Now gluten-free!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

How Do You Spell NIT?

Looks like the NIT has now cemented its reputation as the "consolation prize" tournament, for colleges that don't make the NCAA tournament. According to this story on, they misspelled the t-shirts they had printed up for the champions: "West Virgina". Sadly, some college graduates might not have noticed the difference (including some who send me resumes)!
When I showed this to my wife, she said, "At least they remembered the 'R'." OK, she said it, not me!

Scientists Discover Life on Mars!

Just this morning, NASA scientists released a photo they say proves the existence of life on Mars. I must admit that it has me convinced. To see for yourself, click here.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

International Philosophy

And now for something completely different...

Who ever said philosophy was boring?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Medieval Help Desk

This video so well illustrates what it's like to be a techie in a non-techie world!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

SQUIRREL ALERT: Unpatriotic Squirrel Steals American Flags from Vet

According to a recent intelligence report from La Crosse, Wisconsin, a rogue squirrel has been spotted stealing small American flags from the property of a Korean War veteran. Doug Olson, the victim of this horrific crime, witnessed the squirrel as it snatched one of his flags and scampered away. The furry rodent is still at large.

This report is strikingly similar to another incident that took place at Eau Claire's Forest Hill Cemetery back in September of 2006. No arrests were made in that case either.

The implication is all too clear: a squirrel terrorist cell is operating in neighboring Wisconsin while Minnesota's borders are left virtually unprotected. In light of this, the Squirrel Threat Level will remain at High.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Scotland the Brave? More Like Scotland the Whipped

From today's issue of the Daily Record:
    Scotland's smoking ban--one year old today--has been declared an overwhelming success. But doctors are already calling for even tougher measures, including licensing shops to sell cigarettes.
The Scots used to have heroes like William Wallace. Now, they look up to doughy twits like Health Minister Andy Kerr for leadership.

Perhaps a brief lesson in Scottish history will help put things into perspective...

The 1300s:
    "They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!"
    "Scotland was the first part of the UK to go smoke-free and I look forward to England, Wales and Northern Ireland following suit."
Just exactly when did real men become extinct?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

99 Luftballons Auf Ihrem Weg Zum Horizont

Sorry, Nena. The state of New Hampshire ("Live free or die!"), which is on its way to enacting a statewide smoking ban, now wants to tackle another growing threat: balloons. According to House Bill 62, "It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly release or cause to be released into the atmosphere within a one-hour period 26 or more balloons inflated with lighter-than-air gases." Naturally, no explanation is given why releasing 25 balloons within a one-hour period is perfectly acceptable, while releasing just one more is a criminal act, but that's government for you.

There are a few exemptions, of course:
  • Balloons released by or on behalf of any agency of the United States, the state of New Hampshire, or any other state, territory, or government for scientific or meteorological purposes.
  • Manned hot air balloons.
  • Hot air balloons that are recovered after launch.
Anyone violating this new law would be fined $250 for the first offense and $500 for each subsequent offense. I never realized this kind of thing was such a problem. I guess this means school kids and seniors in New Hampshire will have to come up with another way to find pen pals.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

This Planet's Got a Fever...

...and the only prescription is more dumbbell.
Gore Implores Congress to Save Planet

Al Gore, who has reversed his political fortunes to become a potential contender in the 2008 presidential race, made an emotional return to Congress Wednesday in an appeal for an even more dramatic rescue--saving the planet.

Gore--who is one of voters' top choices for the Democratic presidential nomination even though he says he's not running--implored lawmakers to adopt a list of policy prescriptions to stop global warming. ...

... "The planet has a fever," Gore said. "If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don't say, 'Well, I read a science fiction novel that told me it's not a problem.' If the crib's on fire, you don't speculate that the baby is flame retardant. You take action."
*Snore* Bore us no more, Gore.

Temporary Relief of Gas Pain

If you're like me, you normally don't fill your tank up with premium gasoline because you know that it's a scam. But I might have made an exception last night.

Local news outlets have been buzzing this morning about a computer glitch at a Coon Rapids gas station that allowed customers to purchase premium gas at only $.27 per gallon. Yes, you read that correctly. Twenty-seven cents. That's about what you would have paid in the mid-1960s. And even then you wouldn't have had to pump it yourself.

Word spread quickly, and people drove from all over the Twin Cities to fill up. The petrol party ground to a halt, however, when the owner of the station was finally notified after police noticed a long line forming at the pumps.

It seems I'm just never in the right place at the right time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Top 10 Culturally Significant Video Games

From the NY Times:
    [Henry] Lowood and the four members of his committee--the game designers Warren Spector and Steve Meretzky; Matteo Bittanti, an academic researcher; and Christopher Grant, a game journalist--announced their list of the 10 most important video games of all time: Spacewar! (1962), Star Raiders (1979), Zork (1980), Tetris (1985), SimCity (1989), Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990), Civilization I/II (1991), Doom (1993), Warcraft series (beginning 1994) and Sensible World of Soccer (1994).
What I don't understand is how anyone with any appreciation at all for video games could put together such a list and not include Pac-Man in the top 10--not to mention Pong!

(A tip o' the fedora to Christopher Knight for this story.)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Insane or Just Plain Crazy?

"Virtual Insanity" by Jamiroquai

I could tell you how this was filmed, but I won't. I will say that no special effects were used--except for the bugs.

"Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley

"Virtual Insanity"? "Crazy"? Is there a pattern here? Well, just take a look at these ink blots and tell me what you see...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Your TV: Soon to be Obsolete!

Unless your head is under a rock, you've probably already heard about high definition TV. Less understood is how digital TV is going to take over completely in February of 2009, and analog TV is going away. At least, analog will no longer be broadcast over the air.

But, never fear! The government is here to help! A program has been announced wherein the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will be issuing $40 coupons to the general public, to be applied toward purchasing a set-top converter box. The box will receive digital TV over the air and convert it to analog for your old set.

Not yet known is how much the boxes will actually cost at a typical retailer, so it's hard to say just how far that $40 will stretch. To date, many over-the-air set-top converter boxes have cost in the $200 range, though Radio Shack once offered a box for $80 that sold out immediately. Right now, you'd be lucky to find such a converter box anywhere. They pretty much don't exist right now, as retailers are only interested in selling complete new TV sets. As of the first of this month, all new TV sets sold are now required to have built-in digital tuners, even if it's not a wide-screen "HDTV" set.

Of course, if you're among the majority of people who receive your all your TV over cable or satellite, this doesn't necessarily affect you. Cable companies can continue providing analog cable for as long as they want, and satellite has already depended upon set-top boxes with analog outputs for years. Even if you have satellite or cable, though, and you're just dying to get one of these things, you will still be eligible to get the $40 coupon. At least, you will in the first round. If the initial allotment of government funds runs out, they will then limit the coupons to people who "self certify" that they do not have satellite or cable.

All in all the feds may be spending up to $1.5 billion to support this program. There's still a big profit motive in it for the federal government, though. As soon as the process is complete, they plan to auction off much of the vacated analog spectrum to wireless service providers, which could raise several billion. You can check out the official NTIA announcement here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's Called an Oxy, Moron!

Everyone knows what an oxymoron is, right? No, it isn't a really big dumb guy. It's a figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory words.

A classic oxymoron is a term with an inherent contradiction. Examples of this would include "awfully nice," "resident alien," "a fine mess," "new tradition," "virtual reality," or "sweet sorrow."

Over the years, however, the definition of oxymoron has evolved to include terms or phrases that aren't really oxymora at all. That is, they do not necessarily have an inherent contradiction, but are employed mostly for humorous or editorial purposes. Examples of this would be "active retirement," "Great Depression," "politically correct," "honest lawyer," "military intelligence," or even "Thank God I'm an Atheist."

Here are the current top 20 according to
  1. Microsoft Works
  2. Healthy Tan
  3. Jumbo Shrimp
  4. Work Party
  5. Dodge Ram
  6. Virtual Reality
  7. Tax Return
  8. Working Vacation
  9. Head Butt
  10. Pretty Ugly
  11. Peace Force
  12. Tight Slacks
  13. Plastic Glasses
  14. Taped Live
  15. Same Difference
  16. Living Dead
  17. Silent Scream
  18. Personal Computer
  19. Alone Together
  20. Government Organization
Check out the web site and see if you can think of any that didn't make the list.

One of my all-time favorites: "Scandinavian cuisine." But I'll probably save that one for a future post.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ok, kids, this one takes the cake...

Mugger attacks two elderly women...aged 101 and 85!

Watch this video, but don't feel sorry for Rose or Solange! Rose said she feels sorry for her mugger, Solange says she is praying for him. I pray that he is stopped before he does this again!

Make sure you listen to the part where the mugger gets away on his "pinkish red bike"! (I am sure he paid full price for it!)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Left Behind? Yes, This Should Be

After the overwhelming success of the Left Behind series from authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, how could anyone expect to meet the public's growing demand for mediocre storytelling and questionable theology? Why, with a video game tie-in, of course!

The folks at Left Behind Games, Inc. invite you to join "the ultimate fight of Good against Evil":

  • Lead the Tribulation Force from the book series, including Rayford, Chloe, Buck and Bruce against Nicolae Carpathia – the AntiChrist.

  • Contrary to misinformation on the web, this game does not include references to any other religion. Also, there is NO killing in the name of God, and NO convert or die missions. All content has been reviewed and approved by Tyndale House Publishers prior to publication.

  • Conduct warfare using the power of PRAYER and WORSHIP as more powerful weapons than guns.

  • Recover ancient scriptures and witness spectacular Angelic and Demonic activity as a direct consequence of your choices.

  • Fight against negative spiritual influences against the Antichrist and his forces.

  • Command your forces through intense battles across a breathtaking, authentic depiction of New York City .

  • Control more than 30 units types - from Prayer Warrior and Worship Leaders to Spies, Special Forces and Battle Tanks!

  • Enjoy a robust single player experience across dozens of New York City maps in Story Mode – fighting in China Town, SoHo , Uptown and more!

  • Play multiplayer games with the Tribulation Forces or the AntiChrist's Global Community Peacekeepers with up to eight players via LAN or over the Internet!

  • Wow! This game has it all!

    I especially like some of the items in the FAQ section:
    Are you concerned that the Christian community won't want a game in their home where lives are taken and people get killed? Absolutely not. How often do you hear about the Christian community up in arms about PG-13 movies? I suppose there might be a very small number that do, but we do not expect this represents the majority of the mainstream and Christian marketplace. What is the most important thing players will "take away" with them after having played the game? We expect gamers will find themselves "having a great time" while "thinking and talking" about matters of eternal importance. What is the level of violence in the game? Our game includes violence, but excludes blood, decapitation, killing of police officers, etc. Our game is expected to be widely accepted by the mainstream and Christian marketplaces, just as they have accepted Star Wars games which are "T" for teen rated. We have taken great care to make certain that consequences for poor gamer behavior will adequately reflect the gamers actions. Accordingly, unnecessary killing will result in lower Spirit points. Are guns used by Christians against non-Christians? Why or why not? The storyline in the game begins just after the Rapture has occurred – when all adult Christians, all infants, and many children were instantly swept home to Heaven and off the Earth by God. The remaining population – those who were left behind – are then poised to make a decision at some point. They cannot remain neutral. Their choice is to either join the AntiChrist – which is an imposturous one world government seeking peace for all of mankind, or they may join the Tribulation Force – which seeks to expose the truth and defend themselves against the forces of the AntiChrist. Does the violence depicted in the game run contrary to Jesus' message on "love your enemy"? Absolutely not. Christians are quite clearly taught to turn the other cheek and to love their enemies. It is equally true that no one should forfeit their lives to an aggressor who is bent on inflicting death. Forgiveness does not require absolute defenselessness. Apparent contradictions on behalf of Christians are often the result of them placing greater importance on the message, than in caring for others. LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces is a game which provides great entertainment while encouraging fascinating discussions about matters of eternal importance.
    The lesson for Christians, it seems, is this: If you can't win souls with the truth, twist it into a disturbing futuristic novel in the hope of scaring people into the Kingdom. If that doesn't work, keep them glued to the TV by dazzling them with an action-packed video game and pray that it might one day get them "thinking and talking about matters of eternal importance."

    What's that? The Gospel? Yeah, I suppose we could give it a try. Do you know if that's available for PlayStation 3?

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    Two Legs Are Better Than None

    Here's one of those touching stories that makes you appreciate our furry friends (squirrels excluded, of course):

    Have you hugged your pet(s) today?

    Faith was lost for several hours on Wednesday, February 21, at the Orlando International Airport. Apparently, the airline put her on the wrong flight.

    Fortunately, dog and owner were soon reunited. See that video here.

    Monday, March 05, 2007

    Are You Ready for "Mini Y2K"?

    According to a recent news report, some people fear that this year's earlier switch to Daylight Saving Time may lead to a "mini Y2K":
      Although it's more of a nuisance than a catastrophe in the making, older computers, PDAs and DVRs may not automatically update their times when daylight-saving comes three weeks early this year--on March 11. The date change was established by the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was passed to get Americans to cut energy consumption. The thinking is that less energy will be used toward the end of the day if the sun's out later. For years, most of the nation has set clocks ahead on the first Sunday of April. Few computer experts think the new date will make a big difference.
    I predict that, as was the case with the original Y2K, nothing will happen (though I am leaving the Squirrel Threat Level at "High"--you know, just to be on the safe side). In fact, the only catastrophe I can foresee is that Chris Wilde may have some trouble with his digital clocks again.

    But don't let my lack of concern fool you into thinking that I'm going soft on the Daylight Saving cult. Not by a long shot. I still think it's one of the dumbest things ever invented, and making it last longer is even dumber. It's especially pointless as an "energy-saving" strategy in this 21st century, technology-driven, 24/7 world.

    At least there's some hope that the new arbitrary dates may not be permanent:
      According to the Energy Policy Act, Congress has the right to revert to the former daylight-saving schedule if the new method is unpopular or doesn't prove to save energy. The Department of Energy will conduct a study on its effectiveness.
    On the other hand, trusting the same idiots who came up with this nonsense in the first place to judge objectively its effectiveness makes as much sense as trusting Tom Cruise to judge objectively the effectiveness of psychiatric medicine.

    Friday, March 02, 2007

    My Fourth Time Shoveling in 24 Hours...and It's Still Coming Down

    Okay, that's it for me. Thanks very much, ladies and gentlemen. You've been great. See you in the spring.

    A Winter Haiku

    Deep, wet, drifting snow
    Look! My neighbor's snow blower
    Thou shalt not covet

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