Wednesday, December 28, 2011

One Tough Mudder, Obstacles 21-30

Continuing the saga, I present obstacles 21-30 of the World's Toughest Mudder. Only ten more to go after this. If you're interested in prior postings of the first twenty, they can be found here and here.

Enjoy (or something): World's Toughest Mudder Events 21-30

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One Tough Mudder, Obstacles 11-20

The second quarter of the World's Toughest Mudder. Obstacles 1-10 here.

World's Toughest Mudder Events 11-20

Saturday, December 24, 2011

One Tough Mudder, Obstacles 1-10

Last weekend I went down to New Jersey to compete in the World's Toughest Mudder, a 24-hour obstacle course that broke me after 5 1/2 hours. A more thorough description may be coming later, but for now I provide the first 10 of the 40 obstacles encountered every lap of the course (the race objective was the run the most laps in the allotted 24 hours).

World's Toughest Mudder Events 1-10

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Hate Texting

Which is why I'm constantly accused of being awful of answering texts - that's kind of the point. I don't feel like texting you, ergo, you won't be receiving a response. Anyway, the following exchange happened last night:

Mom: At lauras benefit. We have a website design, t shirt, coconut pie, billfold, and movie tickets.

Mom: Is xlarge good for you.

Me: Large or medium.

Mom: You getting and xlarge. Wash it in hot water.

Texting: where poor spelling and grammar meet snark. Also, my parents now have an agreement to have a website developed for them. I'm not sure if they know what that means, but I imagine a return to web 2.0.

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Rule: Emulate Your Villians, or Don't...

For better or worse, I love me some Real Time with Bill Maher. Maher typically ends his show with 4-5 humorous rules making fun of pop culture and ridiculous aspects of society, and then one rule that receives a five minute tangent on how evil the Republican-controlled House is and the necessity of regulating corporations/making drug laws less stupid/clean air. Well, I've a new rule for next Friday's show: You can't support the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS) as a liberal response to the Tea Party (TP?) movement if you once characterized the TP as a movement based on willful ignorance without acknowledging it makes OWS, by the transitive property, a movement based on willful ignorance.

Van Jones, the AFL-CIO, and other big names have now gone to bat for OWS over the past week, giving it the momentum to last for at least as long as it takes for NYC to get cold and drive the trustafarians back to The Island. We've also observed pundits and liberals jump on the opportunity to compare the movement to 2009's emergence of angry conservatives collectively known as the Teabaggerspartiers.

The irony lies in how those proud of this comparison so derided the Teabaggerspartiers as a collection of ignorant racists two years ago. They were denigrated for their reactionary nature (a characterization I agreed with, which is why I refused to let Brendan Boyle call me a tea partyist during our late night philosophical debates, regardless of my refusal to believe government is capable of consistently providing efficient services). I don't have a favorable opinion of the movement; it's become part platitudes, part multimillion dollar enterprise that allows Herman Cain to sell books and Sarah Palin to make expensive speeches. This is an evolution from when I just assumed it was willful ignorance and platitudes, personally unable to recognize the profit potential that Russo Marsh and Rogers exploited.

The point to all this is highlighting how the Tea Party Movement was once mocked two years ago, still deserves to be mocked, and the fact that former mockers are now desperate to compare OWS with TP as a force to be reckoned with. Maybe the occupation lasts through the winter - good for those actually making the sacrifice to occupy Zuccotti Park. But don't compare yourself to a movement based on willful ignorance - although your tactics may be different, it only exposes you as willfully ignorant.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Old Dog Has Tricks - He'll Sure Hunt!

Bill Snyder looks to be proving his worth again. K-State has scored 2 touchdowns to Miami's lone field goal early in the second quarter. He's made Klein the centerpiece of the offense, running the boy around the ends and having him pass all over the field; he's 7 of 9 for 100 yards. Snyder suggested that K-State had only opened 25% of his playbook to-date, and apparently he wasn't lying.

Last year we saw Snyder pulling similar antics at Texas, starting Klein after throwing QB Carson Coffman started all year prior. Klein only completed 4 passes, but we fondly remember the beating the Wildcats put on the Longhorns in 2010 due to Collin's amazing running day. I didn't hate Ron Prince, but Snyder is proving why we named the stadium after him.

In Canada for PopMontreal. Leaving the hotel for bangin' music party. Hopefully we can extrapolate this score for about a 48-12 win. Fingers crossed?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why Kansas >>>>> New York

A couple weeks ago, the following offshoot of conversation transpired on the Facebook:

Dave Toan October 8. Mark the Date.
September 7 at 3:08pm · Like · 2 people

Kathleen Digan no thats my birthday. you cant do this on my birthday.
September 7 at 3:08pm · Like · 1 person

Dave Toan OMG - I wondered why my idea was so perfect!
September 7 at 3:09pm · Like

Kathleen Digan not to be are all clearly invited to stout on my birthday at stout that evening to see me drink the birthday jug.
September 7 at 3:09pm · Like · 1 person

Dave Toan Watching Nora hit 'like' is kinda creepy
September 7 at 3:10pm · Like

Dave Toan and you're invited to 'aroudn the world' after you finish your birthday jug at Stout.
September 7 at 3:10pm · Like

Kathleen Digan shut up you all know you need my organizational skills to plan it...i planned both the prom and the ball at my high school.
September 7 at 3:11pm · Like

Dave Toan Not having attended a school with a ball, I'm immediately skeptical of anyone who planned one. I once hosted a dorm-wide ping pong tournament, so, pretty much, suck it.
September 7 at 3:12pm · Like

Kathleen Digan im gonna come over to 18 and fight you dave. im wearing pearls and heels today, both of which i will use as weapons. be ready.
September 7 at 3:13pm · Like

Kathleen Digan ‎(sarcasm font would be lovely to have for this thread)
September 7 at 3:15pm · Like

Dave Toan ‎"Quick, Brendan James Boyle, call security - a minority is trying to infiltrate our corridors!"
September 7 at 3:17pm · Like

Kathleen Digan the sgt at arms love me dave. they will totes take my side over yours
September 7 at 3:18pm · Like

Dave Toan Maybe, but high school grammar teachers the world over hate you right now.
September 7 at 3:19pm · Like

Kathleen Digan oh wow i didn't know they taught grammar in kansas dave!
September 7 at 3:20pm · Like

Dave Toan - If you scroll down to 'k' (that's the letter after 'j'), you'll find Kansas sitting at #4. But y'all tried hard too, I'm sure. SAT and ACT Average Scores by States law2.umkc.eduRanksings of states by SAT and ACT average scores.
September 7 at 3:26pm · Like ·

Kathleen Digan hey look its the grammar cowboy! - The Grammar Cowboy
‎1991 - A University of Houston student edutainment project. "The Grammar Cowboy...
See More
September 7 at 3:26pm · Like

Nora Elizabeth dont you two have jobs?
September 7 at 3:30pm · Like · 1 person

Kathleen Digan Also nora, dave and I were taking part in important bi partisan bonding. This is your govt at work.
September 7 at 3:55pm · Like

Dave Toan ditto
September 7 at 4:00pm · Like

So then I started typing this: KS v. NY

I originally set out to prove how much greater Kansas was than New York using SAT scores, which are indicative of intelligence, which is indicative of likelihood to commit crime. But apparently KS has much greater crime rates than NY, so, fail.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cage Jousting

I haven't been making any entries recently, which is attributable to nothing but laziness. I have more downtime both at work and in the evenings than ever before. I still don't feel like writing. Rather, I will be periodically transferring old entries on Facebook onto this medium; taking credit twice for something I wrote once. During a conversation with Jason, Thunderdome was referenced. It reminded me of this little diddy from my senior year of college. Enjoy:

In April we were sitting in Game Theory and learning about bidding. Apparently there is no good way to assign payoffs to two bidders who tie for the highest bid, so each person has their payoffs divided by two in mathematical solutions. I find this unacceptable. I first suggested Cage Match to determine winner, and then decided that jousting would be a better method. Five minutes later, I stumbled upon the most baller way ever to determine who wins: cage jousting. I then spent the day's lecture writing rules for game. The scenario we were discussing was bidding for tulips. Earlier today I found the notebook I recorded the rules in, and need to electronically record them before the notes go into a burn pile:

Rules for Cage Jousting

1. Two men enter, 1 exits.
2. Horses are not considered men.
3. Two horses enter.
4. 2, 1, or none horses exit.
5. Men must remain on horses: floor fighting off-limits.
6. It's not fair to knock another man's horse off-balance to get him on the ground.
7. If another man is aiming at your horse, he is not aiming for you. Hence, you have a free shot. If you cannot succeed in knocking him off, you suck.
8. If joust ends in tie, winning horse receives tulip.
9. .95 chance if you aim at horse, horse will eat you.
10. This .95 chance being eaten, combined with danger of leaving yourself open, makes aiming at horse very stupid.
11. Only Chuck Norris would aim at horse.
12. Chuck Norris does not lose cage joust.
13. This is strictly hypothetical - Chuck Norris would never bid for tulips.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Solutions for Americans, for America

This weekend I learned about the cottage industry of ‘day’ and ‘sleep away’ camp. For those of you growing up in real America and requiring a quick primer, ‘day camp’ is where you send children for the day, then pick them up in the evening. ‘Sleep away camp,’ however, entails actually going somewhere else and sleeping overnight. Both industries (if they can be bifurcated) are apparently built around the premise that rich parents need something to do with their kids during the summer.

I think I can do some good for this country by blowing up this entire structure. Back in real America, if you’re 12 and it’s summer, you find your ass a job. There’s no excuse for being in junior high and not knowing how to at least operate a grain cart. So we take all these privileged children, and put them to work picking strawberries and melons in fields across the country. We would boost the economy and help Long Island be a little less of a joke in the process.

The economic boost would be immediate. Picking jobs are available, Americans just aren’t willing to do them – which is why we have to import our labor. These children would be taking jobs from migrant workers that typically send a large portion of their wages back home through remittances. Instead of that money going to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, it stays here to be spent on Ralph Lauren shirts that, though manufactured in Vietnam, are sold in American malls.

The bigger benefit, however, is that Long Island gets its shit in order. The place is seriously an embarrassment. The kids it produces need to learn what it’s like to work for something. Floating this idea over the weekend, I was told the kids would just refuse to work. Good. Then they don’t eat. Maybe they’ll starve. One more problem solved. Bitter end.

Friday, August 5, 2011

(How To) Teach the Controversy

If I were a biology teacher in Louisiana, Texas, Kansas, et cetera and asked to teach creationism, I would reply that I am a science teacher. Given my loathe for science, I don’t see how this would ever be a scenario, but that would still be my reply. If the response was that I was expected to ‘teach the controversy,’ I would accept the demand without any argument.

At some point in the year we would have a class based on psychology and people’s mental needs. We would cover the urge to explain things regardless of tangible evidence supporting the explanations, with supernatural beings traditionally held responsible for most events that societies had no control over. Next we’d hit the fact that likelihood of survival is increased if one is more willing to follow the group, giving rise to the fallacy of the appeal to popularity and resistance to questioning one’s institutions. The final 60 seconds would go: people traditionally turned to religion to explain things, and the Judeo-Christian background of your ancestors used the Adam and Eve story to explain how people came to be. People were afraid to challenge this because society has never treated questioning scientists very well – particularly when the questions challenge the authority of the church. As such, the controversy prevents more serious scientific discussion. Later on, some people figured this’d be a great thing to politicize and develop into a wedge issue. In short, people are closed minded and opposed to whatever the church campaigns against. Republican strategists manipulate this in an effective manner, well aware that in the midst of adversity voters really do cling to their guns and religion. You have now been taught the controversy. Enjoy your weekend kids!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Big News

As of Monday I've officially relocated to Center Square, which is within walking distance of both work and 75% of the bars in the city. It's the 2nd and 3rd floors of an apartment (to be shared with a couple work mates) with a pretty nice kitchen and all the storage room you could ever ask for. I mean you could hide dead hookers galore in all the closet space we've been provided. But bigger than this news was today's unveiling of the logo for next year's All-Star Game:

I hate the fact I've yet to see the renovated Kauffman Stadium (albeit the changes don't sound too impressive), but apparently some good has come out of it. I hate that, as Royal fans, we're always relegated to looking to the future instead of enjoying the present, but 2012 looks to be shaping up as an excellent year for KC.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I feel like people should be screaming 'T-Paawwww; what, what!' after his name is announced when he walks onto stage.

I also think I hate him more every time I listen to him on a Sunday talk show. Given that I developed a strong distaste for him in 2009, he's sunk pretty low by now. It's not just that he says dumb things - everyone spouts bullshit on these shows (the reason Tim Russert was so great was the pushback he gave). David Gregory is ok about forcing people to be honest, but just seemed to give Pawlenty a free pass. Chris Wallace did a better job, but still let T-Paw get away with quite a bit. Problem is, whenever this man is interviewed, it seems as though he says something stupid, and the interviewer just lets him get away with it because it will take too much effort to explain the fallacy, and even if you did explain why he's wrong, Pawlenty would just double down on stupid. Kind of like Joe Wilson. And Bachmann. And, really, boiler plate Tea Party in general.

The awesome thing Pawlenty suggested was fixing Obama's approach to Libya by approaching it the way Reagan would. Gregory suggested Reagan pulled out of Lebanon, which runs counter to Timmy's "Obama isn't tough enough" mantra. T-Paw counters that Reagan used other methods to dispose of dictators. Awesome: Presidential Candidate Tim Pawlenty just went on national tv and suggested Iran-Contra was a good idea. Or maybe he just supported the way Reagan dealt with Libya. That was a time when our country was run by a strong, military-minded President who wasn't afraid to take on Gaddafi. So he engaged in a bombing campaign while refusing to send in ground troops and eventually called an end to hostilities without ever taking out Gaddafi. Which, oddly enough, seems to be what everyone is accusing the current weak, pinko president of doing...

For the record, Reagan on the debt ceiling:
Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and on the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result. The risks, the costs, the disruptions and the incalculable damage lead me to but one conclusion: the Senate must pass this legislation before the Congress adjourns.

I wonder what it's like to exalt a man as your infallible guide to policy and politics, yet disagree with most of what he stood for and did.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Use Honey for Catching Flies Only

I've been battling the mice in my house awhile now, content with throwing some more rat poison into the ceiling every time I hear the bastards scamper across the panels as I'm laying in bed. But last week I was awoken from my session-constrained sleep to hear one running around, and was so outraged I began violently pounding the wall (presumably to scare it from the house, but unsuccessfully so).

Monday morning I arose early enough to hit the supermarket for food and the hardware store for mousetraps before heading into work. Arriving home that night, I failed to find my jar of peanut butter (a safe assumption is Erol took it when moving out). Unsure of my next move, I was like, 'well, honey is sweet - I bet they'd like that.' So I set two traps with large dollops of honey and went to bed.

Tuesday morning I arose to find my trapping efforts were for naught, as both had been left undisturbed. Although disappointed, I decided to leave the traps there and see if I could get one during the day. I arrive home last night/this morning to find the traps still empty, consoled myself that it was worth the try, and went to bed. Before leaving for work this morning I check the traps one more time, hoping they'ed finally fallen for the sweet nectar, and sonuvabitch if there weren't ants crawling all over the floor. So now I've failed to adequately address the mouse problem, and have created an ant problem. Not only did I fail, I failed twice. I'm sure there's a lesson somewhere in there, but my penchant for obstinance means someone else will have to apply it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Let's Kill the Term "Gay Priest"

Maureen Dowd is obviously agitated over the pushback against gay marriage in New York. The New York Times editorialist eviscerated Archbishop Timothy Dolan on Sunday over his opposition to the legislation. While full disclosure requires me to say I’m not the biggest fan of Dowd, this one rubbed me wrong.

Dowd has a lot of issues with Catholicism, and shotguns about 5 different attacks on the church (not all are even germane). My biggest problem with Dowd’s ranting, though, is that she bashes Dolan for opposing gay marriage while harboring gay priests:The church refuses to acknowledge the hypocrisy at its heart: that it became a haven for gay priests even though it declares homosexual sex a sin, and even though it lobbies to stop gays from marrying.

Dowd’s not the first to take this approach, but I think we should try to make her the last. Calling the sick assholes that took advantage of children for decades "gay priests" implies the problem is that they’re gay – and that replacing them with straight priests would solve the problem. It wouldn't, because it doesn't address the problem, but she seems to have no problem conflating homosexuality with pedophilia. Here's the difference: a gay priest gets a rent boy for consensual male companionship (see Ted Haggard, George Rekers, etc.). A pedophilic priest is a criminal who deserves criminal sentencing. And while the media doesn’t seem to recognize it, there’s a pretty big fucking difference. Shame on Dowd for refusing to acknowledge this difference because she'd rather further her personal agenda by throwing bombs at the Catholic Church.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Better Battle

As State Senate Republicans debate whether gay marriage comes onto the floor today, a much more important civil rights campaign is brewing half a world away. Over a month of online campaigning is set to commence as Saudi women are taking to the streets... on wheels. Demanding the right to marry through civil discourse is a far cry from the threats of ostracization, violence, and rape awaiting the women brave enough to protest national laws forbidding females to operate motor vehicles. Right or wrong, gay marriage remains a very divisive issue in New York (and across the US). Yet the least we can do is provide an unwavering support for the women risking their lives in what will be one of many struggles for equality in the decades to come.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Paul Ryan's Genius

I was jogging last night listening to last Sunday’s Meet the Press, and Paul Ryan was the lead interview. (I’m in training, and try to jog regularly.) Later on that night, while smoking a cigar coupled with Coronas and eating hotdogs (another aspect of my training), I was hit with the realization that Ryan’s fucking with me. Well, America at large, but I’m taking it personal; he actually taunted me on Sunday morning. Here’s how:

The previous week, Newt Gingrich didn’t mince words in saying that Ryan’s plan amounted to “right-wing, social engineering.” He took a ton of flak, and had to completely backtrack a couple days later. So there it is – Paul Ryan’s plan isn’t social engineering. It’s simply a plan, an idea for how to approach Medicare and get costs under control. It’s a proposal a lot of people disagree with, other people support, and in sum defines a starting position to negotiate from. Done and done.

Or so I thought. When Ryan comes onto Meet the Press, host David Gregory launches into an attack on how unpopular the plan is with people, forcing Ryan to defend his actions. Ryan could’ve simply responded that this is a starting point, that of course it will be molded to take into consideration the concerns of the American people, and that he will be taking those concerns into account as he gets the chance to talk to his constituents about it. He could’ve simply said, “there is no other plan on the table. Here’s my plan. Until someone introduces a better one, this is what America needs.”

At first this is what Ryan does. There’re the usual political talking points about it being 700-some-odd days of Democrats failing to pass a budget, lack of leadership from the White House, blah blah… Then, something crazy happens. Ryan continues his attack on leadership by exclaiming leaders are elected to lead. I don't consult polls to tell me what my principles are or what our policies should be. Leaders change the polls.

There’s a lot of extraneous to unpack in the above, from mocking Gingrich’s ‘if you quote me directly and in context, you’re a liar’ to the fact that Republicans controlled both Houses and the White House for a couple thousand days without passing a budget. These aren’t my takeaways though. It’s the fact that Ryan was accused of right-wing, social engineering, everyone in the Republican party made Gingrich retract the statement, and one week later, on the same show, at the same time, sitting in the same chair, Ryan says leadership isn’t doing what the American people want – leadership is engineering polls of the American people to go along with what you want. I don’t think it’s simply ironic; it’s taunting. Paul Ryan is actively taunting me, and no one has caught on. He’s going to get away with it, because he knows he can. What’s more, there’s no political advantage to taunting people at a level above their heads. I honestly believe he’s only doing it to derive some smug satisfaction from manipulating people dumber than him. I gotta hand it to’m – that Paul Ryan is one clever bastard.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Absolute Genius

While disengenuous, it's hard to deny the political mastery of this mailer (note: they use the individual name of the specific mail recipient on the card. That's pretty clutch):
SEIU_NY26_Mailer1 (3)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I, However, Discriminate Equally

Imagine if the NAACP supported gay marriage. The battle in New York would be over in a heartbeat. We would've passed it already. It's now looking more doubtful to pass this year.

Of course, this would require the NAACP to be a true civil rights group - one that doesn't rely on polls on whether or not they'd get criticized for recognizing the civil rights of other human beings (if I was a syndicated columnist, this is where I'd make a lot of money b/c CNN would pick up a Huffington Post article entitled 'Journalist Rejects NAACP as a Supporter of Human Rights,' and aside from being labeled a reporter, I'd go on television and agree. And then sell a book and get paid to talk about gibberish on radio. Bonus: I'd also be right).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pause For Reflection

For your racially charged statement of the day: I can only assume we wouldn't allow this to go unaddressed in the Northern Hemisphere.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Saturday's Exercise Plan

Albany County hydro sites bike ride - about 35 miles roundtrip. If I wake up early enough, I can make it back for Beer Festival. If you're interested, let me know.

Overall Path

Corning City & Riverfront Preserves Along the Hudson River

Detour Through Pebbles Island

Out and Back Around Lock 6 State Canal Park

The Price of Charity

So one day I'm walking home when three young hooligans push me into an alleyway and rob me, stealing not only my wallet and cell phone but also shoes and shirt. A charitable gentleman, hearing the ruckus while walking by, chases off the rapscallions and offers me $25 in cab fare to get home, along with his shirt to keep warm. Before leaving I offer to take a picture of the man sans shirt, encouraging him to strike a flexing pose to embody the heroism he's displayed. Two days later, that picture surfaces on the internet, and the Chris Lee scandal is on.

The winner of NY-26's special election to replace Lee this month will determine the political fortunes of our President next year. You'll know because the news will say so. Particularly if Kathy Hochul (the Dem candidate) pulls out a victory a Republican District. I don't think she will, because the DCCR just doesn't seem that interested in plowing resources into the race. But if she does, it will signal that the Tea Party's momentum has slowed, Republicans are having to answer for unpopular policy choices, and the nation is shifting back to Democratic support. This will be true for about a month. Then CNN will stop saying it, and all the impacts promised will be forgotten.

Conversely, if Jane Corwin(R)wins, we will know that America remains a center-right nation and will be voting to keep Republican control of the House and likely the Senate in 2012. This, because Chris Wallace told us so.

I'm pretty dubious of the spillover effect special elections provide regular ones. It may be that public opinion isn't what's important - it's getting donors excited. Everyone loves a winner, because supporting losers is bad for business. That's a valuable lesson the Donald taught me. So show your ability to win in Western NY, and financial support will flow like honey (sweet, but slow and sticky). I'm still dubious.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Start

I arise early today, the morning air still cold as the sun barely peeks through my window. I throw on my racing shoes, the same shoes I went to break in over two years ago. The same shoes that witnessed my broken leg and escape from the Arb that night; their very first outting. I wouldn’t normally don them, but I’ve a mission this morning. An old hoodie slips over my head and I’m out the door, grabbing a handful of raisins for fuel on the way.

There’s a certain calm these streets know as the dawn's glow shines light into dark corners before the hustle and bustle of everyday life resumes. I make my way first down Kent Street, then merging onto West and through the mixed immigrant neighborhood I was almost held up in one night back in April. Blackalicious jams on my iPod, segueing from Passion to Supreme People. These are the morning’s anthems, and they embody everything the morning is about.

I take a right on Lake, passing by Washington Park and the curbs crammed with cars by students unable to find more suitable parking. A mile and a half in, a left on Myrtle, kicking up another gear to stride out any final kinks to get my blood flowing. I snake into a hidden driveway and cut through the hospital grounds with the familiarity of a patient that’s visited this place one too many times. I steal a reticent glance up at the Cardiology Department windows on the second floor, and then refocus on the task at hand.

Cutting between the Albany Law and Pharmacy Schools, an old track comes into view. Its lane lines are barely visible and enough rubber has worn away to reveal large patches of concrete every 50 meters, but that doesn’t change this oval’s function as the battleground of weekend warriors.

Some stretching and a short rest later, I line up to test my body. Trepidation serves as a governor during a slow first lap, and I pick up the pace at the quarter-mile mark. Rounding lap two, I quicken my pace a little more, though by no means impress the one or two students heading out to work. This leaves plenty in the tank for lap four, and I kick it in with 200 meters to go. Yet with 100 meters left, my kick leaves, and I’m reminded that I haven’t done this in a long time. I finish a minute, maybe 1:10, slower than the end goal - but we’ve got five more months to sort that out. Jogging back home, I pen a short letter in my head:

Dear Boston:

I know past plans didn't work out, but this time is different. I promise. Be seeing you next April.



Thursday, May 5, 2011

Obama's Victory Lap

I've got no problem with Bush not attending Obama's victory lap in NYC today. The former President has refused to be goaded into criticizing the current one, and thus shouldn't be expected to endorse him either. This event would simply be too politicized, and staying home shouldn't necessarily be construed as bitterness.

What I do take issue with is the notion that Bush was 'snubbed' for his efforts. A 'source' stated that: Obama gave no credit whatsoever to the intelligence infrastructure the Bush administration set up that is being hailed from the left and right as setting in motion the operation that got Bin Laden. It rubbed Bush the wrong way.

Boo hoo. Obama has publicly thanked 'the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals.' But as far as the 'intelligence infrastructure' Bush put in place? No one should ever, EVER, be thanked for the clusterfuck that is the Department of Homeland Security. Spending billions on things that fail to increase the safety of the American people is not a laudatory action. Bush did things deserving of praise. This wasn't one of them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Bet He Plays With Passion Too

Peyton Hillis's bruising style got him on the cover of Madden '12 - I'd almost forgotten how excited America gets over a white skill player besides at quarterback. (In fairness, he did rush for over 1,000 yards with the Browns. Even Jamaal Charles would've been hard pressed to achieve this.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Official Release Party!!!

Following much pressure from attention-crazed media whores, the state of Hawaii has officially released Obama's long-form birth certificate (something, btw, it does not do as a matter of standard protocol - even for Presidents). Validating much suspicion from the aforementioned whores, the certificate, while confirming the man is a US citizen, also states that he is a Muslim. Congratulations to those who held strong through everything, never shying away in the face of minimal media criticism. And a special thanks goes out to all those who provided a national platform for the incendiary accusations over the past three years; CNN, Fox, et. al.: we couldn't have done it without you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

If I Ran Politics

I'd make all the liberals and socialists take an economics class, so that they understood the impacts policies have.

Then I'd make conservatives and libertarians take a behavioral economics class, so that they understood the need for policy impacts.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Search for Courage in D.C. Continues

The media is shooting its load all over the House dissent over the continuing resolution vote. The Times, Huffpo, Drudge, Politico, et. al. can't print enough stories about how Boehner needed Dem votes to pass the continuing resolution. The Teabagger Representatives opposed the deal on the principle that there simply weren't enough cuts embedded in the 11th hour deal.

The experiment we'll never get to run is how these legislators would have voted if their votes mattered. What if the House Dems didn't care about the White House and acted as a true opposition, refusing to vote with Boehner? What if the vote was tied 217-217, and one more Representative was required for that final vote? How many Representatives would have still opposed the Continuing Resolution on principle and truly been willing to shut down the government? (Side question: how many actually appreciate what this would mean?) You have to think some of these Congressmen would have abandoned their stance in order to prevent such a scenario.

Courage is defined by the beholder. Some would consider courage being willing to stand on principle, even if it means shutting down the feds and the economic destruction this would entail. Others would consider this idiocy, and define courage as willing to compromise in the face of radical political pressures. The ability to change one's vote means that there can never be a situation wherein only one person dictates the outcome by their vote, so this remains a theoretical game. It's still an interesting one to play.

And for the record, Paul Ryan is not courageous. Smart guy? Sure. Good guy? Yeah - Paul Ryan truly wants to help his country. But courageous? His Road Map wasn't back in 2009, and the only thing I've seen change over the past two years has been Committee Chairmanship.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Double Standards Guide Our Lives

They make me comfortable. I don't know what I would do if society started approaching its issues in a cerebral and fair manner. An interesting example is found in how we approach religious texts. In discussing whether or not Islam is a 'violent religion,' talking heads often take the word of the Quran literally. Indeed, Fox News's legion of media whores demand it. Which is why we follow the King James Bible literally as well, and never leave any of its words open to interpretation. I have personally felled many a man with a large stone for mowing his lawn on Sunday. I'm also of the school that Satan planted dinosaur bones in the ground to trick us.


Yesterday's gchat activity:
Marya's new status message - But District officials are livid about some policy provisions attached to the bill, particularly one that would ban federal and local funding for abortion. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and several members of the City Council led a protest rally Monday on Capitol Hill and were arrested. 9:36 PM
me: Rare are the times in history when men are arrested for protesting the repeal of assistance in terminating human life. Sent at 11:35 AM on Tuesday

If there are any kids reading this, let me learn you some crucial life advice: never, ever, ever get sucked into a discussion about abortion. Zero productive things will come from it. You'd be better off debating religion.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

'Googling's' Still a Funny Word

I was googling myself over lunchbreak today (an activity engaged in about once/week. Yeah, I'm that narcissistic). I found two things of note. The first you don't care about: UM published the energy sustainability report I helped write last year:

Energy Phase I

What's also sweetness is this little diddy:
Apparently Washburn published a picture of the Model UN gang back in 2006 with the caption Members of the Washburn University Model UN Team Jump for Joy in Tiananmen Square. Because nothing screams 'WE SHOULD CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES AT THIS EXACT SPOT!' like Tiananmen Square. And no, white boy can't jump. My air is merely a camera illusion.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


If Obama had moved early on Libya, it would be easy to condemn him for bogging us down in another armed conflict. There would be no counterfactual available to demonstrate hundreds would have been killed if the rebels weren’t protected via No-Fly Zone.

If Obama does nothing, Gaddafi eventually retakes all of Libya and those areas/peoples opposing him would be subject to massive reprisals. Obama is condemned for allowing a massacre to unfold.

Solution: Obama lets enough slaughter to go down that the media supports intervention. His opposition is split, now deriding the decision for a new entanglement after having first protested his lack of action in Libya. You think maybe they had one of those big thermometers stuck to the wall of the Oval Office like they have at fundraisers, waiting for the mercury to hit 2,000 before sending in the Air Force? 2,000 lives for about +/- 4 points in the polls is a pretty solid bargain. Well done, Mr. President, well done.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

This video has been making the rounds on the internet and stirring up more sentiment against the formal Libyan Government:

I struggle with not wanting to diminish the harm done, and recognizing how insignificant the event really was. You can reasonably assume hundreds of women have encountered mistreatment in Libya since fighting began in February. Absent a quick reunification and proper rule of law, thousands more will follow. Rape is what happens when regions suffer destabilization, but I don't think we like to talk about it because it makes us feel icky. Anyway, body counts aren't always the best way to measure the impact of armed conflict, but these types of externalities never make it into the broader conversation surrounding military engagement.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Social Memo

Finally put Shobita's PP585 memo writing class to use

Happy Post

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Environmental(ist-induced) Disasters

Unintended consequences are a wonderful source of intrigue and entertainment to me. I absolutely love them. At night, we cuddle up (we alternate big spoon) and I whisper sweet nothings into their ear. I’ve got a thing for the study of unintended consequences.

In the realm of environmental policy, we saw a cap-and-trade measure* implemented under Bush I to reduce SOx emissions actually increase the usage of older, inefficient, and highly polluting plants than would have otherwise occurred in the free market. This was because older plants were grandfathered in, and did not have to be compliant with the new rules – only new plants did. This made new plants comparatively more expensive under the regulated system, even though they would have been cleaner. Although we benefitted long-term, the short-term result was actually more pollution.

While a reasonable person could have guessed this would have been the case, not all policymakers are reasonable. It’s relevant because pushback against nuclear power is occurring in both the United States and abroad (think Germany) following the horrific events in Japan. As can be expected, the immediate pushback has been to make new construction of nuclear power more difficult.

There are two problems with this – one specific to the nuclear industry, and the other for the energy sector as a whole. For nuclear power, it would be one thing if this were to cause us to start shutting down nuclear plants. But aside from New York Governor Cuomo’s push to shut down Indian Point (long a goal of his), I’m not hearing much push for this – more attention is being focused on moving away from constructing new nuclear power. However, if we make it more difficult to build new plants, we’re left with the crappy, unsafe ones. This is the exact opposite we want. The safest plants will always be new ones built by engineers privy to materials and information not available 40 or 50 years ago.

The second item to consider is that if we do start phasing out these old plants because we don’t trust them, how do we replace the lost electricity production? NIMBYism has prevented us from building wind turbines, coal-fired plants, dams, large-scale solar, and just about any other power production source you can think of. The outcome of this situation is more expensive energy, which kills economic growth. Uber-environmentalists may get excited about this, but they fail to consider that our replacement power is going to be coming from those old, nasty coal-fired plants and current peaker plants. This would also reduce the reserves that can be brought online in the event of increased demand, resulting in blackouts and their associated dangers (think Enron’s manipulations of the California energy market the impacts on the elderly stuck in unairconditioned apartments once the power goes out). That’s how unintended consequences work.

Full Disclosure: despite Brian Adornato’s attempts to dissuade my position, I want some more nuclear up in this bitch.

*For platitudinal conservatives, I hope this information doesn’t make your head explode. Yes, cap-and-trade was implemented in the early 1990s to reduce sulfur emissions from coal burning power plants under a Republican President by enforcing the EPA’s Clean Air Act. The final cost was ten times less than industry estimated it would be, and we made leaps and bounds in reducing acid rain while achieving millions of dollars in health care costs savings by reducing the incidences of asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases. Yeah, that actually happened.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Library List is Smarter Than Yours

The items are listed under the addresses of the libraries that own them. If you have a question about an item, please call the owning library.

Albany Public Library
161 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12210-2398

The following items, which are owned by Albany Public Library, are due in two days. Please renew them or return them to your local library on or before the due date.

Title: The myth of the rational voter why democracies choose bad policies
Author: Caplan, Bryan Douglas, 1971-
Call No: 320.6 C
Due Date: March 14, 2011
Barcode: 31182017843136

Title: The J curve a new way to understand why nations rise and fall
Author: Bremmer, Ian, 1969-
Call No: 320.3 B
Due Date: March 14, 2011
Barcode: 31182017345223

William K. Sanford Town Library
629 Albany Shaker Road
Loudonville, NY 12211-1196

The following items, which are owned by William K. Sanford Town Library, are due in two days. Please renew them or return them to your local library on or before the due date.

Title: Economic gangsters corruption, violence, and the poverty of nations
Author: Fisman, Raymond
Call No: 364.1 FIS
Due Date: March 14, 2011
Barcode: 0000281847

Thursday, March 3, 2011

More Economic Fact-Busting: Commodities v. Grocery Bills

Commodity prices have a big impact on food prices, but not in the way you think. It costs more to transport your box of cereal from Battle Creek, MI to Concordia, KS than the actual corn in the box did. According to the USDA, for every dollar we spend on food, farmers get about 16 cents from the sales of raw food commodities. This is because we like our food really, really refined. And then truck it all over the country. There really is nothing worse than unprocessed foodstuffs.

The above is very valid. However, the story changes as we move into more developing markets. In those countries that rely on more basic grains for their consumption without all the fructose, packaging, and marketing, the raw price of commodities becomes a significant portion of food sales.

I think this is an important distinction that no one is willing to make. The ethanol opposition decries biofuels as the reason for the rising cost of food in the grocery store if wheat goes up $3/bushel. Fortunately for us, bread only increases four cents a loaf – a fairer villain is oil speculators betting on Libyan politics. Yet ethanol supporters can’t wash their hands of food riots in developing nations using this same logic. When you purchase wheat and corn directly to make flour and tortillas, a 50% increase in crop commodities means your food bill just went up 50%. That’s a lot when you make less than $2.50/day (see: 50% of the world).

Conclusion: be thankful you live in a developed country whenever soybean prices spike, because their fluctuations don’t impact people nearly as much in the U.S. as they do in Nicaragua. I don’t like people who are ignorant about the real impacts of crop commodity prices on their grocery bill.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rail: More Dishonest Arguments

Funding for Amtrak is getting interesting as conservative state officials have been taking a stand and rejecting federal funding for rail infrastructure projects. Governors in Wisconsin, Ohio, and now Florida have all rebuked the DOT by saying the state match required to accept the grants isn’t worth the cost. All three follow Democratic predecessors that originally accepted the planned transfers to their states. This is creating some delicious drama as two New York state legislators (a Dem AND a Republican) recently wrote a letter to (DOT Director) Ray LaHood requesting the money other states turned down, and the Governor of Florida is actually being sued by his legislative counterparts for refusing the federal project (also by a Dem/GOP combo).

However, this blog soars above political gossip. I serve merely to examine the economics of an idea. (Please ignore that my most common tag is politics.) And what myth am I here to dispel today? The idea that Amtrak should be shuttered because it’s not self-sustaining.

Assuming any mode of transportation should pay for itself is one thing, but we as a society refuse to apply this principle universally. The airline industry has become a public good due to heavy federal subsidization, and the government spends a few hundred billion dollars every year to provide the cheapest oil in your car and paved roads for public use. Your commute is not a self-sustaining entity – it is subsidized by millionaires paying taxes. In short: the airline industry isn’t self-sustaining. Commute by car isn’t self-sustaining. The idea that rail transportation should be is a blatant double-standard.

Once we acknowledge the fallacy offered above, we must still address the economic efficiency of rail versus roads. From an environmental standpoint, rail typically wins (and incurs nice health externalities in the process – saving us money on healthcare). But how well does it foster business? Roads facilitate the transportation of goods that allows our economy to grow. So does rail. They also allow travel for business and networking. Ditto for rail. The interstate provides opportunity for simple travel and leisure. Rail also gins the vacation industry.

End game: Rail and roads are kinda substitutes, with different people and businesses assuming preferences for one or the other. They both cost more than users pay for them. We justify federal welfare for each because we value connected communities and believe facilitating travel increases economic growth. I can demonstrate why our approaches to both should be changed, but that's a conversation for another day. What's important is recognizing the notion that we should stop funding one because it doesn’t support itself while ignoring the other’s failings is a rather dishonest starting point.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Big XII Conference Tournament Scenarios

K-State's blowout of KU gets a little better every day. After this Saturday's win against Mizzou, K-State looks to be in solid position to secure the fourth bye in the Big 12(-2) tournament (the other three going to KU, UT, and A&M). While the victory over Kansas seemed to give K-State the confidence and direction that kicked off their recent resurgence, it's looking like the game will be a major factor down the road. Here's how the tiebreaker scenario breaks down:

Kansas State and Missouri are both sitting at 8-6 in conference with games left against Texas and Iowa State for K-State, while Mizzou finishes at Nebraska and against KU. Smart money would be for both to finish the season 1-1, tying for fourth in the conference at 9-7. The first tiebreaker, head-to-head, was split as both teams held serve at home and bifurcated the season series.

The next tiebreaker is record against divisional opponents. Kansas State is currently 5-4 in the division, with a game left against Iowa State. A win would leave the Wildcats at 6-4. Missouri sits at 5-3. Assuming they beat Nebraska and fall to Kansas, they would also end the season going 6-4 in the division. Another tie.

The next tiebreaker is record against the DIVISIONAL leader(s). If KU beats Missouri, Mizzou would be 0-2 against the Division Leader. K-State finished 1-1 against KU. So although a win against Texas would be awesome given NCAA seeding implications, it may not be necessary to beat out Missouri in conference. Things are looking up*.

A look at season standings at the time of publication:

*Note: If Mizzou beats KU but loses to Nebraska and both schools are 1-1 against Kansas, the next tiebreaker would be record against the next best school in the division, and so on. This looks to be Nebraska or Colorado. K-State went 0-2 against the Buffs and 2-0 against Nebraska. We need Nebraska to place 4th in the Division and CU 5th. These schools finish the season against each other in a matchup of the traitors. As sickening as it may seem, there's a chance we'll be rooting for Big Red on March 5. Assuming there's a benevolent God, this situation will not manifest itself.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How I Lost Half My Right Arm (Part III)

(Note: Parts one & two can be found via clicking their respective links.)

One shot. Coase got off one shot - a blow that tore through the raptor's left forearm, shattering bone before lodging in the right bicep, disabling two of our foe's deadly weapons. Unfortunately for Coase, this was his last defensive action as Tunrida moved in. Her jaws snapped down onto his neck in a motion as swift as it was gruesome and lethal. How's your bookie like you now?

Wounded, but by no means defeated, Tunrida turns to the last man standing. All the killing led to this. End game. She charges. I lift my shotgun and aim for the head. Click. Jam. Shit.

The charge culminates with a bound into the air and defiant shriek coupled with an expectation of dropping onto her prey. I sidestep, swinging my gun at Tunrida's head. At that moment, something amazing happens. I connect, but not in a manner to stun. The butt and barrel lodge in each side of her mouth, effectively forcing her jaw open. There are now two immediate objectives: keep her jaws locked open, and avoid the daggers on her feet.


Boxing, wrestling, and other combative sports train with the goal of reaction absent thought. Responses made three, four, and five moves into an exchange must become automatic in a manner that escapes neophytes. This fact allowed me to control James Carter in manifold scraps during high school although he was about 40 pounds heavier and considerably stronger than I (most three time state track champions are). My wrestling experience also sunk Josh Urban during my 6-year class reunion.

I emphasize that playing witness to two truly technical competitors invoking a fluid combination of reactive movements is an artistic work on par with Van Gogh's Starry Night or the New York Philharmonic performing Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. It's something amateurs just can't do. Yet my response to the situation before me embodied such fluidity it was as though I had practiced the situation with thousands of repetitions in the gym: I immediately thrust my arm into the raptor's mouth! Looking back, I still don't know whether to describe my actions as genius or insane. What I do know is that something drastic had to be done, and this certainly fit the bill.

It was a reach because the raptor's snout extended out so far, but I was able to hit the back of its throat. Used to consuming subdued hunks of flesh, Tunrida was immeasurably disturbed by the sudden violation by something moving inside her. I began scratching punching the beast's gullet, causing it to hack at first, then shake from side to side to get my arm from her throat. Yet in spite of her panicked response, I somehow managed to keep the gun lodged in her mouth. Two good gnashes would have easily severed arm from body, but I remained safe. I coupled this fortune with a proactive attack by scratching her eyes until I was sure the retinas had sustained ample damage.

Ripping my arm back from Tunrida's mouth, I pull my Glock from its holster while moving back. Unable now to visually track, she had no chance as I jumped away and put a table between us. All that was left was to aim: front sight, back sight, forehead. One bullet left in the chamber was all that was required as I let loose the final round. My opponent felled, Jurassic Park had been saved (or what was left of it). Unfortunately, its owner wouldn't be able to much enjoy it.

It took over 300 stitches to pull my skin together where my arm had rubbed across that bitch's teeth when I jammed my hand into her mouth. I can't peg how long my arm was actually inside Tunrida's mouth, but it couldn't have been more than six or seven seconds. That's all it took to rip half my arm off. Flesh and muscle hanging in a bloody mess from this short time kind of provides perspective of the chance of survival we really had out there, doesn't it?

The stitches have been gone two years.

But the scar remains.

1. This mark was left over from ripping open my arm on a wire holding up Christmas decorations in Albany's Washington Park. It's a story involving a shooting and near-frostbite I'd love to tell you over beers sometime. It should also be noted that Patrick Harkins is credited with saving my life that night.

2. This has been a fun exercise, and has emboldened me to drop all career plans and start writing shitty fiction. I could develop a specialization like the military and become the next Tom Clancy. I feel like demand is really picking up as the book market is rapidly expanding from good books purchased by collectors and intellectuals to the common man who loves reading, loves shitty fiction, and has loads of disposable income. On second thought, it may not be the 1950's anymore. (Dear Tom Clancy fans: unfortunately, I was once one of you. Do yourself a favor: graduate high school, and stop supporting this shit.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A lot of people lost of lot of sleep in my office last week over this, but it's finally finished. There's some really genius analysis found on pages 46-53. And no, I'm not taking credit for the typos that made it into the final version.

Senate Majority Staff Analysis of the SFY 2011-12 Executive Budget

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Resolutions are Made to be Broken

Just finished watching 'Without Limits.' Solid film. Not really inspirational (in sum: Pre tries hard, fails, begins to try again, dies), but a great fucking story. Pre was 24 when he died. I'll be turning 25 this weekend. Sitting behind my screen as I'm watching is the trophy from the 2007 Lincoln Marathon. That's four years ago now. Four years, and I still talk about running marathons. I suppose if I'm to keep talking the talk, I should start running the walk. So here's the endgame: Boston, 2012. Who's with me?

Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it
- Steve Prefontaine

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Even Sportscasting Plays the Game

A couple months ago Tucker Carlson made headlines for going onto Sean Hannity and stating that, "Michael Vick killed dogs, and he did [it] in a heartless and cruel way. And I think, personally, he should've been executed for that." We could go on about how both these men are extreme assholes, or that the hypocrite probably walked out of the studio and enjoyed a pulled pork sandwich, but neither matters; they sell controversy, and any criticism does nothing but generate attention and further their agenda - which is converting attention into money. It's the same game Limbaugh, Beck, Bachmann (whoops!), et. al. all play.

What frustrated me was that ESPN put out a really lame headline on it's front page that a 'news analyst' had called for Micheal Vick's death. It's the same strategy the Topeka Capital Journal engages in - write some controversial tag, and generate crazy internet traffic from the resulting reader comments. Being disappointed with such an approach, I took matters into my own hands and personally e-mailed ESPN's ombudsman the following letter:
Tucker Carlson isn't a 'news analyst' so much as a race baiter. Shock jock Imus wasn't referred to as an analyst when you referenced him following comments about the Rutgers basketball team being nappy hos, and Carlson is no different. You're lending credence to news that shouldn't be, and have encouraged a long dialogue of racist sniping on your site. At least one commentator got it right: ESPN should have just titled the link 'white guy says black guy should be executed.'

I mention this because Don Ohlmeyer, the ombudsman, published his final article yesterday. Obviously, my letter was too airtight to correct, and acknowledging my absolute rightness would've left ESPN with egg on it's face. As such, I never received a response. I'm still angry about the chickenshit headline about a news analyst calling for Michael Vick's death - the resulting conversation thread was absolutely disgusting and rife with racism.

Note: I just went back to the archives. Apparently, ESPN updated the article to change the headline. Yeah, I'm claiming credit for that one.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How I Lost Half My Right Arm (Part II)

(Part I found here.)

There are several keys to game theory. When the game enters the point of brinksmanship, the man that stands to lose a multi-billion dollar investment loses every time. I agreed to help hunt down the marauding creatures, but on my particulars. Everyone armed with either a Franchi SPAS-12 - 12 gauge or a Kalashnikov. Shoot to kill. All men under my immediate command. I had to browbeat an ex-Marine into leaving his M16 behind, but the argument was necessary with my life on the line – I ain’t gonna risk my life over a Russia versus America principle invoking some damn jam-prone gun. Claymores. Mark’em on a map if you’re worried about other dinosaur casualties and want to safely detonate them up later, but it’s easier having one of them raptors go the way of an unlucky Cambodian cow than face it mano-a-mano.

The mines quickly paid off, as we discovered one crying out in pain within hours. One indiscriminate killer had taken another’s leg at the hip, and the raptor had almost bled out by the time we arrived. Its partner demonstrated a ruthless mentality, as only pieces of the bait goat were found and a second set of tracks leading to the machine shed were left behind. The lucky one sat there gnawing on brunch while its partner lay crying in pain. Literally cold blooded.

With ½ the threat eliminated, an obvious change consumed the men. They became less vigilant, almost cocky. Personally, I liked my chances better with two raptors and an alert crew than a set of careless cowboys hunting a solitary bird. Johnson was the first to go down – wandered off alone to piss in the bushes without a lookout. His screams made the company walk a little warier. We’d gone from 7-on-2 to 6-on-1. The new ratio was an improvement, but a betting man would be well advised pursuing a different gamble.

I never underestimate an enemy, but the raptor showed more intellectual instinct than anyone could have predicted. I still take full responsibility for Frenchie’s death, as I failed to fully vet the suggestion preceding his demise. The other men thought we could somehow coax the raptor into the open, and the former Foreign Legion sniper would do the rest with a Hecate II that had lain waste more to than a couple Taliban rebels. So he scurried up a tree while the rest of us set the trap: another goat, this time deliberately injured. Between the scent of blood and cries of pain and fear filling the air, we knew this temptation would be too great to resist. Had to be.

Approximately 2 hours into his wait, Frenchie moved to gain a better view. The branch he stepped on was termite-riddled and frail. It snapped, and he went plunging 20 feet into the underbrush. Following were the same blood-curdling screams let loose by Johnson that morning. That bastard wasn’t interested in our trap – he’d set his own. Rather than approach our well-armed group, he sat patiently waiting for a prey he knew would eventually come down. The raptor never even had to chase his quarry. Broken leg splintering through the skin, Frenchie had zero chance of escaping. 5-on-1.

No idea what happened to Richards. One minute he’s climbing a ravine to scope out the surrounding territory, the next he’s missing. We searched for over an hour. No trace. No sign of struggle, no remains, no trampled vegetation, nothing. At this point, Adams decided he’d had enough. Chickenshit jumped into a jeep, made a run for the helipad, and piloted off with the helicopter. It was 3-on-1, and time to call back your bookie.

(To Be Continued…)

Monday, January 17, 2011

How I Lost Half My Right Arm (Pt. I)

They appeared in my office one day, without appointment or notification. Said they had an offer - a once-in-a-lifetime one. I've unearthed a Brachylophosaurus in Montana and was chased for two days by Marxist rebels half-way into a dig involving a family of Sauropods in Colombia. To me, once-in-a-lifetime offers are a dime a dozen. Such language mildly piques my interest, nothing more.

What did intrigue me was the secrecy with which they concealed their project. The bombasity I typically encounter when someone's selling me an endeavor leaves the purveyor promising a mountain of opportunity that we both damn well know equates to a moll hill. These guys were different - desperate. I'd never encountered such desperation coupled with a refusal to divulge information. I knew something big was sitting in my lap, but couldn't tell whether big would land me in prison, a casket, or on the cover of national geographic. Ask any of my ex-wives, and they'll all tell you it doesn't matter. I've lived enough lifetimes for a dozen people, but a baker's is always better. The intrigue was too much. I was in.

Grad students spending their summer at a dig site think I'm one of the best because of my ability to delicately part fossils from their earthen coffins. They're wrong on two counts. First, I'm not one of the best - I'm the best. Second is the why; I can navigate out of a situation like a real life Jason Bourne. I'm James Bond without the pretty face and frilly drinks. Any asshole can dig a hole in Nebraskan loam. No one else can play two warring tribes in Saharan Africa against each long enough to expertly recover a set of petrified remains, let alone demonstrate the balls to secure the site before escaping once the tribes turn their machetes towards their white invaders. They didn't want me for these callused yet delicate hands - they wanted me because I'm as cool under fire as they come.

Boast as I might, nothing could have prepared me for when we landed on that island and first witnessed those beasts wandering the land; eonic anachronisms millions of years past their prime. Yet there they were, roaming before us. I'm normally quiet by choice. This was the first time in my life that, left with the choice, I was truly unable to fill the silence.

Three days of catered meals and behavioral observation lulled me into state of euphoria and security I should have recognized as false. Three days to scrutinize the social, physical, and intellectual properties these brilliant specimens displayed. Over dinner that night, a layer of their secrecy was peeled away. Michael, the prinicipal funder and typically jovial leader became quite serious:
"We have a problem with one of the dinosaurs."

"Which one?"

"The raptor."

"You never mentioned a raptor."


"You didn't bring me here to simply observe your magnificent genetic breakthrough, did you?"

"You're here because you're the best."

"How many?"


"How long?"

"Five days. This is why we were so insistent on your expedited arrival."

"So you've got a pair of the most adept killers the animal kingdom has ever known working in tandem to terminate every specimen on this island you've spent billions of dollars and likely decades of work to create."



"No what?"

"Seemed direct to me. 'no,' as in, I won't do it. I'm ready to head back to the main land."

"Mr. Thoman, you act as though we present to you a choice. The fact of the matter is, no helicopter or boat will leave this island until the threat is subdued. You simply have no choice."

"You will require provisions eventually. Until then, I am content to wait."

"But Mr. Thoman…"

"Additionally, I believe you've revealed more then you intended with your language. 'Subdued?' You expect me to 'subdue' these monsters with the tools supplied to riot police in a Western nation? These creatures are not WTO protestors, and only a dead fool would hunt them with anything less than weapons primed for maximum lethality. Gentlemen, I have had my fill for tonight, and believe it is time to retire. I'm sure we shall revisit this issue in the morning over breakfast."

"We shall, Mr. Thoman. However, we suggest you not tarry too long before changing your mind - your room is, unfortunately, not primed with the best security to thwart all dangers. I hope this situation can only expedite your willingness to reconsider your options."

"Good night, sir."

(To be continued...)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Metaphors Flow Like Traffic on the Turnpike.

K-State hasn’t beaten anyone good this year. 12-4 Washington State is probably the best win, with Virginia Tech and Gonzaga (both currently 12-5) in the mix. None are ranked. In fact, we’re losing to teams that aren’t that good. Take Florida, who’s best win is over Tennessee (haha – see what I did there?); even teams from a crappy SEC are beating them. Some are calling for the team to refrain from panicking. Personally, I say fucking panic like the roof is on fire.

The Wildcats have fallen from a lofty perch, going from #3 in the nation to 0-2 in conference play. This would understandable (though not excusable) if the conference season started with trips to Lawrence and Waco. It didn’t. It kicked off with a loss to Okie State, followed by a home loss to Colorado. COLORADO! The Buffs got their first victory over a ranked team on the road last night in fourteen years. That losing streak is older than R. Kelly’s next hookup.

Pullen is now on the record as saying he wouldn’t play in the NIT. Once players start thinking NIT, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. After Saturday’s game against Texas Tech the schedule goes: @ Mizzou; @ A&M; vs. Baylor; @ KU. (Aggievillage idiot) Curtis Kelly will make his return against the Red Raiders, and many hope this presence will right the ship. For my sake, I hope it does. Unfortunately, I’m not confident Kelly will ever get his act together, and it’s hard to have faith in a team that claims this is the key to success. Jimmer Fredette or Jared Sullinger being the difference between success and failure I’ll buy. But if Curtis Kelly is your linchpin for victory, you’ve got some serious foundation problems. If the Wildcats were stock, you’d short this in a heartbeat. At least Wichita State is providing some excitement this year. Of course, I refuse to get too high on the Shockers again this year - they’ve broken my heart more times than Stanley Lynch, Benmont Tench, Mike Campbell, and Ron Blair.

(family friendly version)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Defensive Blocking

That's how Oregon can win tonight. This was the game plan laid out by ESPN's College Football Podcast with Ivan Maisel. The idea is as follows:
-Cam Newton: excellent runner
-Cam Newton: subpar passer
-What the Ducks should do: promote Newton passing, not Newton running

Essentially, the idea is to play a lot of single coverage and cheat up a safety. Additionally, the defensive line is also responsible for playing contain. Ends are told since middle school to ensure no one gets outside, but this is particularly true against Auburn. If a tackle tries to push you inside, sacrifice 'easy access' to the quarterback for the sake of keeping containment. Let your linebackers cover the rest - the D-line's sole responsible is to keep containment. They actually called for the linemen to act as 'blockers,' more responsible for occupying linemen than actually rushing the QB. You couldn't pull this off if Vince Young was slinging arrows, but Newton's accuracy may allow for it.

Personally, I think this idea is simply genius. It sounds downright luny initially - why would you ever tell your defensive linemen not to charge full bore ahead? Attack, attack! However, putting linebackers on Newton and relying on your secondary to knock down his average passes demonstrates one method for addressing nonconventional offensive packages with nonconventional tactics. If only someone had been brilliant enough to proffer such a unique approach before.

Another idea I liked that the podcast did last month was outlining their dream BCS match-ups. For the record, here's what I would have liked to see play out:

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin v. Alabama (UW the best team in the Big 10(+2) this year. Arkansas probably deserved to make it in over Alabama based on record, but this is the match-up I'd prefer to see. Note: SEC team in the Rose Bowl to accomodate important pairings involving the Pac 10(+1.5) and some non-BCS schools.)
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma v. Boise State (UConn didn't deserve a bowl game, and who wouldn't watch this classic rematch?)
Orange Bowl: Stanford v. Virginia Tech (Stanford absolutely annihilated Virginia Tech, and I admit I was worried about this beforehand. I still think this was a good pairing. Virginia Tech by all accounts ran roughshod over the ACC and demonstrated it deserved to be in a BCS game. I'd still watch this game if it were to be played again in February.)
Sugar Bowl: TCU v. Ohio State (I'm dubbing this the "Little Sisters of the Poor v. Annually Overhyped, Can't Beat the SEC" Bowl)
National Championship: Oregon v. Auburn. Easy.


"Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: 'Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!' Pls see my Facebook page."
-Sarah Palin, Twitter

“The way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action."
-U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, discussing Sarah Palin's map that has since been removed from her Facebook.

Maybe it affected Loughner, maybe it had no impact at all. Personally, I don't think it did. Doesn't matter; it already happened and making this our defining concern does the country a disservice by diverting attention from where it needs to go. Jon Stewart was right - it's time we take it down a notch. Not just today and tomorrow either. It's not enough to condemn acts of violence. If we are to grow as a society, we must also condemn the conditions and environment that foster such violence. No excuses. None. I never want to hear another American talk about 'second amendment remedies' ever again. And if that American should run for office, no self-respecting party could endorse them. No excuses. None.