Monday, October 31, 2005

A visit to Sunday Central

Went on a football expidition to Sunday Central, home of ScaDilla (as he shall now be known in this space). I've never seen NFL Sunday Ticket in action before.

Aaaallllghghhhhh..... [/homerdrool]

It was soooo purty. ScaDilla is a Master Clicker, so we went well over an hour without a commercial interruption. (His secret is's
Game Track page, so he can roll to a red-zone possession at a moment's notice.) If I had such access I wouldn't be stinking out Big Al's office pool each week, though in my own defense I note that my 16 and 12 pointers this week were lost by a single point each - including the Jacksonville game, in which the Jags' Josh Scobee shanked two field goal attempts.

But I learned a few things yesterday:

1. Brett Fah-vruh. The first hint was the stinkeroo in the playoffs against the Rams in 2001. Then there were disturbing portents such as losing a home playoff game, looking terribly mortal against ordinary (or worse) Viking and Lion teams... And now, five picks against the Ben-Gals, who were still begging to lose that game. FIVE! It would be great to see him pass Marino in career TD's (he trail 420 to 390), but I fear that even if he does come back next season he may not do it - or look "Namath on the Rams" bad while doing it. Just ride to the sunset, gunslinger.

2. Der Redskins. Smoke-and-mirrors, as I've suspected. On today,
the ever-imaginative Skip Bayless says that the Skins could have been 6-0 instead of 4-2; he fails to mention that they should have been 1-5. Yesterday proved it. The G-Men crushed them. That could have been 52-0 if the Giants had been more efficient deep in Washington territory.

3. The hell? The overmatched Kyle Orton lost his best target to an injury and spent the rest of the afternoon leading Chicago on three-and-out possessions. The Lions, trailing 13-3, tied the game. But Jeff Garcia looked dreadful when it mattered most. I wish that teams would sit guys down more often instead of crossing their fingers and hoping. We're not talking about a guy with 390 touchdown passes, a guy who's led fourth-quarter finishes often enough to get the benefit of the doubt on a rough day. We're talking about JEFF GARCIA. He's a veteran - what on earth is he thinking, not taking the sack on that bizarre sorta lateral? And what is Steve Mariucci thinking by not sitting him down for it? That should have iced the game for the Bears; instead they got to do it when Garcia back-footed a wobbler over the middle that went pick-six the other way. "And now you are 3-4," as
TMQ would put it.

4. Mmmmm.... Good, cheap, plentiful take-out food. Washed it down with iced green tea, unsweetened; hopefully the antioxidants will fight the cholesterol to a standstill.

5. Take the point. I have a theory I explained once -
One for Two and Two for One. In short, if you know there's more than one possession left in the game, you should nearly always kick the PAT instead of going for two. Tennessee broke that rule in the second quarter yesterday; having blown the PAT and going down 17-6, they tried to cut it to 17-14 after their second score and missed. But take the point and go down 17-13 and what happens? Simple - at the end of the game, you're only down 8 instead of 9 with four minutes to go, leaving you with a much better shot of pulling out the game instead of having to rush down the field and get the ball back on an improbable onsides kick (which usually doesn't work if the other team knows it's coming).

OK, so I guess that last shouldn't go under things I learned yesterday - but the lesson holds!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Happy Halloween, kids

This is offered in honor of the Tree Hugging Sister at the Coalition, and her favorite holiday.

Carve Your Virtual Pumpkin!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Wiser (and/or chattier) sites have hit all this news recently; herein are my tuppence on the following subjects:

Harriet Miers - I can actually toot my own horn on this. Behold, from Oct. 18th:

Appeasement works pretty poorly in domestic affairs as well, so the Dems will say what they say, and the lesson is simply not to care.

I say, play it right back at them. Go to the public directly (as all strong presidents do, all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt) and say, “Well, I’m respectful of the bipartisan opposition to the current nominee as unqualified, and she has agreed, for the good of the nation, to step aside at this time so we aren’t distracted from our pressing issues at home and abroad. In her place I’m nominating Janice Rogers Brown, who is an eminently-qualified judge who now has additional experience in our Circuit Courts and is familiar with the legal challenges our High Court will be answering in the next few years.”

You didn't see that here for a couple of reasons - one, because it was a quick lunch-time thing, and two, because my talent for prognostication is terrible (as my football pool pals would tell you). (OK, reason three - more people read Wunder's site than mine...) Now, it will be interesting to see who gets the nod in Miers' place, and further, whether she will have an easier time of it because she will look all the better in comparison to her. (Yup, still holding out for JRB. I hope the Rove Mind-Ray works in reverse too...)

Gallowing Galloway - It appears that the reason British MP George Galloway opposed the Iraqi war is that he was afraid somebody had saved the receipts. He isn't the only one worrying today. A separate news article in the MSNBC gives some more highlights, including this quote from the report: "And it said that the United Nations is essentially the only organization of its kind in the world that is capable of taking on such daunting tasks." Scandal on a global scale? Yeah, sounds like the UN.

James Blonde - the Harriet Miers of the franchise. Daniel Craig suffers because he is not Clive Owen, one of the very few actors today who could fill Connery's tux. As proof, consider that it is still Connery's tux, and the four guys following have merely been renting it...

If they want to do this right, they can either A/ dump Craig and throw many pounds sterling at Owen; B/ kill off Bond and end it with style; or C/ wait ten years and give the role to Daniel Radcliffe, who looks like he could handle it by then.

The World Series - Oy. Poor Houston. Poor Muley. But the Stro-Boys are not the first team to crap the bed in their first Series. (In game 3 the Sox gave them twelve walks and three errors while facing their ace, and they still won. Double-oy.) The problem is that they look to be a worse team next season, so they can't catch the Cards, and there are a few improving teams that will probably shove them out of the wild card race after the All Star Break next year.

Or, maybe quotes like this are the problem?

Craig Biggio - "I waited a long time for this, and it was worth the wait ... If I never get a chance to go back to the World Series, my career will be complete."

Jeff Bagwell - "It was just one of those things where we didn't win. I don't know how else to say it. We didn't play great and we didn't play awful. They just beat us."

The heart and soul of the Astros collectively shrugging a stinkeroo in the biggest four games of their careers? Hoo-boy.

And finally, thanks to all for the kind words about the piece I wrote on Tuesday. It means a great deal to me to know that it well-received - by extension, I feel like you gave him a warm welcome and it's more than I know how to properly thank you for.

I can also say that Mom, bro, and sis afely rode out Wilma (they live in Broward County, Fla.) with only minor damage to the house. They lost a tree, and the wind tore off those chef-hat vents in the roof (they were tarped and tied, but Wilma took them too). They also lost the fence, which was ugly as hell so good riddance. But they are safe and sound, and if the power comes back quickly enough they can start putting things back together.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Happy Birthday, Papa Bug

Today is my father's 56th birthday.

Whenever people ask about him, I usually tell one of the two stories of him that really stand out in my mind and show what kind of a man he was. Today I'm not going to tell either of those. (I'm more philosophical this afternoon, I suppose.) I just want to talk about him for a while.

My father took on a lot of trouble on my account. When I was born he drove Mom to the hospital - or more precisely, he drove her halfway there and then the both of us the rest of the way. When I was baptized he stood as godfather. And when my mother, abandoned by her husband, accepted his proposal and married him, he immediately set about adopting me, while losing his own father, untimely, to cancer.

He didn't let it stop him. He didn't wait for suitable circumstances, but made the circumstances suit him. And he never let anything stop him from showing that he loved us. I was seven when I learned that I had been adopted and that Dad was, in fact, my stepfather - and I promptly let it slide, because it didn't seem to make a difference. My brother and sister came along, and he treated me no differently than either of them. I saw him dote over the both of them as infants and toddlers and knew that, before I could possibly remember, he doted over me in the same way.

He worked very hard, for long hours, to make sure we were provided for. He devoted time to us that he probably couldn't spare, since he often worked nights and needed to sleep. He was an artist on the side; I remember the silk-screening business that he and Mom started when I was a boy, featuring his own original artwork as part of the sales pitch for anyone that needed their hats and shirts designed, or redesigned. (You'd hardly believe some of the horrid stuff they'd walk in with, and the superior work they left with. Dad was more of a diplomat than I had given him credit for.)

He gave me my love of sports and film music. He was my first chess teacher. We taped Star Trek episodes together. He taught me to drive and did such a good job that I still passed the road test despite not taking it for four years. When I came back from college for the summers we had long, famous philosophical discussions over marathon Axis and Allies sessions.

I still miss him as much as ever, nearly 14 years after he died. When I'm ungrateful I think about what our relationship was becoming as I finally sprawled over the threshold of manhood, and losing it just as it was emerging. But then I think that my brother lost him while he was still in grade school, and my sister can scarcely remember him at all. I think of my mother losing the great love of her life while still in her thirties. And I think that for all of that, it was worth it anyway: to have known him for those years, and to see so much of his determination and generosity in my brother, and his love of reading and music (albeit not the same tastes!) in my sister.

We all love you, Dad. Thanks.

Monday, October 24, 2005

No Firm Leads

Right now it's Atlanta 20, Jets 0.

This is dangerous. Last Monday it was 17-0 St. Louis and they not only lost to Indy, they couldn't cover the two-touchdown spread. And yesterday we had in-progress scores of:

Green Bay 17, Minnesota 0. Oooops.
New Orleans 14, St. Louis 0. At least this works both ways.
Dallas 10, Seattle 3. There were only two minutes and six seconds remaining.
Denver 23, NY Giants 10. This is also a fourth-quarter score.
Tennesse 10, Arizona 0. Yes, even the Cardinals rallied.

From that point on, those teams were outscored by a collective 95-6.

And now, ten minutes after I started, the Jets are driving inside the Falcons 15. Touchdown, Vinnie Testaverde on the sneak.

Wunder, Cullen, turn off the TVs now. Trust me, you'd rather run the chance of being happy over morning coffee than grumpy all night.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Restoring the natural order of things

Wednesday, 10/19 - Islanders 3, Rangers 2
Thursday, 10/20 -
Islanders 5, Rangers 4

Ladies and gentlemen, America's Hockey Team rises again. Or, not to put too fine a point on it:

It will be even sweeter on the inevitable February morn when Jaromir Jagr cashes in his "Get Out of MSG Free" card and goes someplace nice to finish the year. (Ten goals in nine games? The man probably has scouts from every team in the league following him like paparazzi - doing his laundry, washing his car(s), hauling his equipment bags to the hotel...)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

But before I kill you, Mr. Bond...

As you may already know, today's quiz day, as begun by Cullen and carried along by WunderKraut and It Comes In Pints. Quiz day! Funny how the very two words to cause a school kid to cringe into a pretzel of anguish get a bunch of desk-jockey adults all giddy and glad.

During lunch, I discovered my
inner historical general: King Edward I of England, better known to film fans as Edward Longshanks, the man who ordered the disembowelment of Mel Gibson. ("You scored 64 Wisdom, 81 Tactics, 58 Guts, and 55 Ruthlessness!")

Now, I'm getting to check out a few of the others. Some don't seem to make much sense to me, and if there are too many questions I can't answer, I just go on.

For example, one I did finish but don't really understand
is here. My results?

What Pulp Fiction Character Are You?

You are the king of smooth -- enough said.

Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.

Since I dig Harvey Keitel's work, I'm ok with this, but others shall have to tell me what it means.

My favorite, however, may be the top of Cullen's list - What Bond Villain Are You? Taking it now. (I hope I'm something cool and not some cut-rate henchman...)

:::time passes:::

Sanchez? Who the hell is Sanchez? And instead of coming up with a "Paste this code" page for convenient result-sharing, you have to click around all the hell over the place and put up with ad-strewn crap pages. What a flaming toss of a site. Oh, Oddjob?

NO, Mr. Bad Online Test, I expect you to DIE!

Bill Simmons, call your office

This has got to be a gag.

The lawyers reached a plea agreement Tuesday for a 30-year term for a man accused of shooting with an intent to kill and robbery. But Eric James Torpy wanted his prison term to match Bird's jersey number 33.
Yup, the man wanted to serve Larry Legend's uni number. I guess he figured that by the time he got out it wouldn't make a difference. I would have pushed for 33 months, instead, but whatever.

In a related development, Mr. Torpy said that he's looking forward to meeting Red, Andy, and the other inmates.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Faster, Ms. Piggy! Kill, kill!

updated, 10:31 pm - ok, not a victory, yet. The Budgie dug further and "being reviewed" seems to mean, in Budgie's words: "Also, if "extreme forms of political correctness" are not acceptable, the Council position seems to be that "MILD forms of political correctness" are acceptable."

An ad-hoc Coalition of the Swining have triumphed! "Race equality rules are being reviewed at Dudley Council after workers were told to remove toy pigs from desks because they offended a Muslim staff member." Apparently somebody finally noticed that this was, quote, "...political correctness gone barmy."

(w/t to
Dhimmi Watch via the Lost Budgie, paying immediate dividends from his new perch in the Pantheon.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Carnival of Comments

"So, 'Fly, you've not blogged recently on weekends. Why, pray tell?"

Simple. I decided to stop bathing in the cool glow of my utterly sweet flat-panel computer screen and get out into the real world more often. It's schway, friends. Even in the rain, there's a lot to do and see. Went to Ocean City on Columbus Day, for example, and happily browsed the town's many shops and stores, and got an unexpected treat - a seafood-fest on Music Pier, featuring Spadafora's crack staff cooking in the open air. Lunch was muy yummy. (Dinner too, by
Mack and Manco's.)

As a result I've confined a lot of my online fun in a few select places, replying rather than generating new content. These are some of the Fly's more recent cyber-stops:

Half a Pica - Cullen has traveled my path in reverse, commenting hither and yon before finally deciding to hang his own shingle. Stop in and wish him well, but mind your jargon...

WunderKraut - while in the South, muse about baseball and the environment (and everything in between).

The Lost Budgie - not sure how I haven't crossed by this before, he's been up since June. Here's one well worth reading; may he and his kind increase and prosper in the Northland.

The Judge Report - Robert Going has been busy on the posts, with this one touching a topic near to my heart (and ears): the dearth of strong Catholic hymns.

The Coalition of the Swilling - often my first stop online, for fun news items (WARNING - Blinding Flash of the Obvious, please use eye protection), fun food items, and just plain fun. (Did I mention the variety of food items?)

This Life - that plain fun item just mentioned led me here. The graphic reminds me of the MST3K episode with "Catalina Caper" - Nice measurements! 36-2-85? - but the posts are solid. Dig this one.

And, finally, a quiz! A couple of others have taken this, and so have I, and guess what?

My angles are many, my sides are not few
I'm the Dodecahedron, who are you?

In other words -

I am a d12

And that's a lovely shade of orange. Thank you!

Friday, October 14, 2005

And about that call...

One of the more famous baseball umps, Ron Luciano, was said to have once called a runner safe at third - while motioning "out" with his arm. "So which is it, out or safe?" the runner demanded. "Well, you heard 'safe,' but a million people saw 'out,' so you're out," Luciano replied.

So how does this apply to Doug Eddings? Well, Sluggo's right on this - he clearly signalled strike, then out. That counts. Even if he didn't have the courage to stick to that, his crew chief could have said something instead of keeping his hands in his pockets.

Better still - maybe nobody saw Eddings' arm. So how hard is it to then pick up the ball, look it over, see no dirt (sort of a reverse Nippy Jones), and say "Sorry, you're out"?

Blinding Flash of the Obvious...


Romanowski said he took illegal steroids for a two-year period starting in 2001 and got them from Conte, the former head of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, which has been at the center of a steroids controversy in several sports.
In other breaking news, the Pope is still Catholic, 2 + 2 = 4, and the sun once more rose in the East. No word, however, on whether John McCain is going to yell at Paul Tagliabue the way he grilled Donald Fehr. (Of course, McCain, seeing Bud Selig, could have been forgiven for thinking he was still yelling at Janet Reno.)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Two feet high, and rising

Given enough rain, even the Raritan River becomes a problem. The residents of Bound Brook have been forced from their homes in a replay of Hurricane Floyd.

During Floyd, many towns throughout Somerset County wound up navigable by boat; Manville and Bound Brook were one broad lake. We don't have it as bad as the folks in New England, perhaps, but the traffic report on the radio is basically a long list of roads swamped by water, and there's two more days of rain to worry about: Click here and scroll down to the three-day forecast...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Message for you, sir...

Admit it, you always hoped that some math-oriented Python fan would figure this out. Heheheheheh.

(w/t to Cullen
and his new blog. Welcome!)

BTW - regarding
this from below, it seems that there is an L/R Instrumental Side, but only available as a rare import. It should be good stuff.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

We don't have to blog like refugees

The Petite Powerhouse, Dawn Eden, is hard at work writing a book to be called The Thrill of the Chaste. Her titling skills sharp as ever, she is also scoring such headlines for the Daily News as "Cruise Your Daddy?" in addition to holding down her weekly Blog On column.

All of this means that, Powerhouse though she be, her Dawn Patrol is going to go on hiatus for a while, casting adrift all of the commenters who have been thriving on the topics she chooses and writes up so well.

One of her loyal patrollers, Robert Going, is stepping unto the breach with an ad-hoc gathering of some of our blogs - call it Carnival of the Patrollers #1. The Judge himself is a first-class writer and quick wit, so if you never had a reason before to visit his site, you now have two.

Dawn, good luck on the book!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Boss hogs

You may have heard this. In merrie olde Englande, some offices are banning pigs in order not to offend Muslim office workers. No, it isn't pork from the work cafeteria, or actual animals in the cubicles, it's their graven images - toy pigs, pigs on mugs, pigs on calendars...

In reply to this miserable kowtowing, the Coalition of the Swilling has started a worthy campaign - Hogs for Blogs. I am pleased to join. Behold, the new Official Game of the Hive:

It's available now as "Pass the Pigs" if you want to join the revolution - or even as a java applet for your PC. Souuu-EEEEEEE Razorback!

UPDATE - first pigs, now this. The Cross of St. George, England's National Flag, is twisting certain knickers because of a series of wars ending NEARLY 600 YEARS AGO. Geez, will you people get a life already? (w/t to It Comes in Pints)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Quelle d'homage!

A friend recommended an animé soundtrack to a show I hadn't seen. "It's sort of a Bond-style show," she said. The tip-off was the character named "Ms. Pennylane," simultaneously tweaking the Fab Four and 007.

Not that they settle for tweaking... Here are two brief clips. Can you spot the original and the copy?

... and ...

One of these things sounds lots like the other,
One of these things is a similar song...

One of the other tracks on the disc is performed by Billy Preston, to add to the mystery. The second set of clips shows an improvement in the English accent, which really only makes it more obvious...

... and ...

This may not really be England, but it sure resembles it.

These two tracks are from "Vocal Side," as they put it, and the more original stuff is pretty good music, but the instrumental pieces from the show are not available on disc as far as I can tell.