Friday, May 30, 2008

Slack to the Future

Over this past Memorial Day weekend, I was thinking about how it was a year ago that Ace Cowboy turned the lights off over at his personal blog. For whatever reason, it seems like it's been way longer than a year since Slack LaLane fell out of my daily rotation. I'm happy to report that Ace has gotten the proverbial band back together over here. Kudos bar, indeed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Viral Donut

The I Love Donuts billboard is back up in Providence. In case you've never seen it, it's just a picture of a donut and a URL - I finally went to the website and it turns out it's just a advertising company trying to drum up business. I guess I walked right into their trap.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dewey Defeats Truman

So on Friday night, when I thought I was witnessing baseball history, it turns out I was actually watching a rerun of Monday's Red Sox game. Unless John Lester throws a no-hitter this afternoon, he's not the second player in MLB history to throw back-to-back no-hitters. I suppose I should have been skeptical about Lester throwing on four day's rest against the Royals at home on a night that, according to the Red Sox schedule, they were supposed to be playing in Oakland, but I was too caught up in the moment to think about it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Want My TVP

I recently came across this Vandermark 5 music video on I'm not joking when I call it a music video, it's not just footage of them playing in concert, it's got multiple camera angles, close-ups, and all sorts of post-production touches.

As far as I can tell, it was aired on TVP Kultura, a Polish arts and culture television station. I never imagined that I would ever be envious of Polish television. If they had programming like this in Poland 100 years ago, perhaps my great-grandparents never would have emigrated to the US.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

No Way

Congrats to John Lester of the Boston Red Sox for throwing his second no-no of the week. I happened to flip to the game tonight in the fifth inning and noticed that Lester was back on the hill and hadn't given up a hit yet. I usually don't pay much attention to the Sox or regular season baseball, but I'm glad I caught this. I know that almost everything that could have possibly happened on a baseball field has already happened before, but I don't think there are too many pitchers who have thrown two no-hitters in the same week.

Identity Crisis

If you've read an in-flight magazine in the past year, you've probably seen ads for LifeLock, the company that has so much confidence in their identity theft prevention service that they made publicly divulging their CEO's social security number the centerpiece of their ad campaign. What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Back to the Future

It's taken about 15 years, but it's finally happened - the Red Wings and the Penguins are finally meeting in the Stanley Cup finals. This was a common prognostication, especially for this guy, back in the early 90s when the Penguins last ruled the NHL and the Red Wings were establishing themselves as one of the league's premier (regular-season) teams. In 1992, the last time the Penguins advanced to the finals, they faced an original six team with a backup goaltender by the name of Dominik Hasek. This time around, they're facing an original six team with a backup goaltender... you see where this is going. Hasek introduced himself to the NHL in game four of the 1992 finals when he came on in relief of Ed Belfour. By then, the Blackhawks had already lost the series, but Hasek's brilliance at least gave them a chance to stave off the sweep. As a Red Wings fan, I'm hoping that the Penguins of 2008 don't fare as well as their 1992 edition and I'm also hoping that Hasek's NHL career doesn't end the same way it began.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Feast or Famine

In preparation for our trip to London last year, I read a lengthy history of the British Empire. In preparation for our upcoming trip to Paris, I decided to look for some novels featuring the city of lights. My first choice was Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, but they didn't have a copy of it available when I went to the library and I wasn't about to embark on a transcontinental flight without some reading material, so I picked up Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow, a book that I found a recommendation for on a random literature blog. It's the debut novel by Faize Guene, a Algerian-French college student. As I thumbed through the book in the library, I realized that I couldn't recall the last book I read that was written by a woman. Perhaps breaking this streak with a book written by a teenager wasn't the greatest idea. It was a light read and heartwarming without being too sentimental, but it didn't do a whole lot for me. With the exception of about three pages, none of the story actually took place in Paris. Instead, the book paints a fairly vivid picture of the much less glamorous immigrant neighborhoods on the outskits of Paris. Since I doubt we'll be making it out there on our trip, this book at least gave me a taste of what life is like for people stuck between France and their homeland.

I did eventually get my hands on a copy of A Moveable Feast, which I just finished reading. Not all of the stories in the book take place in Paris, but the ones that do are quite evocative. I fear that the stories may have romanticized the Parisian cafe well beyond what any establishment could hope to offer, however. I probably learned more about Hemingway than Paris from the book. I've always pictured Hemingway as impossibly rugged and gruff; uncomfortable unless he was in a bull fight, boxing match, war, safari, or some other sort of manly pursuit. His persona in A Moveable Feast doesn't really fit this description. The Hemingway of A Moveable Feast is rather docile and domestic. His persona does start to change in the final story, which contains some of the anger and philandering that I have always associated with Hemingway.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Streakhouse, Please

While I rarely dine at fast food restaurants, I do have a soft spot in my heart for their advertisements. This recent Burger King spot is one of my current favorites.

I love the idea of someone who wants a steakhouse burger so badly that he'll gladly wreck his own car and the car in front of him in the line at the drive through just to get his burger a little bit faster. I also love how he didn't bother to actually place an order; he just pulled up to the window and pushed out the car that was already there. Even if this was socially acceptable behavior, it wouldn't have helped him get his steakhouse burger any faster since you still have to actually order your meal before you can pick it up at the drive through window. Finally, the way he politely says "steakhouse, please" with a demented smile on his face once he pushes the other car out of the way is priceless. After completely flaunting the most basic rules of driving and drive through etiquette, he calmly places his order in a completely matter-of-fact way that would lead one to believe that he does this kind of thing every day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In the Zone

One of my favorite things about flying back home to Michigan is hearing the automated timezone announcement at Detroit Metro Airport. In case you've never heard it, it runs about every ten minutes in the terminal and announces in English, Japanese, and Mandarin that Detroit is in the Eastern Timezone. As far as I know, this is the only message that they bothered to translate into any foreign languages. I can appreciate how confusing it can be for someone who doesn't speak English to travel to the US, but is it really necessary to tell people the name of the current timezone in their native language? For starters, airports have clocks all over the place, so anyone who is confused about the current time after a 12 hour flight from Asia only needs to look around for a few seconds. Never mind the fact that I doubt people who live outside of North America are familiar with the names that we give the timezones over here. I've found that the only people who really need to be reminded that Detroit is in the Eastern Time Zone are certain residents of the northeast who think that the Central Time Zone begins somewhere west of Schenectady.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Reservoir Dogs

On my flight back from San Francisco, we flew over the Quabbin Reservoir on the approach into Boston. The sun had just risen and it gave the reservoir a really eerie look. The view of it on Google Maps doesn't really do it justice. It made me think about reservoirs, and led me to conclude, correctly, that the Quabbin and Scituate Reservoirs are the largest inland bodies of water in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, respectively. I thought it was strange that I couldn't name a reservoir in any other place that I've lived until I realized that most of the other places I've lived have been near large and/or Great Lakes. From what I read on Wikipedia, the stories of the creation of these reservoirs sounds fascinating, since they were both constructed in the early part of the 20th century over land that was already settled and populated.

Friday, May 09, 2008


How's this for irony? I've spent most of this week in the high technology capitol of the world at what is probably one of the largest software developer conferences in the world and today is the first day I've had reliable access to the Internet. Did I miss anything good? I could have found a coffee shop or, *gasp*, actually paid for WiFi access at my hotel, of course, but those things involve work and/or money. I can understand how 15,000 software developers and their arsenal of wireless devices could overwhelm the wireless network at a convention center, but you'd think that if any place could handle that kind of load, the premier destination for high-technology conferences could.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Swedish Fish

The performance of Detroit's Swedish contingent in last night's Wings-Avs game was probably the greatest gift that Sweden has given the world since reasonably priced, some assembly required, particle board furniture. If only Babcock would put three of the Swedish forwards together to create the Ikea line.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

My Giant

I just finished watching the first season of Human Giant, MTV's newish sketch comedy show. I had never heard of the show until I read this AV Club review. I haven't watched MTV intentionally in at least 10 years so I was kind of skeptical, but I gave it a chance and I'm glad that I did. It's pretty funny stuff. The sketches are all pretty short, but I think that's a good thing. Sketch comedy is so hit-or-miss that it's better to end a good skit early than let a bad one drag on. The sketches are more conceptual than SNL and a lot more absurd, so I definitely appreciated that. With a three-man cast and not a lot in the way of production values, it's a lot more raw than other sketch comedy shows. The humor isn't all that insightful. They occasionally take shots at pop culture and current events, but it's mostly three guys performing reductio ad absurdum on everyday situations.