Thursday, March 24, 2005


Couple of observations.

1. "Pittsnoggle" should be a term for something disgusting. Culinary or sexual, take your pick. It's either a rural Pennsylvania delicacy involving sheep nostrils or a body odor inhalation fetish.

2. Offenses that involve nothing but passing around the perimeter looking for a three-pointer may carry a mediocre team deep into the tournament, but they are not sustainable over the long term. A team that adopts such an offense is saying "we know we aren't good enough to really play basketball."

3. Louisville may well turn Rule #2 into a relic by winning it all and pissing me right the fuck off.

4. I hate Rick Pitino.

5. Why do I hate Rick Pitino? He ruins things. He made my 1997 bracket perfectly awful (I had Zona losing in the first round.) He ruined the Celtics. Now he's in Louisville ruining the Greatest City of All Time.

6. Whatever happens to my sheet this year, I deserve it. The thing is transcendently half-baked.

7. You're CBS. You have a choice between showing the two of the greatest coaches of our time coaching what could be either man's last really big game, or showing Texas Tech vs. West Virginia. What do you choose? You choose the Texas Tech game, specifically because you hate me.

8. Much is made of how "guard play wins tournaments." That may be true, I don't know. But Joey Graham's line from the first half of the OK State game gives you a good idea why having a big man as your primary scorer is the percentage play. Graham was 2 for 8 shooting in the first half, and had 9 points. If a guy on your team is 2 for 8 shooting and he's 6'0", he probably does not have 9 points.

Color Scheme

I'd like to get some feedback on the color scheme. The bar at the top is I believe part of the core blogger template, so there isn't anything I can do about the pea-soup diarrhea color at the top without changing templates. But I can definitely rethink the Radioactive Cheeto color of the title text. Let me know what you think might look better. Send the code for the color if you're well-versed in that sort of thing.

Language Nerd's Corner

Normally I'm a pretty tolerant guy. However, one of my vices is taking endless glee in the linguistic missteps of my fellow man. Thus was I delighted to enter my office copy room this morning and find a very nice-looking sign on the copier (red block letters with black borders) informing me that:

A Service Has Been Made on This Device

I thus burst into gales of laughter, unfortunately audible to the administrative coordinator who no doubt created the sign, so I had to make up a lie about what I was laughing at. Fortunately no one asked - apparently after four years the sound of me laughing uproariously at nothing at all no longer strikes my coworkers as particularly noteworthy.

Weird side note - I am pretty sure I just hallucinated a glimmering lagoon between my keyboard and my monitor. Not sure what this means, but it may be a medical emergency. Nurse! Bring this man a Tagalong!

I'm a Hungry Hungry Man

Recently I've decided to give up refined sugar to some degree. The reasons for this decision are, in no particular order:

1) I tend to eat sugar to excess when I do eat it.
2) After I eat sugar to excess, my brain becomes rather useless and manifests some weird conditioned tendencies.
3) I am becoming very fat.

I'd like to think that the first two reasons would suffice, and I will say honestly that on a conscious level, I came to the decision to give up sugar after eating an entire box of Samoas and then spending the entire bus ride home from work trying (and failing) to remember the name of my Kindergarten teacher (Mrs. Manlowitz.) However, I should also confess that I've come to this realization or something like it before, when I weighed significantly less, and the realization had no effect on my actual behavior.

But regardless of the real root motive, I'm off the white stuff, and the results are for the most part good. I am much more able to concentrate, and my brain seems to be doing mostly what I tell it to do, which is a nice change. However, there is one aspect of sugar withdrawal that is really not fair at all - intense hunger.

The cravings themselves I can handle - like when I walk into the front kitchen at work and someone has left a box of brownies on the microwave for everyone to eat and my hand physically detaches from my arm and assaults the brownie box like a kamikaze pilot. I merely wait for the hand to loop around towards my head and duck out of the way, and the brownie crashes against the wall and crumbles into a delectable pile of brownie crumbs on the kitchen floor.

But in addition to the cravings, I'm also unable to feel full no matter what I eat (unless, presumably, I break down and eat some sugar, which I have not yet done.). I know from experience that this effect will start to go away in a week or so, but that doesn't really help while I'm experiencing it.

I know this isn't the sort of thing that I normally blog about, but as you have probably experienced, Dear Reader, when one is hungry, truly hungry, it is difficult to think about anything else. As the story goes, ask a hungry man what two plus two is, and he will answer you, his mouth watering:

Four loaves of bread!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Starting Fresh

After much deliberation, I've decided to discontinue use of that OTHER blog, and the name along with it. It was fun while it lasted, but I think it's about time to take on the responsibility of attaching the family name to my work. Also, that old persona had started to feel a bit like a straitjacket. He was a fun character to play, but he wasn't me, and that gets tiring.

I don't have a ton of time today due to various pressing issues, but I'd like to begin the new blog with a recommendation of an old book that was given to me by my dear sister up in Massachusetts. The book is called "Home Economics," and it's a collection of excellent essays by Wendell Berry, noted agrarian author.

As is often the case for me when I read Berry's work, I tend to lose him when he wanders into the realm of abstract philosophy or religion. Our perspectives on things such as scripture, the nature of truth, the nature of knowledge, etc. are not that similar and are informed by very different backgrounds. Fortunately the meat of his work hinges not on these abstract ideas but on his observations and analysis of areas of human life with which he has an intimate familiarity. His incisive commentary is always refreshing for me, as it tends to articulate and affirm many nebulous thoughts and feelings I have harbored since childhood.

I am particularly charmed by Berry's thoughts on education, since I went through almost all of school (from about the third grade onward) with a creeping feeling that something was very wrong with the way my contemporaries and I were being "educated." Berry correctly observes that modern education is increasingly not education at all, but processing. This occurs in part because real education takes place amid uncertainty, since we adults (the educators) are imperfect and often ignorant.

An ignorant man can process a person, turning him or her into an engineer, a bus driver, a torch singer or a soldier. But the question of whether that ignorant man can truly educate is another question, shrouded in mystery and doubt. We have, overwhelmingly in modern times, opted for the certain but limited (ultimately destructive) path over the mysterious path, with its boundless possibilities.

Perhaps at some point in the past this decision made sense. It is now time to revisit it.