Saturday, April 7, 2007

Fun with wind chill and other things

Indulge me while I take a break from watching paunchy men play golf. Thank you.

After yesterday's post about my travails at the ballpark, I wanted to see what the wind chill was. A 43-degree temperature with 24mph winds makes for a "real-feel" of 34 degrees, according to the calculator over at NASA's site. I was curious, since I think the wind chill is a ridiculous notion, as to what the wind chill was when it was 95. Factor in a 20mph wind, and it feels like 103. I thought the wind was supposed to cool us down?
Wind chill is ridiculous to me because I never really know what any temperature feels like. If it feels like 34 degrees, what does 34 feel like? I don't know, because when it's 34, the wind chill is 25. For practice, I go outside on calm days so I can figure out what real temperatures feel like. It's a hobby.
Has anybody besides me noticed this little note that comes up when uploading a photo on Blogger? Apparently, we have a limit, after which, what happens? I suppose we'll have to start deleting posts to make room for the new ones. On the bright side, I've been at this for a year, and only used 2% of my allotted space, so I suppose I have another 49 years of blogging before I have to start thinking about that. So I have that going for me.
In my ongoing quest for interesting new music, I may have found something. For some time, I have been hearing snippets of Umphrey's McGee on the local college radio station. They don't get a lot of exposure (which should have been a dead giveaway as to the quality) and I have a hard time diving into a band on the strength of one tune.
While poking around the Real Player site (where I download music), I came across them under the "Jam band" category, and downloaded Safety in Numbers, which came out in 2006.
Suffice it to say that I'm having trouble getting it out of my CD player, and the songs stick in my head so much that I wander around humming them to myself like a mental patient.
If you're a fan of interesting music, with a touch of jazz syncopation, a little thoughtfulness, great playing and some intelligent songwriting, this one is highly recommended. If you are not a fan of those things, well ... I really don't know what to recommend.

Friday, April 6, 2007

The Boys of Summer? I would like 2 minutes for rebuttal

Did you ever do something and think it was a good idea when you did it (like 'just one more drink' or changing cell phone providers) only to find that it wasn't? Last week, I bought a ticket for Thursday's Phillies game, called a "Businessperson's Special" (a.k.a. Unemployed slacker game) thinking it would (a) make for a nice 4-day weekend and (b) be a great day out for a ballgame, seeing as how the club is supposed to win and all. As it turned out, I spent three hours freezing my boys off at the ballpark watching Adam Eaton throw batting practice, and helped the club to its 0-3 start.
So it wouldn't be a total loss, I spent most of the time wandering around taking photos. However, with a game-time temperature of 43 degrees and 24mph winds, the camera seemed more like a task than a hobby.
At first, it seemed as though the day would turn out nicely, at least weather-wise. Soon, however, both the weather and the Baseball Gods would turn sour. The view from the parking lot was deceptive in its beauty. You can't photograph cold, but trust me...
The giant image of shortstop Jimmy Rollins greets me as I walk in. The concourse is open, and the wind whipping in made the rest room the only place of refuge. I chose the cold over the smell.
In the downstairs concourse, we have our little Smoker Zoo. This is where kids can come to observe adults in ridiculous behavior, segregated from society as a result of their disgusting personal habits. While this was going on, the singer was at the "land of the free" part of the Anthem.
That is the big sign that sits behind the "Bleacher Seats" in center field. The bell lights up and swings back and forth when a Phillie player hits a home run. That's the rumour.

Ashburn Alley is the concourse in left field where there are tons of food stands. They should have a cholesterol screening stand as well. A cheese steak and a Zocor, $20.
Those are the bullpens at the bottom left. Ashburn Alley along the right side. The Phillies had their bullpen moved to the lower level because the fans would lean over the railing and yell junk at them. The Orioles have a similar set-up in Baltimore. It's fun, after a few beers, to go out there and tell the opposing pitcher that his parents were never married.
As you can see, by this time, the clouds were moving in. I felt like John Candy and Steve Martin sitting in the back of that pick-up truck on the way to Stubville. "What's the temperature?"
"One."Long-time third base coach and all-around good human being John Vukovich passed away earlier this year. He was here forever, and genuinely loved and respected. The ballclub painted the third base coaching box in his honor, and the players are wearing a patch on their sleeve all season.The best view of our great city comes from the walkway that takes you up to the cheap seats on the third base side. It was so windy I could hardly hold the camera. The railing was shaking, so that was no help. I think the building was shivering, too.
Once you're up the walkway, there's another nice viewpoint that shows the old Spectrum (right) and the newer Wachovia Center, where the Sixers and Flyers play. That corner on the right is where Veteran's Stadium used to be, before it was imploded a couple years ago. It's a parking lot now.
On the other side, you can see Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles play. I've never been there, but they tell me it's nice. Around here, football tickets are a privilege. Thursday's weather would have been great for a football game, but ungodly for baseball. In one four square-block area, we have space for all four sports teams, plus concerts and shows. Sadly, there are only two places to eat and drink. I never figured that out. It's in the middle of warehouses and industry.

I did manage to find one, though. I hung with the game until the 6th inning, then ran off to a place called Bennie the Bum's, at the Holiday Inn where I parked. There, I watched the last 3 innings of the 8 to 4 loss in relative comfort while my various extremities thawed.
I'm hoping the weather improves soon. There's another afternoon game on the 26th, and I want another excuse to cut work.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Don't Shoot the Messenger

Keith Richards has acknowledged consuming a raft of illegal substances in his time, but this may top them all. In comments published Tuesday, the 63-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist said he had snorted his father's ashes mixed with cocaine.

"The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father," Richards was quoted as saying by British music magazine NME.

"He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared," he said. "... It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

Richards' father, Bert, died in 2002, at 84.

"I've no pretensions about immortality," he added. "I'm the same as everyone ... just kind of lucky. I was No. 1 on the 'who's likely to die' list for 10 years. I mean, I was really disappointed when I fell off the list," Richards said.

In other news...


Big deal, right?

She was selected to receive the 2,333rd star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

The actress will be added to the Hollywood Boulevard landmark, right in front of the home of the Academy Awards, the Kodak Theatre.

The actress said: "I cannot tell you how good it feels inside me right now. I wish you all could be inside me right now to know how it feels."

Me too.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Making You Aware of the Obvious

In case you were not aware, that is a giant, inflatable colon that apparently tours the country, much in the same way that Britney Spears does.

Since I am sure you have always wanted to walk through a giant simulated colon (who hasn't?) you should hit up their web site and find out when The Super Colon is coming to your town and take the day off from work to take a stool ... er ... stroll.
And no, Super Colon is not a good name for a super hero.

The point is, I think I'm up to here (pointing at my throat) with the Awareness Weeks, Months and Days that have been anointed to bring us into closer contact with various diseases and conditions with which we would otherwise be totally unaware - or so they say.

By my unofficial count, there are more "Awareness Weeks" than there are actual weeks. They include Lightning Safety Awareness Week, Brain Awareness Week and Sky Awareness Week. Aren't we all aware of the sky? How is it commemorated? Stand around outside and stare up. Now you are aware of the sky. That seems to work in contrast to Brain Awareness, which should, for some people, occupy more than a week of their year.

It is April, in case you were not aware, and April is Rape Awareness Month. OK, now what? It is also Alcohol Awareness Month. I am aware. It is Mathematics Awareness Month. I can add. It is Autism Awareness Month. I don't have a joke for that. It also celebrates Counseling Awareness Month. If I was in counseling, I think I would be aware of it. I really don't know what I am supposed to do. I am already aware of all of those things. Most of them, including Mathematics, are horrible.

The rest of the year, you can add to the list: Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Is anybody not aware of breast cancer by now? I really just want my doctor to be aware of it.
Here are some things that I would like people to be aware of that seemed to have slipped by. Pick a day, week or month of your choice and celebrate with me:

I'M BEHIND YOU IN LINE AWARENESS - Check behind you. While you're writing your check and waiting for the cashier to bag your junk, I'm waiting.
MY REAR BUMPER AWARENESS - I've checked, and it is visible from the road. Why don't you realize how close you are?
BAD BREATH AWARENESS - You're standing very close and you stink. The amount one stinks is directly proportional to how close they want to stand to me.
CELL PHONE AWARENESS - Pick something and be made aware of it. Your loud stupid ring tone, you're talking too loud or turn your phone off when you are away from your desk.
TURN SIGNAL AWARENESS - It's that thing sticking out of the left side of your steering column. Put your cell phone down and use it.
MEN TALKING ABOUT DANCING WITH THE STARS AWARENESS - Whether you know it or not, you sound gay. Not that there's anything wrong with it. OK, the girls on the show are hotties, but once you stop talking about that and move on to the dancing part, you're out. The "I watch it with my wife" excuse is unacceptable damage control.
LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP AWARENESS - Don't be a jackass and try to maintain a relationship with someone who is a time zone away. Anybody further away than a 2-hour car ride is out of bounds. I'm enacting LDR Awareness Life as a constant reminder for myself.

RECYCLE BIN AWARENESS - Get the Goddamned copy paper out of the trash can. The recycle bin is right next to the copier.

- People should be made aware so that they can stop. I didn't pay 75 bucks to hear the guy next to me sing "So Much to Say".
I BLOG TOO MUCH AWARENESS - That should begin immediately for me. These things should have a time limit on per day usage.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

This isn't about Paula Creamer. I just added her to the page to cheer me up.

The ubiquitous filmy plastic bags we use to carry our groceries are convenient, free and - no surprise - popular. But unless they're properly recycled, they'll exist on earth for 1,000 years before decomposing. And they will not go quietly. In the USA, we use 100 billion bags a year.
Paper bags, meanwhile, generate 70% more air pollutants and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This is because four times as much energy is required to produce paper bags and 85 times as much energy is needed to recycle them. Paper takes up nine times as much space in landfills and doesn't break down there at a substantially faster rate than plastic does.
So, what's the answer? Canvas. Go here, buy some and take them with you to the grocery store. Empty the contents and take them back the next time you go. One person can make a difference, if there are enough of us.


WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court rebuked the Bush administration Monday for its inaction on global warming in a decision that could lead to more fuel-efficient cars as early as next year. The court, in a 5-4 ruling in its first case on climate change, declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

We needed the Supreme Court to tell us that?

Whatever else comes of the decision, "this administration's legal strategy for doing nothing has been repudiated," said David Doniger, counsel for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group involved in the case.

Other states that have adopted California's standards on emissions of greenhouse gases are: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Cleaner cars and less plastic. That's a start. Did anyone see that 60 Minutes piece on Sunday? Scientists have taken core samples from ice in Antarctica that tells them that greenhouse gases have increased, starting at the time of the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. It's been almost two days since the broadcast and I haven't heard any anti-warming nutjobs coming out against the science this time. I guess maybe they can't argue with a core sample as easily as they can argue with Al Gore.

The report is here, and if you missed Sunday's program, it is worth the time to watch.


Monday, April 2, 2007

The Apple doesn't fall far from the iPod

LONDON - Record company EMI Group PLC said Sunday it planned to unveil "an exciting new digital offering" with computer company Apple Inc., raising expectations that The Beatles' music catalog is about to be made available through Apple's iTunes online music store.

So, this makes, what, five formats? LP, tape (cassette & 8-track), CD and now the digital. I'd like to know how many people have the same albums in every format. Especially since they just got through screwing us with that re-issue of all the Capital albums. I'm sure Beatle fans were busy warming up their credit cards and making iPod space for another copy of "Hey Jude", until ...
EMI Says New Deal to Allow Apple to Sell Songs Online Won't Include the Beatles Catalog
LONDON (AP) - EMI Group PLC said Monday a deal to allow Apple Inc. to sell the record company's songs online would not include The Beatles' catalog - dashing hopes the group's music would be available to download for the first time.
Screwed again -- kinda. Think of it as a money-saving opportunity, and go back to the CDs.
Tonight, on the TV, is the final game of the NCAA tournament. As it is with NCAA football and The Super Bowl, the sport's biggest event is played on a neutral field. Tons of corporate executives and their various relatives cheering from the expensive seats and waving at the cameras..
I really enjoy April Fool's Day. Not because of the pranks, but because I can do my normal routine of doing and saying stupid things, and when I get the crosseyed stare, I counter with, "April Fool!" (Or, on more serious offenses, "April Fool?") It won't work as well today.

In other news, Morgan Pressel won the Kraft Nabisco LPGA event this weekend. Paula wound up 15th at 3-over and 6-over for the day. Even if Paula had shot par, it still would have been only good enough to force a playoff, so I guess you have to begrudgingly give Pressel a lot of credit. Or not.
While watching the golf on Sunday, I noticed that they came back from commercial a few times for "An NCAA Tournament update." Update? What happened, did they re-count the score of the awful games on Saturday? Is somebody sick? Nope, just some more network bantering about a game they are promoting. Stupid interviews with kids from Florida saying that "the reason I came back to school was to win another national championship." Well, great, as long as your motives were honorable. Why bother coming back for an education when you can loaf around and play basketball? I think the only reason they televise stuff like women's golf is so that they can use it to promote 60 Minutes, CSI, The Final Four and Letterman. Nevertheless, it should be a good game, even though the golf stunk.
Since I'm having trouble posting YouTube videos (something about a broken link), click here to enjoy the boys in their glory days (circa 1965), and see a drummer who looks to be completely out of place in the whole deal.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

My One-Year Old

When I was here, where were you? Chances are you weren't here, since I was kind of talking to myself then, as opposed to now when I'm answering myself, too. Anyway, why do I ask?
Because it's my one-year Blogger anniversary. One-year anniversaries seem to be the big deal around the Internet, so here is mine.
That reminds me of something mildly irritating:
A local TV news station does children's birthday photos on Saturday morning. They call it Baby's First Birthday or something like that. The point is, the kid is one year old, but it isn't his first birthday. His first birthday was the day he was born. This is his second birthday. Things like that bother me like a back itch.

And there you have pretty much what my blog is based on. Random junk that I think up and write down.
I remember agonizing over the name. Suffice it to say that after a lot of rejected ideas, I chose something that has a ring of truth and a hint of sarcasm.
Readers come and go, but I think Carmen gets the prize (if it can be considered that) for being here the longest. She must have a high threshold for pain.

So, here I go, on my second birthday, and God knows it isn't always easy, but you seem to hang in with my penchant for wordiness. I get lost in my own world. But it's all worthwhile when you can read crap like this:
I am still confounded by the arrogance of the local weather people, who today called for a 20% chance of rain. Twenty percent? What does that mean? Either you think it's going to rain or not. Twenty percent is bullshit.
Whatever happened to the concept of turning the other cheek? I guess that doesn't apply if it's the cheek with the wallet in it.
THE NINE-TENTHS AT THE END OF THE GASOLINE PRICE - Try this: Stop by your local gasoline emporium and ask for a gallon. See how much it costs and try to get your one-tenth of a cent change.
I don't need to hear Jay-Z at Space Shuttle lift-off volume rolling through my neighborhood. Keep your stupid music to yourself.
"99 Bottles of Beer" was Benjamin Franklin's choice for the National Anthem of the United States.
It is cathartic, though. Generally, it keeps me from jamming the sharp end of an ice pick in my head. On most days, that's a real benefit.

Happy Blogger Birthday, My Sick Mind.