Monday, February 28, 2011

Foiled Million Dollar Idea: Revived!

This weekend, I was on my throne doing some thinking, and I was in great discomfort.  The reason for the discomfort is different from the reason I had originally sat upon my cherished porcelain chair, for those of you whose minds would turn this into a depraved poop joke.  Anyway, as I sat upon my stool (again, get your mind out of the gutter...), I was shocked by just how cold the seat was.  I had this problem at work when the bathroom was icy in the past, but never such an unwelcome thing had happened in my own residence!

Seeking a way to rectify this situation, I came up with the idea of a heated toilet seat.  Unfortunately, as a faithful reader so gleefully pointed out to dash my hopes, there are already electronic heated toilet seats out there.  It would have been easy to pack up and wallow in my impending continued lack of a million dollars, but no...that's not how I roll!

I thought to myself, "Everyone who's got half a brain and some cooking sense prefers gas to electric when it comes to ovens and stove tops!"  Then, my great innovation hit!  A heated toilet seat with a pilot light!  There would be two knobs...One to flush the turd when you're done pinching it out and another to adjust the heat!  Of course, with my idea, the seat would need to be ceramic instead of plastic (I don't want to get too many toxic fumes going in that little room, and some are somewhat inextricably linked to the bathroom activity).  So there we have it...A ceramic toilet seat with open flames under it!  BRILLIANT!  Now to try to obtain products/completed operations GL coverage on this invention...


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spring Forward, Fall Back (Me up Here)

The other day, while bemoaning the spring edition of daylight savings with a colleague, I came up with an idea that seemed so brilliant, so awe inspiring, and so elegant in its simplicity that I had to share.  It's fairly agreed upon that setting the clocks back an hour and getting that one extra hour to sleep, run, cook, clean, etc. is vastly superior to losing the hour.  I have applied the principle of Butt Hole Transitivity to this claim, and it confirms the veracity of the statement.

On a more heuristic note, the only class I ever missed in college (excluding those I missed when I was on grad school visits) was due to the springing forward of the clock.  I flipped the switch on my digital alarm clock, and not only did it move the clock from 2:00am to 3:00am, but it also changed my preset alarm from 8:00am to 9:00am.  I don't know what foolish or evil bastard programmed the clock to do that, but that is the subject of another post.

Anyway, my idea was that we fall back twice a year!  This way, twice a year, we could be reinvigorated and ready to tackle the next six months, fueled by our extra hour of sleep.  As my coworker and I discussed, a warning light (not unlike the "Service Engine Soon" light in your car) shined in my noggin.  This surely had to be a writ of "too good to be true."  After a split second, I realized the flaw in my plan.  If we adopted this plan, we'd sure as Hell better develop a taste for nocturnality...

This is an open call looking for ideas to fix this whole spring forward travesty.  I look forward to hearing your ideas.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Government Emblem

A faithful reader just sent me a text (well, a series of three texts) that I had to share, as it's rather apt.  Enjoy:

"The government today announced that it is changing its emblem from an eagle to a condom because it more accurately reflects the government's political stance.  A condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of dicks, and gives you a sense of security while you're actually being screwed."

Well put, faithful reader...well put.


Comma Coma

I hope not to bore you into oblivion with this, but today, I would like to pay tribute to one of my favourite bits of punctuation.  No, I'm not talking about the semicolon, the ellipsis, or even the exclamation point.  While each of these amuse, fascinate, tantalize, and titillate, they cannot measure up to the prince of pause.  However, I am not writing this to elevate the common comma, noble though it may be.  Instead, there is one comma so beyond its time as it lavishes lists, spectacularizes seriality, and masters multiplicity.

I am of course talking about the Oxford comma.  A better gift that Britain has given the world, I cannot name.  That said, commas in general are rather fascinating, as they can change the entire meaning of a sentence by their insertion or omission.  Be sure to check out some of the examples in the above link for both clarifying sentences as well as creating ambiguity.  I find it amazing how such a slight pen stroke can influence a sentence without altering a single word.  Maybe I'm alone in my wonder, and maybe I'm just a gigantic dork, but I'll leave that for you to decide.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bruschetta Chicken Recipe

It's been a while since I've thrown down a recipe, so I reckon it's time to remedy that.  On today's menu is my version of Bruschetta Chicken!  The recipe I'm giving makes enough for two people

2 Boneless skinless chicken breast per person (fully defrosted)
2 Roma tomatoes
2 Garlic cloves
3 Mushrooms
Olive Oil

1.  Dice the tomatoes, mushrooms, and garlic.
2.  Combine tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, basil, and olive oil in a big bowl and let sit out for an hour or so, stirring occasionally
3.  Preheat the oven to 350
4.  Cut the chicken longways almost all the way through so you can "unfold" it as though you're opening a book
5.  Put the chicken in a baking pan, and spread the mix inside the flap and then close your "chicken book"
6.  Pour more mix on the top of each (now folded) chicken breast
7.  Put in oven till chicken is nearly done
8.  Sprinkle some romano or mozzarella cheese on top and finish baking
9.  Scoop and enjoy

I recommend steamed broccoli and garlic bread as a side, but it's hard to go wrong with a buttery pasta dish if you so desire.


Monday, February 21, 2011


It began with Tunisia.  Then, it spread to Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Libya, China, and several other countries.  Citizens in these nation have taken to the streets in droves in defiance of tyranny.  While there are many explanations to clarify the motives, I find (perhaps wishfully so) one to be the most compelling: People want freedom and democracy.

I have no trouble dismissing Iatola Khamenei's claim that the protesters want to establish Muslim states because it does not jive with the commonality of all the nations experiencing unrest and upheaval.  I'm not denying that some factions may wish to see that outcome, but if it was the end goal, why would such protests arise in Iran and China?  Oh wait, breaking news:  State media is reporting that no such protests are occurring in those two countries.  Perhaps the fact that state media is in existence at all supports my claim that people in those countries are not free?  I can't say for sure, but I'd bet the commonality among this set of nations (and more that are likely to join) is that the people aren't free.  Given that and the fact that I don't see any other blatant similarities, it's hard for me to think this isn't about democracy.

If indeed my above claim is true (and we will only know this from historical perspective down the road), I am left scratching my head.  How is it that we, the United States of America, a nation with freedom and democracy so ingrained in its identity not publicly and unequivocally supporting pro democracy movements?  For God's sake, some of these governments are bombing their own people.  In other nations, people are being beaten for merely planning to attend rallies for freedom.  Yet, all I hear is deafening silence from Washington.  Sure, Hillary Clinton condemned the Libyan violence, but notice she is telling the government to stop, and she is not expressing a backing of the protesters.

The only comments I hear backing protesters come from Nancy Pelosi, and she is talking about the Wisconsin situation (which is the subject of another post entirely).  When I look at what is happening around the world and couple that with what I'm hearing from Washington, I have to ask myself, "What would Reagan do?"

Would he succumb to political correctness and keep quiet not wanting to upset the apple cart?  Would he instead speak to the world and let it know that we stand up for freedom (if you have time, I urge you to watch the entire clip)?

What could possibly be taking Washington so long to tell the world we are behind those fighting for freedom from oppression wherever they are?  The only thing I have seen from President Obama is a professorial talk to reporters about Egypt.  Pardon me for saying so, but this speech and that of President Reagan above do not sound alike at all.  The tone is different, and thus, the message is different.  One speech stood up for freedom proactively, and the other merely provides a hindsight account of what happened.  One talks about what should happen in the future and what we ought to strive for, and the other is a historical recount.

We ought to defend the notion of freedom and support those seeking it with unwavering resolve, and we ought to do it ex ante, not ex post.  While not all free elections will make the United States safer, that is an eventuality we must deal with and to which we must adapt.  However, it is not acceptable for us to support dictators out of convenience.  In doing such a thing, we diminish our credibility and influence around the world.  If we really believe in freedom and democracy, we ought always back those principles.  This watershed mark in history is no exception.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Mighty Mullet: The Diplomat

Love Stinks

A faithful reader forwarded me a video yesterday, and it left me with a dilemma.  My choices were to allow a strong farting theme on the blog this month (borderline letting the subject hijack the blog) or to keep from you a very funny video.  I have decided to share the movie, but I would like to offer the following disclaimer:

While the DOPP Staff finds flatulence amusing, any mentions of it are incidental to the content of the blog, and this webpage is by no means strictly dedicated (nor are there plans for it to be in the future) to air biscuits.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Liberty Coins vs. Man Coins

In 1909, there was a change to our coinage that spread further in the 1930s and the 1940s, and we have never looked back.  I am of course talking about the introduction of busts of real people on the faces of our most metallic of currency.  In 1909, Lincoln was imprinted on our pennies.  In 1932, Washington was placed on our quarters. In 1938, Jefferson nickels were introduced.  Eight years later, the Roosevelt dimes were rolled (no pun intended) out, and lastly, in 1948, Ben Franklin first graced the half dollar.  Before these changes were made, our coins fell into one of two categories: 1. They had a nameless native American on the obverse, and 2. They had a generic "Lady Liberty" gracing the front of the coin.

While I like that we pay homage to our most influential leaders (although there is one on that list above that I'm not terribly fond of...I'll leave it to the reader to determine), I would prefer if we printed "Lady Liberty" on our coins again.  Printing busts of great men (and women...I'm talking to you, Sue B. and Sacagawea) seems to elevate them above the principle of liberty.  Liberty to me is a concept that is above any man who has ever lived, no matter how great his courage in defense of freedom, and I think that is something we should go back to elevating on our coins.  Before you say anything, yes, I know that the word "Liberty" appears on each coin.

Below are some pictures of coins with "Lady Liberty:"
1916-1945 Mercury Silver Dime Melt Value  1916-1930 Standing Liberty Silver Quarter Melt Value  1916-1947 Walking Liberty Silver Half Dollar Melt Value  1878-1921 Silver Morgan Dollar Melt Value  1921-1935 Silver Peace Dollar Melt Value

Now are some pictures of "Man Heads:"

I would put more pictures up, but the text box is being wonky as hell, and I think you get the general idea.  

Which do you prefer?
Lady Liberty
Man Head free polls


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Elementary, My Dear "Watson"

After watching the three day IBM ad on Jeopardy, I must say I'm highly impressed.  Besides proclaiming that Toronto is a US city and repeating an incorrect answer, Watson was fairly effective at kicking some serious ass. However, I noticed one very interesting trend...Watson was far more apt to win money on questions with longer answers.  Conversely, the shorter clues were generally gobbled up by Ken Jennings.  I think that regardless of the length of the clue, Watson synthesized the information at the same speed (at least the difference was imperceptible) whereas Ken and Brad took longer to read the lengthier clues, thus giving Watson a distinct advantage.

While I am definitely in awe of what Watson was able to accomplish, there was something else that impressed me more.  We were treated to a few shots of Watson's "brain."  It took up a very large room, had countless servers and processors, and three refrigeration units to prevent him from suffering from heat stroke (in a manner of speaking).  Clearly, the research, engineering, and programming that went into this project is a marvel in and of itself.  However, my focus shifted to those contestants capable of emotion upon seeing the images of the IBM master-machine.  These two men were computing identical information at nearly the same (albeit obviously a hair slower) speed as this monstrous mechanical wonder.  Further, they were doing it while using up a LOT less space.  It really put into perspective just how amazing our brains really are.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gas Leaks and the Workplace Redux

A few days ago, I wrote an article on the social norms of passing gas in the workplace.  Today, I would like to propose an addendum to that post.  It turns out that while I did conduct extensive research on the topic, there was an important situation that I neglected to address in my analysis.  I am of course referring to offices that have heat detection cameras.  If your office has such devices, for whatever reason, farting is strictly off limits.  There is no situation (even if you are all alone on a weekend) where dropping bombs is acceptable.  Instead of offering written logic, I will leave you with a movie that should tell you all you need to know:

epic fail photos - Inconspicuous FAIL gif
see more funny videos


Monday, February 14, 2011

Damn Dam

There is a little contraption in my apartment shower that has irked me to no end ever since my first moment of inhabitation.  Usually, when someone complains about something in their shower, it's the shower head for lacking the setting for appropriate water pressure...It's rarely ever right.  Well, my gripe is completely different.  It revolves around the stopper.  The way my particular contraption is supposed to work is with a spring.  If you push it down when it's in the up position, it will stay down to prevent water from flowing down the drain.  If you press it when it is already down, it should pop up.  For comparison, it's like most doors that you'd find on a television cabinet.

Luckily, it does work as it's designed (exactly as noted above).  However, it does not serve the purpose it was designed to serve.  Anyone who has ever taken Calculus I has surely seen a related rate problem.  The crack team of engineers who designed this "dam" piece of garbage have not.  The rubber seal of the stopper sits too low, so water cannot drain at a rate at least equal to the rate of water shooting out of the shower head.  In layman's terms, I wind up with water up to my ankles at shower's end.  This simple fact exacerbates the already dire situation.  Now, as the shower drains (you're more apt to hear Christina Aguilera sing the National Anthem properly before all the water is gone), all the shampoo and soap residue that's been rinsed off cakes to the rubber of the stopper thus constricting the waterway that much more.

You're probably thinking that there's a clog of some sort, but I reject that claim because I have tried Drain-O (well, store brand because I'm cheap), and no matter how much I use, and no matter how many times I use it, the problem persists.  Anyway, this whole situation has me more frustrated than Mighty Mullet trying to utter a true statement, so finally, I said, "Enough is enough!"

I went to the leasing office and asked them to remove the stopper.  They put in a request to maintenance and told me that the man would come to take care of the problem on Monday.  Well, today's Monday, so I gleefully sauntered into my apartment after work with renewed vigor hoping to behold a glorious un-stoppered sight.  Much to my chagrin, there was a stopper there!  But this was no ordinary stopper...this one was shiny.  I traipsed back to my door, head hanging in despair, and I saw a note from maintenance saying, "We removed your old stopper and replaced it with a new one."  I must ask, who's running the show here?  I explained the problem in stunning detail and delineated the perfect solution for them.  This should have been a slam dunk.  They didn't even have to think...I'd already done that for them!

I collected myself and walked to the office again to tell them my harrowing tale of unattainable triumph.  They advised me that they thought that when I said, "The shower stopper is ruining my bathing experience...Please remove it completely," what I really meant was, "Please make my problems shinier."  Un-frickin'-believable.  They told me they'd try to have it taken care of tomorrow, but I have my doubts.  I can't say I'd be surprised if they installed a new tub and then reinstalled the same God-forsaken stopper.


February 14th

It's Valentine's  Day, and I'm itching to get back to the zoo, so I figured I'd post a movie about things that big cats love!  Also, on an unrelated note, have you ever noticed that "Valentine's Day" and "Venereal Disease" have the same initials?


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Two Anonymous Heroes

Saturday, I met up with a friend for lunch in Philly, and we wound up going to Reading Terminal Market.  I kind of had my heart set on a DiNic's famous Roast Pork Sandwich, and I have ever since seeing Adam Richman endorse it in the Philly Man v. Food episode.  However, the line was beyond belief, and there was no seating, so my friend and I opted to go to the most deluxe salad bar on this side of the Mississippi (I don't have any proof to back up this just sounded like a cool thing to say).

Anyway, after paying for my 1.09 lb meal, I found a spot to sit.  As we sat there eating, I overheard two older gentlemen to my right talking.  One was talking about how expensive his medical bills and prescription drugs are and that he can't afford it.  The other was telling him to go to the VA hospital.  Then, they began to discuss what their particular issues were, and both suffered from depression as well as many physical ailments, and both were struggling to make ends meat.  After finishing my meal and listening to their discussion (which I know is rude to do, but they were speaking at raised volumes, and their discussion was both moving and captivating), I stood up and interjected.  I told them that I couldn't help but hear their conversation and that I wanted to thank both of them on everyone's behalf for serving their country and defending our freedoms and that it frustrates me to no end to see our politicians voting raises for themselves and throwing money at special interests while brave men and women like these two heroes struggle as they do.  At that moment, both of them smiled with incredible pride, and the veteran who was standing gave me a salute and thanked me for my appreciation.

I then turned to dispose of my trash, and as I began to walk away after doing that, the more articulate of the two men called me back over.  He told me that he works to help the homeless find shelter and food, and strikingly (sickeningly even) that about 40% of the homeless people he works with are veterans of war.  He continued to tell me that the reason is that, "A lot of us aren't right in the head after being shot at and bombed in foreign lands," and he is absolutely right.  I told him that while I can in no way comprehend (beyond surface understanding) the depth of sacrifice that our veterans make, it in no way diminishes my gratitude.  He smiled again and told me that the VA has begun to improve and is much better than it used to be.

After this exchange, I shook each of their hands, and we parted ways.  As I walked out of the market, thoughts were racing through my head at a pace they rarely accomplish (not to say I'm retarded).  How can we as a nation throw so much money down the tubes while the defenders of our and women who fought in battle for a brief amount of time, yet mentally the war has never ceased...are cast aside and all too often virtually forgotten about?  While this large scale question is clearly for politicians, that does not mean there are things we as individuals can't do to try to remedy it.  When you see a veteran walking down the street or sitting down for a cup of coffee, I urge you to let him or her know how much you appreciate what he or she has done, and make sure that they know their work will never be taken for granted or forgotten.  Set aside some money, and donate it to Wounded Warriors or Disabled Veterans of America or a whole host of other doesn't matter how much or how little you give.  It is the gesture that can brighten the spirit of those who we needed and who now need us.

God Bless our men and women in uniform everywhere.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo

The other day, a faithful reader for point out to me that the text in the subject line is a legitimately grammatically correct sentence on its own.  It can also be correct with different capitalization!  I found it pretty cool, so I figured I'd share with you all here.

Since Buffalo is a proper noun, a common noun, and a verb, all that we need is there.  Bison from Buffalo intimidate bison from Buffalo that bison from Buffalo intimidate.'s painfully simple!  Anyway, I hope you all think this little trick is as cool as I do.  Yes, I know I'm a need to put that in the comments section.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Butt Hole Transitivity

Today, I was challenged to a duel of sorts by one of the blog's readers.  This individual vehemently objected to my defense of Ragu in any situation.  He made the claim that "Ragu <<<<<<< Corona [fake beer]."  While I have it on good authority that this individual likes Corona, I also know that this was more a shot at Ragu than an endorsement of Corona.

Anyway, since this comparison is obviously a case of (read the following with a German accent, and it will be much better), "apples to oranges, not apples to apples."  Thus, to really determine the relative ranking of such vastly different commodities, we needed a common scale.  I believe that what I came up with allows for comparison of any two goods (although the end result can be inconclusive because it revolves around a relative ranking with one invariant item).

Upon seeing his inequality, I immediately claimed that, "Corona = Butt Hole," and that, "Ragu >/= Butt Hole."  I then concluded that it meant that Ragu was weakly better than Corona, and thus Corona cannot be strictly better than Ragu.  The theory that was born this afternoon is called "Butt Hole Transitivity."  How it works is quite simple, and I will break it down into four steps:

1.  Compare one of the items to butt hole.
2.  Compare the second item to butt hole.
3.  Apply transitivity to remove butt hole from the inequalities.
4.  Analyze the result.

Who would have thought such a useful , innovative thing would be the offspring of Ragu and Corona parents? Certainly not I.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Douglass Pasta Recipe

I can't believe I'm posting this, as it's definitely college cafeteria fare (at least in it's most basic form), but tonight, I'm posting the recipe for Douglass Pasta.  This dish is more about using up ingredients that you may have before they go bad than eating well, but if you mix properly, it is actually a pretty delicious dish.

To start, throw all sorts of things into a non-stick frying pan.  I like to use any combination of spinach, onion, broccoli, tomato, mushroom, peas, zucchini, green peppers, etc. as well as a meat (usually bacon or sausage, but sometimes pepperoni or chicken).  Then, pour in a little oil and season with oregano and garlic.  While that's sauteeing, make some pasta (bowties are probably the best to use for this, but shells are okay too...spaghetti or any of its long skinny cousins are the worst).  After the veggies have cooked down and the meat is safe to eat, pour in a mix of half tomato sauce and half alfredo sauce.  Stir that mix around for a bit, and let it simmer.  When the pasta is done, strain it and pour it into the nonstick pan with the sauce and the veggie/meaty deliciousness.  Stir that for a little, let it simmer for a minute or so till the pasta is coated with the sauce, and pour into a bowl!

There you have it...It's delicious, fast, easy, practical, customizable, and prevents gross cleanups of foods gone bad.  It's also super cheap.

For all of you who know exactly what "Douglass Pasta" is and where it comes from, please don't judge.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Law Abiding Citizen

Before the Super Bowl, I watched "Law Abiding Citizen" with Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler.  This post will not be a spoiler, although I will go into more detail with a comment after the post that will be.  Basically, the movie was a psychological action thriller based on revenge.  The main character felt wronged by the justice system, and throughout the movie, the watcher is left wondering whether his mission from then on was to exact revenge or to prove a point.

Throughout the movie, I was on the edge of my seat trying to determine what would happen next as well as Gerard Butler's character's motivation.  The acting was superb, and the character development was very good as well.  However, despite all this, I can't say that I liked the movie.  Without going into detail here, I found the main character's decision at the end of the film nullified what could have been an amazing movie with a terrific ending to an otherwise suspenseful plot.  Before the final action in the movie occurred, I thought to myself, "If he does action A, I will definitely be recommending this movie, but if he does action B, I'm going to be more disappointed than a kid who opens up his Christmas present to find socks."  Then, bam...action B.

At that point, it felt like the writer and director had derailed the plot and the build-up to a crescendo of an ending.  It was kind of like waiting in line for a really cool ride at Disney only to find out that it breaks down just before you get through the turnstile.  At least it wasn't as bad as my memory of Mickey flipping me off when I was down there (a scarring event in the life of FSG to say the least).


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Man Meat

The other day, I happened upon an article about the interplay of meat and gender roles.  It turns out that women in general (even vegetarians) find men who don't eat meat wimpy in general.  In contrast, those who are seen eating meat are viewed as more manly and powerful.  Now, I know that I'm no Chuck Norris, BUT when I'm out on a date trying to impress a girl for the first time, she doesn't have to know that!  Thus, here, we have a signaling game with asymmetric information.  How do I plan to exploit this, you ask?  Good question!  I shall order the meal from the movie below then pull out my bacon wallet (for those of you who have seen it, you know I'm not kidding), and pay for the date.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Recap

It's go time!  I've already downed wings, whiskey, beer (well, Colt .45), cookies, etc., so I'm about ready for kickoff.  I hope this game lives up to those of the past few years (Giants/Pats and Steelers/Cards in particular)...Especially since this is the end of football for a while.  The most unfortunate part about this game is that I can't use commercials to go to the bathroom because, while I watch for the game, I don't want to miss commercials.  Thus, halftime and only halftime will be spent for beer reloading and bladder emptying.  Aside from that, the ass dent in my chair will be occupied...with my ass.

1.  I LOVE that they read the Declaration of Independence before the game.  Hearing those timeless words (especially with images of our troops) always gives me goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes.  What those signers did, was simply unbelievable.  They had to have believed that when they put their names on that paper, they were signing their death warrants.  Yet, this did not deter them from their pursuit of freedom for themselves, their countrymen, and their progeny.  What better way to honor them and all defenders of freedom on the biggest stage of the television broadcast year.  Props to FOX for running such a spot.  In a related comment, I choked up when the crowd cheered upon being shown a live feed of our men and women of the armed forces from Afghanistan.  Too bad, the Anthem wasn't sung with the correct words.  In an unrelated note, whose idea was it to have a flyover over a dome?

2.  Muffed punt in the Super Bowl?  Green Bay got LUCKY there.  They should start reading my blog to understand why fumbling is bad and strong special teams is good.

3.  That Doritos dog is a pug from Hell.  "...And that's why you don't taunt a hungry dog."  I'm surprised the taunter's arm didn't fall off.  (Update: Doritos is the big winner so far, and I'd be surprised if another company overtakes them after the finger licking/pant removing commercial.)

4.  A-Rod can't feed himself?  Good thing he makes about a gazillion bucks a year so he can afford to pay people to do it for him.  Open up for the airplane, Alex.

5.  Chad Clifton seems to be holding up decently, but Bulaga is getting worked over by Woodley.  The Packers are going to have to devise a better way to block him, or there could be troubles down the stretch.  (Update: He did pretty well there, and Jordy Nelson held on this time!  If there's no more scoring this quarter, I win $50!)

6.  Turnovers.  You can't do them if you want to win.  Also, I am now officially pissed off at the Steelers and wish loss upon them.  Ben robbed me out of $50.  He can die of gonorrhea and rot in hell.  However, it should be noted that each QB now has a TD pass.

7.  Kemoeatu is getting abused.  It's almost like Kyle Williams plays for Green Bay.  Also, Ben's gimpy.  If he's hurt, you can pretty much mail this one in...That is unless the Bears traded Hanie to Pittsburgh.

8.  I guess Big Ben grew accustomed to throwing to guys wearing yellow pants during the season (well, the last 12 games of the season).  Unfortunately, for him, that's not necessarily a good thing in this situation.

9.  What a throw and catch on that Jennings TD.  I was very surprised to see him hold onto it with the way Polamalu hit him.

10.  The Steelers' TD pass to Ward looked like something from my family Turkey Bowl.  Very athletic catch. Too bad Suisham made the PAT...Bastard cost me $50 for this quarter too.

11.  Can we get this God awful halftime show off the screen and bring back football?  Halftime shows have been fairly lame ever since they outlawed tits, and this one is no exception.  Also, do the Black Eyed Peas have more than one song that they actually wrote themselves?  Either way, I'm left wishing that this game had been played in the Metrodome a few months ago...

12.  Charles Woodson is a big loss.  That will put pressure on the Green Bay offense to score to alleviate some of the pressure on the defensive secondary.

13.  The refs ought to be embarrassed for that facemask call on the first punt of the second half.  This is the biggest game of the year, and they absolutely blew that call.  I hate it when the zebras make a blatant error that can change the whole game.  That TD was set up by the facemask.  I can almost guarantee that Pittsburgh would have had a different plan of attack if they'd started from the 35 like they should have.

14.  That Suisham field goal attempt was about the worst I've seen in a Super Bowl...Not the most painful (again, I'm a Bills fan), but the e-trade baby should definitely call him "shankapotomamus."

15.  I have always liked Aaron Rodgers for his professionalism during his long green room wait on draft day and how he handled the whole Brett Favre drama, but with the block he made on the pursuing linebacker after he handed it off, he earned a little more respect.  His receivers however are dropping more balls than a clumsy hooker, and that must be SO frustrating for Packer fans.

16.  I sang the praises of Tramon Williams in prior weeks, but today, he is absolutely killing his team with bonehead plays.  If the ball is rolling on the ground on a punt, get away from it.  If you don't get away from it, don't throw punches!  It's really not that hard a concept.

17.  Another bad call on the 3rd and 10 incomplete pass by Green Bay near the end of the third quarter.  That is a catch, no doubt about it.  That's another call that went for Pittsburgh that I think was wrong (despite what Pereira says).  It is close, but to me, it looks like he puts the ball away before it is stripped by a very aware Pittsburgh defender.  I'm not sure whether I'd say that his knee was down, but it wouldn't matter, as the Packers would have recovered at around the same spot as the knee down spot.  (Update: On the ensuing punt, there were two missed holding calls that should have been called on Pittsburgh.)

18.  Another Pittsburgh turnover.  Am I the only one who thinks the Steelers offense likes to stand around and watch their opponents recover their fumbles?  That's twice now in these playoffs.  Either way, you can't lose the turnover battle in the regular season let alone in the Super Bowl.  (Update: Three Pittsburgh turnovers have turned into 21 Packer points.)

19.  Jordy Nelson has dropped seemingly every other pass.  However, each time, he makes a big play the next time he's targeted.  After that drop, I'd go back to him.  (Update: They did on the next play, and they hit a big one on the crossing route.  Now, they should stay away from him till they're in a situation where they can afford a drop.)

20.  Pepsi Max is giving Doritos a run for its money with its slapstick comedy and the "I want to sleep with her," commercial.  Also, I'm friends with someone whose cousin was in a Pepsi Max commercial, so if you think about it, I'm famous in a very real way.

21.  Mr. Aikman, what does it mean for Troy Polamalu to be "extinctive?"  I'd almost rather have Phil Simms as a commentator...almost.

22.  In both of the key battles to watch that I delineated in the prior post, it appears that the offensive lines have been winning.  Frankly, I'm a little surprised.

23.  What Rodgers just did to take momentum back from Pittsburgh, take time off the clock, and score is huge.  However, the difference between a TD and the FG they got there is astronomical.  Now, Pittsburgh has a chance to do what they did two years ago and win the game at the last second.  If Green Bay had converted for a TD, I would have said that was one of the best (clutch) playoff drives I'd ever seen.

24.  With the two minute warning upon us, I'm sitting here debating with myself about whether Green Bay should dial up the pressure or try to force Pittsburgh to move the ball in small increments in the middle of the field.  My gut is to mix it up and tell the defenders to disguise like they've never disguised before, but also to play more pressure defense than prevent.  I don't envy Capers right now (nor do I envy Arians...Would be tough to call the offense as well).

25.  Fourth and five.  This is the game.  Now, I'd dial up a little pressure while keeping a safety deep to prevent the big play.  (Update:  Tramon Williams just made up for all his bad plays on special teams earlier.  Someone ought to get that man a steak and a huge wedge of cheese.)

26.  Aaron Rodgers is my selection for MVP.  Just imagine his numbers if his receivers hadn't dropped so many balls.  Sidenote: If Jordy Nelson hadn't dropped so many balls, I would have chosen him.  As it is, he had 9 catches for 140 yards and a TD.

Now, for the offseason.  At some point, I'll post a first round mock draft and some draft analysis (but that will probably all be in April).


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl Preview

Tomorrow's the big day!  Many have already descended upon Dallas to watch the Super Bowl.  Countless others are stocking up on beer, nacho fixings, beer, bacon cheeseburgers, beer, etc. in preparation for the big game.  Millions watch for the commercials.  While that kills me inside, I can't ignore this eventuality.  For those of you who like the game itself, I'll break down some of the key match-ups that I believe will determine the outcome of the game.

I believe that there are two match-ups to watch that will determine the outcome of the game.  These match-ups depend entirely on the relative strengths and weaknesses of each team (not that many weaknesses exist), and whoever wins these battles will likely negate what their opponent does best.

1.  BJ Raji vs. Doug Legursky.  The Packers play very strong defense all around, but their strength is pass defense.  Against the run, they surrendered nearly 115 yards per game during the season, ranking 18th.  However, the pass defense ranked 5th surrendering under 200 yards per game.  Conversely, while the Steelers are fairly balanced on offense, they rank 11th (120 yards per game) rushing and 14th (225 yards per game) passing.  The fact that the Steelers' relative strength plays to the Packers' relative weakness.  However, now that Pouncey can't go, Pittsburgh will basically be forced to double team Raji or run away from the middle of that defense.  If they have to double team Raji, that will allow Cushing to face Scott one on one, and that's not good news for Big Ben.  It will also free up AJ Hawk to make plays sideline to sideline in the running game, which should go a long ways in negating the play action pass.  Pittsburgh will need a strong day out of Legursky or brilliant game planning by the offensive line coach to keep varying everything they do to force the Packers into confusion.  The other thing they could do is rely on play action early and often before realizing that they likely won't be able to run.  That could push the secondary back and at least make the Packer defense play it straight and not cheat on the run.

2.  James Harrison vs. Chad Clifton (and Brian Bulaga).  The rankings that elevate these match-ups to pivotal are:  Packers passing game - 5th (nearly 260 yards per game), Packers running game - 24th (a shade over 100 ypg), Steelers pass defense - 12th (214 ypg), Steelers run defense - 1st (nearly 63 ypg).  If the Packer tackles can manage to win the one on one battle in the trenches with Harrison, Rogers will have all the time in the world to throw.If that happens, Aaron Rogers will pick Pittsburgh apart.  It will be surgical in nature, and if you're a Pittsburgh fan, it will not be fun.  If, however, Harrison wins his one on one battles, and Lebeau doesn't have to blitz too often to generate pressure, Rogers will be in for a rough game.  If Lebeau has to blitz, Pittsburgh will be in a little more trouble, as the Green Bay receivers are excellent at getting separation quickly, and Rogers is an artist against the blitz.

Certainly, there are other intriguing and important match-ups to watch that could determine the outcome of the game, but the above are, in my mind, the most pivotal.  It shouldn't surprise anyone that I think the biggest battles are in the trenches.  I've seen first hand for the last ten years (as a Bills fan) what happens when you don't win those battles.  It results in losses.

My prediction for the game is Green Bay 23, Pittsburgh 20.  Unfortunately, if my prediction comes true, I will lose the box pool from my office.

What match-ups will you be watching for?  Please post in the comments if I've missed one you feel will be a determining factor in the game!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Gas Leaks and the Workplace

Today, I will tackle an age old question...It has confounded men from Neanderthal mammoth hunts to modern day offices.  It is a matter of great contention, and the stakes have never been higher.  If you assume wrong, you risk castigation by your peers, extreme discomfort, and much worse.  The ever important, two pronged question of which I write is of course, "Is it okay to pass gas at work, and if so, under what circumstances?"

Like with anything else, there are trade offs to any decision made, so broadly formed rules ought be avoided.  For example, if you decide to abstain from flatulence completely, you risk pain, and possibly spontaneous combustion.  On the other hand, if you wantonly rip air biscuits, you will gain an (admittedly well deserved) awful reputation.  As such, I'll break down situations when it is okay to rip arse and times when it's better to just hold it in.

Situation 1:  You are talking to a coworker.  Absolutely no farting is allowed here unless you're talking to a coworker of the same sex in the break room and you need to deter them from going to the vending machine so you get first pick of the various candy choices.

Situation 2:  You are alone at your cubicle.  Here, it is acceptable to fart if you KNOW it will be silent.  A vicious cheek flapper can echo in a cluster of cubicles, and anyone around you is sure to know.  While they may not immediately be able to pinpoint the source, a fart is like an earthquake in that it's not too difficult to pinpoint the epicenter.  However, notice I did not say, "Here, it is acceptable to fart IFF you KNOW it will be silent."  Just because you are certain of the prospects of an SBD, you must exercise care and discretion.  For example, if there is a chance that someone will come to your desk to ask you a computer question before the noxious cloud would have time to dissipate, you should probably hold it in.  However, if you have already dropped a bomb, and someone comes to ask a question, smoothly suggest that you show them how to do it at their computer, and lead them away from the zone of doom.

Situation 3:  You are walking in the stairwell.  Bombs away!  You've got the perfect escape route (the door on any floor) if someone is coming, and you can usually get away without being seen.  Further, the only chance that someone will suffer from your eruption is if they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Maybe it's callous, but if someone happens to be that unlucky, maybe it's just their time.  There's no sense in trying to defy fate.

Situation 4:  You are in the elevator.  If you fart, you are likely to be convicted.  It's hard to fathom a situation in which you get off an elevator that you've fumigated, and the person taking your place doesn't shortly thereafter associate your face with poop smell.  However, it's so delightfully cliche that I cannot condemn anyone for a little gas leak.  Note that I am NOT arguing that you should fart here...just that I wouldn't be offended if someone did.

Situation 5:  You are talking to your boss in his or her office.  This one depends on the tone of the discussion and your feeling on your boss.  Sometimes the best way to express disagreement or frustration is nonverbal, if you catch my drift (pun highly intended).  If you bake brownies in your boss's office, be sure that it is not around performance evaluation season.  The last thing you want in your employee file is that you did a "crappy job" a couple of days ago.

Situation 6:  You haven't yet taken the Browns to the Super Bowl that day.  Here you have to be careful, and the reasons are twofold:  1. You risk a severe odor, as the gas propulsion will be off the face of a turd, and 2. For the sake of your career, you MUST avoid a work shart at all costs.  If you leave skidmarks at work, you will have to find a new job, and you can basically count on the fact that you won't get glowing recommendations from your prior management in your new job search.

Situation 7:  The final situation that I will cover in this post is the walkin' farts...crop dusting, if you will.  I say, "Them crops need to be dusted."  In a busy office, there are generally many people walking around.  It is nearly impossible to determine the culprit in this case.  Sure, coworkers can have suspicions, but they'll never really know who it was.  Furthermore, if they confront an innocent walker, the person will deny it, and more often than not, they'll be adamant (overly so).  Thus, you can usually trick your coworkers into blaming that person for the nasal assault that you unleashed with no effort or acting on your part whatsoever.

I've just run through the most common situations you are likely to encounter, but this list is by no means exhaustive.  If you have another situation, and you would like clarification on etiquette, please list that scenario (in detail) in the comments section, and I will address it when I get a chance.  I hope this helped guide you through some sticky situations.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Punxsutawney's Limelight (or Shadow)

Well, it's 2/2, and that means one thing!  It's Groundhog's Day!  Our weathermen seem to get it wrong all the time, and presumably, so too are the meteorologists behind the pretty faces (I'm talking about you, Al Roker).  Why not give Punxsutawney Phil a shot?  Even if you don't believe that he deserves to have any say in the seasons (you're probably the type who is a militant evolutionist), you should show the furry little guy the respect he undoubtedly deserves.  He's too damn cute to be the recipient of callous disrespect.  I have proof:

Predict on, little man.  Just because you're like Santa and French people, only working one day per year, doesn't diminish my glowing view of you!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Freedom and Wealth

Today, on Steven Landsburg's blog, there was an interesting (albeit highly simplified) read about which sorts of freedoms have stronger correlations with wealth.  I wish there was a link to the paper itself, because it seems like there may be a few dubious assumptions being made.  Some are cosmetic, but some are deeper.

For example, the assumption that happiness can be measured in GDP per capita terms seems somewhat trivial.  As discussed in the comments section, utility (mathematical measure of happiness) is generally measured in ability to purchase things (leisure time included), so to use the terms "wealth" and "happiness" interchangeably doesn't present any real issue.  Essentially, that issue is merely semantic.  As anyone who knows me, I'm not what Dr. Gregory House would call an "anti-semantic bastard," so I'm not bothered by the diction.

A much larger assumption is that of causation between economic freedom (capitalism) and per capita GDP.  It's easy to tell a heuristic tale to explain something with causation, but it's not as easy to find empirically.  For example, take Thomas L. Friedman's Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention.  Would you be willing to bet that if a McDonalds was reopened in Iran, the possibility of an armed conflict involving Iran and any countries on this list would be up in smoke?  Clearly, McDonalds doesn't cause peace.  Is there a confounding variable lurking somewhere in the third chart in the aforementioned blog post?  I'm tempted to believe that there is not because I cannot think of any (not to say that none exist), and I'm not a strong believer in coincidence (although I do believe that there are unknown variables that cause phenomena).