Rules are here.

There's plenty of video at RPSChamps, and WorldRPS is generous with Advanced Strategy, recognized Gambits and even a virtual Online RPS Trainer in, just in case you can't find a worthy opponent.

Inspiring RPS artwork through the Ages!

Bonus! Look for the soon-to-be-released documentary "Rock Paper Scissors" sometime in January 2005!

Apparently the 2004 Championship was held October 16th in Toronto, but the highlights were just on The Best Damn Sports Show Period on Fox just last week December 10th. Crap! Guess I'll have to wait for the 2005s now...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

You one sinnin' buggah, eh? No worry beef curry! I got Da Jesus Book.

Da Jesus Book is the product of a 12-year effort to translate the Bible into Hawaiian Pidgin.

What is Pidgin? Pidgin is a language born of the mix of tongues brought to Hawaii in the late 1800s by immigrant sugar-cane laborers from China, Japan, Portugal, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and other countries. Their need for a common language produced what the translators of this book call "Hawai'i Creole English," popularly known as Pidgin.

There are a lot of Pidgin dictionaries out there, but the one at is one of the best. If you are more of an audio learner, Full On Pidgin has some handy wav files to let you listen to the real deal. Check 'um out, brah!

Monday, December 13, 2004

Something to fall back on

If your career arc is arcing right into the toilet, it might be good to pick up some other marketable skills. Like knee surgery! Remember what Dr. Nick Riviera says: "The coroner? I'm so sick of that guy! See you in the operating place!"

(via Cynical-C)

Sunday, December 12, 2004

deja entendu

French 101

deja vu: already seen
deja entendu: already heard

What's That Song? (via largehearted boy)

Wondering what's that song they played in that commercial? Adtunes knows.'s (hard) version of Name That Tune

Even nature is getting in the act.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Answer is: "Follow the yellow brick road"

... and the Question is: What are good directions to a urologist's office?


The Answer is: "Ben Gay".
The Question is: Why didn't Mrs. Franklin have children?

Now that you're in Carnac The Magnificent mode, give The ESP Game a try. Here's the basic rules:

The ESP Game is a two-player game. Each time you play you are randomly paired with another player whose identity you don't know. You can't communicate with your partner, and the only thing you have in common with them is that you can both see the same image. The goal is to guess what your partner is typing on each image. Once you both type the same word(s), you get a new image. Each time you type a word or phrase, you must press enter on your keyboard to submit it to the game. You can type as many guesses as you want, and as soon as a single guess of yours is equal to a guess that your partner has made, you get a new image. You have two and a half minutes to agree on 15 images.

Some images have taboo words, which you can't use; nor can you use any plural, singular, or word related to a taboo word. If one of the taboos for an image is the name of a color, you cannot use any other color as a guess. If you feel that an image is too hard, you can ask to pass by clicking the yellow pass button on the lower right corner. Clicking the button will generate a message on your partner's screen, letting them know that you want to pass. You cannot pass on an image until both you and your partner have hit the pass button

(via Bifurcated Rivets)

It's just a jump to the left...

Annoying (to me anyway) Sliding block puzzles that had me uttely mystified. After trying one of the supposedly "easy" ones that can be solved in "only" 26 moves, and being "nowhere %$*@!ing near" a solution after 122 moves, I was ready to "pitch" my "monitor" out the "window" into "moving traffic".


(via Bifurcated Rivets)

Monday, December 06, 2004

Half idiot. Half savant. Half lucky.

"Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." -- Joe Theismann

A friend of mine named Pete has a football pool that I play in each week. Everyone chips in $5 and makes their picks for the week. Point spreads are used, so in theory it should be a pretty much 50-50 chance of getting a correct pick for each matchup. Right? I mean, that's the whole point of the spread... so that the oddsmakers can keep everyone from betting on the obvious favorite.

I'll admit right off that I don't know squat about which team the "smart money" should bet on for any given game. But like I said, I believe the spread system pretty much turns each pick into a crapshoot. So why bother doing all the painstaking research on win/loss home/away records and who's out with a pulled hamstring and so forth? The oddsmakers already took this stuff into account and did their best to equalize it with the spread. My random picks have just as much of a shot at being correct as Johnny-Sporto's picks.

This year I decided to have some fun with different methods of randomly choosing my teams. I gotta tell you, it's been working pretty well! This past weekend was Week 13 and I just won the pool for the third time. And that's with missing at one of the weeks because I forgot to get my picks in on time. I might have even missed another week in there towards the beginning of the season, I'm not sure. This with about 14 or so people playing each week.

So, how am I choosing my teams?

I have been trying to come up with different ways each week, more or less. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

Week 3 Was "Alphabetically First Week" (so if Atlanta was playing Detroit that week, I would have chosen Atlanta. Bad strategy. I ended up with the least amount of correct picks (3 and 10). But dammit, if I would have been listening to the voices inside my head a little closer, I would have realized they were telling me to pick alphabetically last, not first! Then I would have won that week as well with a 10 and 3 record.

Week 5 "Underdog Week". That also didn't do so well. Wound up somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Week 6 was "Longest Team Name Week", so San Diego had to beat Atlanta, Tennessee had to beat Houston, etc. I actually didn't do all that bad that week, but not enough to win it.

Week 8 My first win, using the most basic of things: a coin toss. Heads went to favorite and Tails went to underdogs.

Week 9 Tried the lucky quarter for Week 9 as well, since it brought me my first win and all, but this time it netted me the bottom slot with something like 3 and 10. Once again, I should have done the opposite, which would have snagged another win.

Week 10, another winning week for me was a flashback to my misspent teenage youth playing D&D in the basement with my friends. Using an online dice generator, I rolled two regular 6-sided virtual dice for each matchup that week. If the roll was an even number, I chose the favorite, odds went to the underdog.

Week 12 "Poker Week" went like this: Each matchup was dealt five cards, and the one with the best poker hand was my pick. I did not bad, with around 11 wins, I think (going on memory here), but not quite good enough to win.

Week 13 Another profitable week for me. This time teams were chosen based on the the game Scrabble®. Each team name was tallied up on how many Scrabble® points it was worth, and the higher-scoring team name was my pick.

So now I come to you, InfoNation Readers and Readerettes... how should I choose my picks for these last few weeks of the NFL season? I am considering some sort of a dartboard thing, perhaps having my two-year old son pick teams one week... any ideas? Feel free to put 'em in the comments!


Candid photo of me making next week's picks!

Pete, the guy who runs the pool, has even been so kind as to construct a little tribute page to my glorious achievements. At least that's what I'm telling myself. I checked, and the words "idiot" and "moron" do not appear on that page anywhere, so I'll take that as a good sign.

PS. Just to keep the good mojo flowing, I ought to mention that if you need to buy or sell a house, Pete is your man. Just look at that mug and tell me whether he could steer you wrong. Merits and awards up the ying-yang. He was even his Neighborhood Association's Dog Park Meetings Coordinator for cripes sake.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

"I can't say cheese! I'm lactose-intolerant!"




Condi Rice is Angry!
(via Major Geeks)

Julia Child never covered this...


When cooking with lava, there's a right way and a wrong way to do it.
(thanks to Julie "We're in a volcano. We're surrounded by liquid hot magma." Stanfill for the "wrong way" link)

How a lava lamp works, and how to make your own.

Photos and videos of the real deal lava here, here and here.

Koochie, koochie koo...

Just a friendly tip: if anyone asks you if you want to experience a Spanish Tickler, you may want to take a rain check. The name may sound harmless, like some sort of, err... novelty latex product, but don't let that fool you.

This and 47 other examples of what those wacky Spanish Inquisitors spent all their spare time dreaming up can be found over at Infernal Device.
(via Cruel Site of the Day)