Aug. 29, 2005
More random praise, complaints, and rhetorical questions:
- Very few CD players seem to offer a way to play an album in “shuffle mode” without playing track 1 first. Doesn’t that partially defeat the purpose of playing tracks in random order? C’mon, surprise me with something other than the usual opening song.
- A current favorite site of mine: 43 Folders. Most of us are so inundated with information and to-do items that it’s difficult to keep everything in order and get things done efficiently. But 43 Folders is packed with interesting ideas about getting organized and increasing one’s productivity.
- In fact, at the beginning of this month, I assembled a “tickler” file system in order to organize my bills, and some of those nagging questions in my head are starting to quiet down.
One recommendation from 43 Folders was an advanced text editor called TextMate. After I read through the TextMate FAQ to learn how I could pick up an evaluation copy of the software, I was greeted with a snarky editorial comment disguised as a question and answer:
[Question:] I’m a Windows XP user, can I get TextMate (or a similar app) for this inferior OS?
[Answer:] UltraEdit for Windows has similar features.
- Apple-centric snobbery like this really irritates me. If you prefer to use a Mac, that’s perfectly fine, but stop ripping on my platform of choice. And if OS X is truly light years ahead of any other operating system on the planet, then why do most businesses (other than design shops) still use Windows? Microsoft must be doing something right.
- Have you noticed that when you kill a moth, it appears to be comprised of nothing but dust?
- After missing out on its first season, I’m really enjoying Rescue Me, a drama (or perhaps dark comedy) about New York firefighters starring Denis Leary. The show’s characters are equally hilarious and flawed — in other words, they’re human. Check it out on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.
[ No. 196 ]
Aug. 23, 2005
This one’s going to be all over the place, so bear with me.
- When I arrived at our group’s shore house late last Friday night, only two housemates and one guest were there. And when I woke up the following morning, all of them had already left for other plans back in Philly. Out of the 14 people in our house, I was the only one there, even on a late August weekend with a promising weather forecast.
- A few other housemates showed up later on Saturday, but with the summer quickly winding down, the low headcount was still strange. And for a brief moment on Saturday morning, I thought I had survived a nuclear disaster — the house was still standing, but I seemed to be the only living creature left.
- I like to think of myself as a fairly knowledgeable music fan, and I usually try not to judge a musician’s catalog on the basis of one hit song. But after hearing “Walk on the Wild Side” on the radio at the gym this afternoon, I started to wonder why Lou Reed is widely regarded as a musical genius. The main melody only consists of two chords and a sliding bass line, and the guy just mumbles lyrics that make little sense. What’s so clever about that?
- Another edition of the magazine AAA World arrived in my mailbox today, and I promptly tossed it in the trash. I didn’t send $56 to AAA this year for their journalism skills — all I want is some roadside assistance in case I need it. Can I get a discounted annual membership if I don’t bother to read the magazine?
The sign-in page for Yahoo! Mail has been sporting some really strange stock photos recently. Exhibits A and B:
- These guys appear to be suffering from some severe psychiatric problems. Maybe Yahoo! is running out of server space and they’re deliberately trying to frighten potential customers away.
[ No. 195 ]
Photo credits: Yahoo!
Aug. 17, 2005
The NCAA recently prohibited universities with “hostile and abusive” mascots from hosting championship sporting events starting in February 2006 and from even competing in national title games as of August 2008. Their biggest concern: 18 heartless institutions of higher learning that “continue to use Native American imagery or references.”
First of all, doesn’t the NCAA have anything better to do? Many of its student-athletes seem to have trouble managing their dual responsibilities — they struggle in the classroom, fail to graduate, or commit serious crimes off the field. But with all of those pressing problems on its plate, the NCAA is preoccupied with potentially insensitive mascots?
According to ESPN columnist Ray Ratto, the NCAA decision against Native American mascots could set a dangerous precedent. What’s next, a lawsuit filed by PETA against Penn State for its cruel Nittany Lion?
And most importantly, what about the caricature of my own fair-skinned people from the Emerald Isle? For decades, the University of Notre Dame has proudly featured a belligerent leprechaun as its symbol:
The Notre Dame logo features a side view of the [leprechaun] figure with his dukes up, ready to battle anyone that comes his way.
After all, they’re not just the Irish, but the Fighting Irish. If that’s not “hostile and abusive” toward a specific culture, I don’t know what is. (Seriously, the Notre Dame leprechaun doesn’t really bother me. But it’s pretty easy to see the inconsistencies of such an absurd policy.)
[ No. 194 ]
Aug. 12, 2005
This is all I’m going to say about the Terrell Owens controversy.
If you’re in the press, can you please take a break from filming, interviewing, and talking about T.O. for, say, an hour or two? The guy needs attention like the rest of us need oxygen. Don’t encourage this egomaniac.
If you’re on the team, stop adding fuel to the fire by answering questions about T.O. at press conferences. Figure out some way to bury the hatchet, do it off-camera, and do it quickly. Sixth-graders can settle their differences more quickly than you so-called professional athletes.
If you’re T.O.’s agent Drew Rosenhaus, you can go directly to hell. By convincing your star client that he doesn’t need to honor his signed, multimillion-dollar contract, you’ve helped to create this monster. Thanks for nothing.
And if you’re an Eagles fan, don’t get your hopes up. I’m sure the practice sessions have been distrupted by the T.O. media circus, and the Eagles’ only other experienced wide receiver, Todd Pinkston, is out for the season with an injury. The Eagles’ season opener is still a month away, but it’s already safe to say that it will be difficult for the Eagles to return to the Super Bowl this season, let alone win it for the first time — with or without Terrell Owens.
[ No. 193 ]
Aug. 10, 2005
I like to think that I’m fairly open-minded when it comes to trying new kinds of food — I really try to give everything at least one taste test.
However, I have at least one exception to that policy: I absolutely refuse to even try scrapple, the breakfast meat that’s strangely popular in eastern Pennsylvania. Here’s my reasoning:
- The quality of meat in scrapple makes hot dogs look like filet mignon — and although I like hot dogs, I already have to ignore what they’re made of.
- Scrapple would not be entirely out-of-place during a gross-out competition on Fear Factor.
- Most disturbingly, the word scrapple contains both “crap” and “scrap” right in its name.
[ No. 192 ]
Aug. 1, 2005
Much like Pennsylvania, the state of New Jersey offers a wide selection of special-interest license plates for one’s vehicle. Each type of plate contains a decorative graphic and a two-letter abbreviation next to the plate number.
As I walked into the parking garage after work today, I noticed a car with a specialty plate for the USS Battleship New Jersey. The plate displayed the word BATTLESHIP along its bottom edge, but the abbreviation for that word, “BB,” seemed a little strange at first.
Then it hit me: the most logical abbreviation would have been “BS” — and that probably wouldn’t have gone over well with some people.*
* Update: Actually, it turns out that “BB” is an official naval abbreviation. A reader by the name of Ed Angiolillo informed me:
The US Navy classified battleships as BB, not BS. That’s probably why the license tags are the same way.
Makes sense to me. Thanks for the clarification, Ed!
[ No. 191 ]