Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pun-itive Damages

A faithful reader sent me an email a few days ago, and I just got to read it now.  Anyway, I found the content amusing (as one would expect given that it is a list of puns), and I want to share the better ones with you now:

1.  The fattest Knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much Pi.

2.  I thought that Is aw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

3.  She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
4.  No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationary.

5.  A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
6.  Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
7. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: "You stay here, I'll go on a head".

8. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

9. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: "Keep off the grass."
10. The midget fortune-teller, who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
11.The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray, is, now, a seasoned veteran.
12. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
13. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you'd be in Seine.

14. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, "I've lost my electron." The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies, "Yes, I'm positive."


Monday, March 28, 2011

The Timeless Art of Irritation

Today, a faithful reader sent me an intriguing list comprised of innovative ways to annoy others.  It is certainly full of grand ideas, and frankly, I was getting a little peeved just reading the list (so it must work).  My only problem with this compilation of irksome material is that it's rather incomplete.  As a service to annoyers everywhere, I'd like to add a few ideas:

1.  Squeeze toothpaste out of their tube so it crusts to the cap
2.  Write code for a computer virus
3.  When playing chess as "black," do nothing but mimic your opponent's moves (for extra annoyance, if in person, act as though you're really thinking hard for about five minutes before doing it)
4.  Insert the phrase, "That's not true!  I saw it in Mythbusters!" into conversations when someone else states a fact
5.  Make lots of puns
6.  Make sure people know that your lots of puns are funny (drive the point home however you wish, but I suggest just repeating it till people react)
7.  Hide behind corners and jump out at people making loud animal sounds
8.  Occupy my bathroom stall when I need it
9.  Talk about how Keanu Reeves is the greatest actor ever while raving about all his work
10.  Send my blog link to people

The above list was not easy for me to make, as a few ::coughcough8coughcough:: hit a little too close to home, but I suffered through in the interest of science and humor anyway.  How about you?  What makes you tick, and how do you passively (or aggressively...or passive aggressively, for that matter) annoy others?


Friday, March 25, 2011

Seeding Debate

Last year, I was watching commentary on the NCAA Basketball Tournament (March Madness to the layperson), and looking at the seeds in this year's Sweet Sixteen, I can't help but think about this argument.

Essentially, the commentator claimed that the seeding is generally wrong every year (ex post).  His argument was that if the decision makers had seeded properly, there would be no upsets, as the teams would be seeded in such a way that the team who wins was the better team, and thus had earned the higher relative ranking.  At first, I scoffed at this notion, and I still do now.  The speaker's lack of understanding of the conception of the time/space continuum still bothers me to this day.  Seeding clearly has to be done before the tournament.  However, this is before the realization of random events that change the outcome of games.  The arguer wants to see all the results, seed, then start the tournament.

Perhaps more troublingly is this sportscaster's (I wish I could recall his name) is implication that there is no stochastic element to the play of any given team, and thus presumably individuals that comprise the team. People get hurt, sick, have bad days, and conversely, sometimes, people play well beyond their normal levels. Even if everyone plays at the same level, there are in game factors that change matchups, negate advantages, and clearly alter the nature of the tilt (foul trouble, style of play, game plans, etc.).  Since the sportscaster is acknowledging that there are upsets, it doesn't seem like an unfair assumption to assume that style of play entering into matchups is somewhat stochastic (in the sense that no one can predict with certainty what any given matchup will be as the tournament progresses).

The last point is that we've seen time and time again that transitivity is violated in sports.  A beats B, B beats C, and then C beats A.  That's a simple example with three teams, and an adaptation needs to be made for a tournament setting since it is single elimination.  However, the point still holds.  If the 1st seed matches up well against the 2nd, but not the 3rd, and the 2nd matches up well against the 3rd, you've got this scenario.  To take this even further, there is no commutativity in sports.  That's of course why there are season splits in any sport where teams play an opponent multiple times in one season.  It would be absurd to say that a 1st seed would beat a 2nd seed every single time they played (often due to the stochastic events noted above).

Given this, I offer not only my rejection of the commentator's claim, but a stronger statement.  I would argue that if there were no upsets, THEN the seeding was wrong.  The reason that there would be no upsets would seem to imply one of two things: 1. There were no random events, and 2. If there was randomness, it never went in the way of the underdog (at least not to a great enough degree).  Clearly, there are stochastic elements to sports, so one is out.  As for the second, the teams are often so closely matched talentwise that in many cases, any amount of randomness is a "great enough degree" to alter the outcome.  There are often many games played between said closely matched teams that it seems extremely improbable that the randomness would always aid the overdog.

On a final note, if the commentator had been less fundamentally flawed (and even correct by some minor miracle), betting would be a slam dunk (pardon the pun).


Monday, March 21, 2011

Open Letter to "You Know Who You Are"

Dear Computer Virus Makers,

Just because you sit in your parents' basements using words like "pwned" while you're busy not getting any does not mean that it is either your duty or your right to be rat bastards.  You contribute nothing to society other than adding traffic on our roads and excrement to our sewers.  You are a boil on the festering pus wounds of the lowest of scumbags everywhere.  In fact, if you were an ice cream flavour, you would be pralines and dick.  Your existence is pathetic and meaningless, and nothing would make my day more than you getting hit in the balls by a marlin leaping form the water like a cannon.  May you all die of gonorrhea and rot in the darkest bowels of Hell, and may Doritos powder find its way into your motherboards.


P.S. I have it on good authority that your mothers tried to sell you for a pack of cigarettes while she was in prison for bringing your useless carcasses into this world.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Word Play Revisited

In November, I wrote a post on word play, and today, I thought of a few more to add to my own list.  They are immediately below:

Type 1

  • Borator - n. A boring public speaker
  • Lettruce - n. An agreement between farmers
  • Colden Ages - n. The glory days of the Ice Age
  • Centsitive - adj. Cognizant of money
  • Plumpkin - n. A bulbous pumpkin (alternate meaning: a fat child)
  • Confiction - n. A literary work about a fictitious convict
  • Predeem - v. To rectify a mistake you make before anyone else notices

Type 2

  • Bovine - n. A vine that has been decoratively tied
  • Jacket - v. To steal a particular object (alternate meaning: Censored...too crass to post)
  • Excitation - n. Something referenced in the past
  • Triton - n. A measurement equal to 6,000 lbs
  • Porcupine - n. Cubed pork ready to be put on a kebab skewer
  • Dictator - n. Mr. Potato Head when he mistreats his wife
  • Monetize - v. To transform something to appear Jamaican

Just as before, I am interested to see what you come up with.  Please post your ideas in the comments!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Monetary Sensibility

Today, I'm going to discuss a little encounter with a dreadful combination of retardation and the time and space continuum.  I'm sorry if you read the title and were expecting a politically oriented post.  My goal is not now, nor is it ever to neither confuse nor disappoint.

Anyway, yesterday, I received a note from my landlord saying that I had until March 31 to make a decision on whether to re-up my lease or leave.  As a brief aside, I find it laughable that they need two months of lead time before the lease runs out, whereas they give me 16 days to mull the rate increase and tell them.  Anyway, after crunching the numbers, it appears that the landlord seeks a 5.32% rate increase in rent.  None too thrilled with this development, I began pondering options.  One such solution is to buy a house.  This way, instead of paying rent and essentially flushing gobs of moneys down the toilet, I would be paying for something that I would own, and flushing money up the toilet (for lack of a better idea of what the opposite of "down the toilet" is).

Anyway, I contacted a realtor (apparently, that's not a word in the Blogspot dictionary) to discuss meeting to further talk about what is available that would suit my needs.  She mentioned that I would need to call a mortgage company to determine what loan amount I would qualify for, and then she recommended someone to call tomorrow.  After talking a little more about what I'm generally searching for, we parted phonular (another word not in the Blogspot dictionary) ways.

After this, I decided to call a bank that I knew would have its mortgage department open.  A gentleman answered and greeted me, asking what he could do for me.  I replied that I was looking to see what sort of mortgage limits I would be able to get so I could begin searching the online databases tonight to be more prepared for my impending meeting with the realtor.  He then told me, and I quote, "We can't look at your mortgage application till you have a bill of sale."

The rest of the conversation went something like this:

FSG:  Excuse me?
Phone Dude (PD from now on):  We don't do prequalifications.  You have to have the bill of sale before you can apply for a mortgage.
FSG:  Um...Without having some preapproved limit, I will not ever be able to obtain this magical bill of sale.
PD:  I'm sorry.  We can't do that.
FSG:  How does your company manage to make any mortgage loans with that?
PD:  Well, you could buy it and then refinance.
FSG:  Thanks.  I appreciate your time.  Have a great night.

So, to sum up:
1.  I need a qualified mortgage limit to buy a house (or even look at one).
2.  I need to buy a house before I can obtain a qualified mortgage offer.

Am I missing something here?  No wonder, there's such slack in the housing market!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

This recipe is pretty plain and simple, and I have had a hankering for it for the past few days, so I plan to both share and make it tonight.  For it, I use my favourite spicing combination that I use to make popcorn and regular fries, and somehow, it works very nicely on all three, as the base foods each bring something different to my diabolical concoction.

For this dish, you need a frying pan, at least one sweet potato, garlic powder, black pepper (preferably freshly ground), and chili powder (preferably chipotle).

1.  Start by cutting the ends off the sweet potato then cutting it into quarters.  After that, put the flat side of each quarter down, and make thin slices.

2.  Put into the frying pan, and sprinkle the spices on top.

3.  Pour about a tablespoon of oil in (depending on the size of the potatoe *Dan Quayle is dictating these directions to me*)

4.  Cook till done.

I find that while ketchup is highly unnecessary, it's not a terrible idea to add...Especially in the case that you accidentally dumped a chipotle chili avalanche atop the fries, which I may or may not do on occasion (not proud of that), and you need to offset some of the heat for fear of the next day's bathroom experience.

I'm definitely open to suggestions for new seasoning combinations to try if you have any suggestions...I'd love to hear.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Appliance Finds Purpose in Life

A once thought to be useless (and in my case, oft forgotten about) kitchen appliance now has a new purpose in life!  If you're anything like me (God help you if you are), you have an stove top.  Above this is a hood and a light.  It's all pretty standard, but if we share kitchen similarities, this hood is purely decorative.  It has no use other than to smack the back of your head as you stand up after smelling what you're cooking.  In fact, this feature seemed to make this mysterious protuberance utterly counterproductive.  Ironically, counters are not counterproductive, but that is neither here nor there.

Anyway, today, I learned the reason the trapezoidal metal was installed!  It turns out that it is kryptonite to the Superman that is the smoke detector!  The smoke detector went off, I flipped the fan on (and was about to flip the smoke detector off in a completely different, far more frustrated/NYC driver sort of way), and the smoke detector was rendered weak, powerless, and mute.  It was nothing short of miraculous!  I can't say that this mysterious "fan" thing would work with any foods, as I don't dare generalize kabob results for fear of spreading misinformation.  However, I plan to find out!  I'm going to burn all sorts of crap now just to see what happens!

*Note: I did NOT burn the kabobs.  There are witnesses who, if they tell the truth, will attest to that.  This is part of why I wanted to flip off the smoke detector.


Delicate Purchases

Well, I had to make a purchase this weekend, and I have developed a new strategy for acquiring said item as a result.  I had to replace some pairs of underwear, and I really didn't enjoy this particular experience.  It's the only time that I voluntarily walk through rows and rows of pictures of guys posing in very little, and it's nearly the only time I ever buy anything with pictures like that on them...Kidding.

Anyway, my solution is simple, and I wish I'd thought of it before losing the opportunity to solve this problem.  You see, I only bought enough to replace the ones in need.  What I SHOULD have done is bought 30,000 pairs so I wouldn't ever have to do this again!  Live and learn.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

True Recession

Unemployment, GDP, inflation, interest rates, etc...These are all things used to discuss the state of the economy. However, when pundits look at these things, they often draw different conclusions about the state of the economy.  I would like to present you with indisputable proof of a worldwide recession.

However, due to the fact that I can't sell this information at a high price due to the economy, I will lower the ransom on this secret information I hold.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Brewster's Paradox

Besides being an example of a good that I'd associate with the ever elusive "increasing marginal utility," beer presents another interesting paradox.  Perhaps I will return in another post to discuss the increasing marginal utility facet of beer another day, but for now, it is outside the scope of my laser focus.  Today, I would like to shed light on.  I would also like to apologize for ending the prior sentence with a preposition, but that's neither here nor there.

The paradox arises from the fact that alcohol tends to lower inhibitions, yet at the same time, it decreases your ability to act on said reduced inhibitions.  I'm of course referring to "beer goggles" and the fact that they make ugly people hot (or at least perceptibly less ugly).  I'll leave the rest of the inference to the reader.

Upon second thought, this "paradox" may be a blessing in disguise!  This post has been absurd, and frankly, it's rubbish, so I'm going to stop now.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Healing Power of Pizza

I find that there is a glorious food that can uplift any mood.  As you likely gathered from the post's title, I am talking about that large disk of doughy cheesey goodness we know as pizza.  Whether it is plain cheese, pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, onion, Hawaiian, white with tomato, extra garlic, buffalo chicken, barbecue chicken or any combination therein (excepting anchovies, which are like Kryptonite to the pizza experience), it has the power to drive me to pure bliss from any prior state.

Let me give you a few examples:

1.  I'm sitting on a park bench, and I get pooped on by a bird.  If then, someone were to hand me a slice of pepper and onion pizza, I'd merrily forgive that bird.

2.  I'm camping, and in my sleep, someone smears honey all over my tent, and I get attacked by a bear.  To be honest, forgiveness is a mere matter of a multi-topping pizza.  Hell, even a slice of cheese may absolve the wrongdoer in my (hopefully able to open) eyes.

3.  I'm standing on a sidewalk, and a car comes up on the curb and runs over my toe...then backs up over it to come back to apologize.  Here, it would require a whole pie, but if the driver were to hand an entire eight slices through his window, I would likely wish him a wonderful day, and I might even say, "Happy motoring."

Granted, the above examples are extreme, but that only goes to show just how powerful an elixir pizza truly is.  In fact, I'm having a very difficult time fabricating a scenario wherein pizza would not be the solution.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Move Over, Shakespeare!

This weekend, I was with a gaggle of close friends at a local bar.  We were imbibing the most wonderful of amber and burgundy nectars, catching up, and having a great time sitting around the rectangular table.  Out of a bizarre circumstance that I will detail in a second, a new phrase was born.  This is a phrase so perfect that, to quote Frank Zappa, it is "destined to replace the mudshark in your mythology."  It has impending ubiquity written all over it!

I was in the bathroom, and after I washed my hands, I sent a text to one of my tablemates.  When I returned to the table, this individual asked me, "Did you text me while you were dropping a deuce?"  Perhaps influenced by the fine India Pale Ale in front of me (or more precisely already in my belly), I blurted out, "No...I didn't even drop a deuce...I dropped a once."

So there you have it.  If the Bard could create words and phrases that would transcend generations, why can't I?  From now on, whenever I have to urinate, I will refrain from using euphemisms like "pee," "drain the lizard," "cop a squirt," "take a piss," "water the lawn," "commit sacrilege at the porcelain altar," "make a piddle puddle," and of course "recreate the BP oil spill."  From this day forward, I will say, "I have to drop a once," whenever I have to go number one.  My challenge to you is to do the same.  Let's make this thing stick!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Get Your Priorities Straight!

When I look around, I see that things aren't great on a macro level.  We are in two wars, unemployment is hovering at around 9%, oil prices are skyrocketing, municipalities and states are realizing they are up to their elbows in debt, deficit spending for February 2011 alone was more than all of 2007, the NFL season may well be cancelled, and Charlie Sheen is well beyond teetering on the brink of complete self destruction.  I'm not arguing that Congress should or can deal with many of these issues; I am merely trying to develop a snapshot in time.

We always hear politicians telling us that they "feel the pain of the American people."  Perhaps, if that's really true, they'd be tackling issues that actually matter instead of spending any time squabbling over this.  I'm not saying either side is right or wrong here...Both sides have merit to their arguments.  What I am saying is that this is a completely inane issue in comparison to others we face, and time spent discussing this is an utter waste...Nothing more than partisan bickering for the sake of partisan bickering.

Weren't we told that both sides would try to work together to find bipartisan solutions for substantial problems facing our nation now and into the future?  Maybe I'm missing something, and there's something more to this, but are they really getting up in arms over cafeteria cups??? Really?  Give me a break.

Just to throw my two cents in here, till either side mans up and takes on meaningful issues, not a single one of them needs a cup (pun intended).


Monday, March 7, 2011

DeNic's Pork Sandwich!

Well, I did it!  The wait is over.  On Saturday, March 5, 2011 at approximately 17:16:08, I was chowing down on a Roast Pork Sandwich from DeNic's at Reading Terminal Market.  Unfortunately, since it was less than an hour till closing, the clerk advised those of us fortunate enough to be in line that they had run out of everything but the pork, peppers, and cheese (and buns of course).  That of course didn't stop people from asking questions like, "Does that mean there's no more beef?" but I digress.

Anyway, I had to settle for roasted peppers instead of broccoli rabe, but I don't regret it.  After paying and being handed my boon, I practically ran to the table where I knew all my friends were gathered.  In a very real way, it was a lot like the scene from Willy Wonka where Charlie ran home after finding the golden ticket.  I sat down, ravaged the wrapper, and started to devour this epic sandwich.  Oh man...I tell you, it was unbelievable.  The pork was so tender, and it's juices were absorbed into the bread.  The peppers were the perfect mix of hot and just downright peppery.  This is a sandwich I must recommend.

-A culinarily delighted FSG

Friday, March 4, 2011

Penny for Your Thoughts?

It's probably not terribly noteworthy, with the value of copper rising, so to is the value of pennies minted before the switch from copper to zinc composition.  In fact, at this particular point in time, pre-1982 pennies (and a portion of 1982 pennies as well) are worth nearly three cents in metal value.  This is the reason that the switch was made in the first place; it was too expensive to keep making them out of copper.  As a sidenote, from the previous link, you can see that it won't be long before the composition of nickels will change, as they cost mints well over five cents to make, and the cost is rising.

The reason we see these in circulation still (and we don't see silver coins) is that in general, each penny would net you two cents in value (if it were legal to melt it down; it will be someday, but not now), whereas silver coins are worth more than twenty times their face value.  It's a large return (who would scoff at a 200% ROE?), but it's on such a small scale, it takes up lots of space, and as of right now, it can't be realized.

Regardless, I'm preparing for the future (I wish I'd done this with silver coins years ago), and every Friday, I am buying $10 in pennies from the bank.  It generally nets me between 250 and 300 copper pennies, which I'm pretty happy with.  I figure even if copper values decline or we are never allowed to melt them for bullion, I don't lose any value (other than the interest on $2.50/week, which amounts to a whole load of JACK SQUAT!).  Today, I also was treated to eleven wheat back pennies (a new personal record for $10 worth of pennies).

I'm not necessarily suggesting that you do this as well, but it seems like in expected value, the returns are strictly positive.  Hey, it's better than obtaining copper like this poor bastard...


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Funeral Protests

Well, today, the Supreme Court upheld the First Amendment in a case where I think it's pretty easy to conclude that the speech is absolutely vile.  I, for one, am glad that the High Court voted 8-1 (Samuel Alito being the sole dissenter) that the court decided the way it did.  Don't get me wrong...I disagree 1,256,894% with the content of the speech, and it sickens me to the point where I flipped off the protesters as I saw them on television holding up signs saying, "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."  However, the protesters did stay the distance required by law from the funeral services, so they broke no laws (unless being a complete douchebag is against the law, and based on the fact that we give some people drivers licenses, it is clearly not).  As reprehensible as I find the signs of the protesters, I would find it far worse if we as a people decided that since we did not like the content of someone's "speech," we would shut it down.  The thought of that slippery slope makes me cringe, and it might even give me nightmares.

That said, I am a strict interpreter of the United States Constitution, and I wish that people in general, while they have the right to say what they want (and to a great degree, where they want), that the First Amendment is NOT a statement of your duty to be a total bastard to your neighbors.  These protesters act like the free speech clause doesn't merely entitle them to protest in extremely hurtful and distasteful ways, but instead that it binds them to act in such ways.  I don't see the First Amendment like that, and I would never act in such a way, because I realize that while I have the right, I do believe in the "Golden Rule."

In closing, while I'm not obligated in any way to say this, I have the right to do so, and I will exercise that right now:  All those protesters can eat shit for the way they are carrying themselves.  To me, they are the scum of the earth.  They were when I saw them at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, and they continue to be to this day.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Road Rage!

Today, on my way to work, I pulled up to a red light to make a right turn.  Accordingly, I pulled into the right turn only lane, and I pulled up behind another motorist.  Little did I know, this mystery driver would turn out to be an anus monger!  I can understand not making a right on red when there are cars coming, but this impotent doofus didn't even bother to pull up to the point where he could see that indeed, no cars were coming.  So there I sat, watching time of my life that I will never get back tick away while Bozo sat there in his hunter green half pick-up truck/half ass-wagon contemplating his navel.  Oh, I was stewing!

Then, I got to thinking...Who could it be?  Who could have tricked him into sitting there motionlessly, as though trying to elude a T-Rex?  I wonder whoever could it be!