Saturday, January 30, 2010

Where Have You Gone JD Salinger?

Author JD Salinger died this week at age 91.
Salinger is most famous for writing "The Catcher in the Rye" a book I have always intended to read but never got around to reading.
The only other thing most people know about him is that he is a recluse basically disappearing in the mid-60s.
His reclusiveness was the subject of an episode of the great mid-90s sitcom "The Single Guy" starring Jonathan Silverman. To impress a girl Silverman said he knew JD Salinger. His doorman, ably played by Ernest Borgnine tried to impersonate Salinger (made possible because he hadn't been seen in public for years).

Salinger may have spent his time in exile writing. We will soon find out the contents of a safe at his New Hampshire home.
It's is believed it contains a stack of finished, unpublished books.
Why would anyone write something then go to great lengths to make sure no one saw it?
"There is a marvelous peace in not publishing," J.D. Salinger told The New York Times in 1974. "Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure."

That's sort of how I feel about this blog.

Friday, January 29, 2010

This Story Has It All: Grammar and Boobies

Two strippers facing prostitution charges are trying to use grammar to get them off. Hey, it gets me off. Porn star Alexia Moore and Falynn Rodriguez were dancing at Big Daddy Lou's Hot Lap Dance Club when they reportedly offered an undercover cop a threesome for $5,000.
The charges against them say that they did "engage, offer and agree" to acts of prostitution.
But the law actually says "engage, offer or agree" and since they didn't actually engage in the acts they claim the charges against them are invalid.
And if that doesn't work, they're going to try a lesbian defense.
These claims or some combination thereof worked as a judge dismissed the charges.

Here is the video cops shot during their raid that led to these arrests. Which one of these strippers is not like the others?

No Underscores Anywhere

Here's another story about protecting yourself online so I once again refer to the Poop's resident paranoid internet user, Mrs. Poop's mom.
She assigned Poppy an e-mail address full of underscores to ward off spam. It also wards off friends who can never remember the damn underscores.
But she deftly uses underscores in her passwords as well, something maybe most of us should try.

According to a new study, too many people have passwords that are way too obvious for hackers to figure out. About 20% of us use one of the 5,000 most common passwords. 5,000 may seem like a lot, but for a computer program running them repeatedly, it doesn't take long to try 5,000 possibilities.

The most popular passwords are 123456, 12345 and 123456789. In 4th place the incredibly idiotic: password.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bracketology 101

I have long considered myself a student of Bracketology and now I can get the diploma to prove it.
ESPN's resident Bracketologist Joe Lunardi is actually teaching a course called Bracketology at his alma mater, St. Joseph's University.

Its an online course with three different start dates.

I don't believe it's officially accredited.

Students learn about the history of the NCAA tournament, the RPI and how to seed and bracket teams.

For the final exam you have to create your own bracket which is graded and signed by the great Joe Lunardi.

I would seriously be considering this if not for the time committment and the $249 price tag.

Why Syracuse Should Be Ranked #1

The AP and coaches’ polls in college sports don’t mean anything. Yes, this is true. But the only people who point this out are fans whose teams are not rated very highly in those polls. With Kentucky’s loss, there are no more unbeaten teams meaning Syracuse should be #1 as the king of the 1-time losers, and here’s why:

1) Syracuse leads every RPI and computer ranking – even before Kentucky’s loss. This is why I wince when people complain that college football is decided by computers. Better than being decided by voters. Yes the computers don’t watch the games – but neither do the voters. The computer rankings are the fairest way to evaluate teams when schedules are so drastically different.

2) Syracuse is #6 in strength of schedule, Kansas is 13, Villanova 48, Kentucky 84.

3) Syracuse has three wins against Top 25 RPI teams (California, Georgetown and West Virginia). Kansas has 2, Villanova and Kentucky each have 1.

4) When you take that out to the top 100 Syracuse has 12, Kansas 8, Villanova 8 and Kentucky 5.

Scoop and Rick Jackson stepping up this season making SU the best team in the country

By every measure Syracuse is better than all three of these teams. For ease, I’m going to eliminate Kentucky from the discussion because they won’t stay number one after the loss and they’re clearly inferior to Syracuse, Kansas and Villanova.

Here are the common opponents of Kansas and Syracuse:

Kansas beat Memphis by 2, Syracuse beat Memphis by 17

Oakland: Kansas by 30, Syracuse by 32

California: Kansas by 15, Syracuse by 18

Cornell: Kanass by 5, Syracuse by 12

About the only thing Kansas has over Syracuse is losing to a slightly better team, and doing so on the road instead of at home.

Similar results but not as striking for Villanova.

Basically no one can make any reasonable argument that Syracuse doesn’t deserve to be the number 1 team in the country except for the dumbass voters who vote based on what they thought 3 months ago.

But I repeat this does not matter. It only matters what you do in March. But it’s still fun to be number 1 in January.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why Girls Suck At Math

A recent study shows why girls are not good at math.

The study of first- and second-graders says female elementary school teachers who are concerned about their own math skills could be passing that along to the little girls they teach

Young students tend to model themselves after adults of the same sex, and having a female teacher who is anxious about math may reinforce the stereotype that boys are better at math than girls, explained Sian L. Beilock, an associate professor in psychology at the University of Chicago.

Beilock and colleagues studied 52 boys and 65 girls who in classes taught by 17 different teachers. Ninety percent of U.S. elementary school teachers are women, as were all of those in this study. But by the end of the year, the more anxious teachers were about their own math skills, the more likely their female students -- but not the boys -- were to agree that "boys are good at math and girls are good at reading."

In addition, the girls who answered that way scored lower on math tests than either the classes' boys or the girls who had not developed a belief in the stereotype, the researchers found.

"It's actually surprising in a way, and not. People have had a hunch that teachers could impact the students in this way, but didn't know how it might do so in gender-specific fashion," Beilock said in a telephone interview.

After seeing the results, the researchers recommended that the math requirements for obtaining an elementary education teaching degree be rethought.

"If the next generation of teachers -- especially elementary school teachers -- is going to teach their students effectively, more care needs to be taken to develop both strong math skills and positive math attitudes in these educators," the researchers wrote.

Teacher math anxiety was measured on a 25-question test about situations that made them anxious, such as reading a cash register receipt or studying for a math test. A separate test checked the math skills of the teachers, who worked in a large Midwestern urban school district.

I trust that no matter who her teachers are Tall Olivia will be able to calculate batting averages with the best of them.

I suggest young girls should model themselves after Danica McKellar.

Song of the Week

"Feel So Good" - Razah

Another entry inspired by Teddy Pendergrass. This one samples and embodies portions of "When Somebody Loves You Back."

Skechers Makes the Best Shoes and The Best Ads

Because of my chronic foot pain, my unusual gait and my oddly-shaped feet, I have trouble finding comfortable shoes. But I have several pairs of Skechers and find them to be quite comfortable and at times even stylish. But maybe I just like their ads.

The Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan and his family:

And of course the classic Skechers ad, Carrie Underwood and a bunch of yellow lab puppies:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Think She Split Her Pants

British bobsledder Gillian Cooke was so focused while preparing for a run at the World Championships she didn't notice a sudden chilly breeze:

EMBED-Bobsled Wardrobe Malfunction - Watch more free videos

I guess its not very aerodynamic to wear undergarments under those suits:

bobsledder Gillian Cooke has a wardrobe malfunction

But that was only the second funniest pants-split of the week. The funniest occurred on American Idol when a guy tried to do a split -- and he still made it to Hollywood.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What Really Happened

Thanks to the Daily Beast we finally know what happened the night Tiger Woods crashed his SUV. The article isn't all that long so I post the entire thing here. Most of it fits with what we already thought but there are some new details about the text messages that make this a compelling read.

While the Tiger Woods drama has played out in an extraordinarily public way, the details from before and after the golfer’s Thanksgiving night car crash—the trigger for one of the costliest sports-related scandals ever—have remained shrouded in mystery. Two sources who know Tiger’s wife, Elin Nordegren, and have discussed various details of the story with her, have corroborated a minute-by-minute account that answers the majority of the questions surrounding what might be the most expensive car crash in history.

Among their revelations:

•Just before Tiger’s affair with Rachel Uchitel was reported in the National Enquirer, he put Uchitel on the phone with his wife for a half-hour, so she could convince Elin the relationship was platonic.
•Elin confirmed her lingering suspicions about Tiger’s affair with Uchitel by impersonating her husband in text messages with Uchitel, prompting the rage that led to Woods fleeing his house.
•Tiger had taken the sedative Ambien that night, and was in a stupor when Elin woke him following her sting operation on Uchitel.
•After his wife’s wakeup, Tiger sent Uchitel a panicky text warning her that Elin had discovered the affair and implying that divorce was imminent. Elin quickly found this text as well, which precipitated her chasing him out of the house with a golf club.
•Tiger did not immediately return home when he was released from the hospital, likely explaining why Elin did not accede to much-publicized requests from visiting police officers to chat with Woods.
Both sources spoke on the condition of anonymity, because Elin Nordegren did not give them permission to discuss her conversations with them.

During the run-up to Thanksgiving, these sources say that Tiger gave Elin advance warning that the National Enquirer was about to run a story claiming that he had an affair with Rachel Uchitel, a New York- and Las Vegas-based nightlife entrepreneur, who had just reportedly finished a torrid affair a few months earlier with married actor David Boreanaz. Woods swore to Elin that the Enquirer story was false and that he had only met Uchitel once or twice at social outings.

Elin remained suspicious, according to one of the sources. On November 25, the day before Thanksgiving, as Internet rumors spread of the about-to-be-released Enquirer story, Tiger convinced Uchitel to talk to Elin. The two women spoke by phone for about half an hour, and after the conversation, according to this source, she was satisfied that the relationship was platonic.

The next day, Thanksgiving, Elin learned some of the Enquirer’s specifics about the purported affair, including a recent rendezvous in Australia. That evening, the two argued. Tiger decided to end the bickering , both sources confirm, by taking Ambien and going to sleep. (According to what Elin has told one of the sources, Woods regularly had trouble sleeping, and Ambien was his primary sleep aid.)

After Woods fell asleep, Elin looked through his cellphone, both sources confirmed. There she found text messages to Uchitel’s number—Uchitel was apparently listed in Tiger’s cellphone under her real name—and among them she discovered one that said, “You are the only one I’ve loved.”

Shortly after 1 a.m. in Florida, Elin began texting Uchitel, pretending to be Tiger, according to both sources. Elin wrote, “I miss you,” and asked, “When are we seeing each other again?”

Uchitel texted back, seemingly surprised that Woods was awake. Elin specifically felt, one source told me, that this response indicated that the two of them spoke earlier that night, before Tiger took his Ambien. At that point, Elin called Uchitel, who answered thinking it was Tiger calling. Both sources said that Elin said something approximating, “I knew it was you.”

Uchitel’s surprised reply, according to what Elin told one source: “Oh f--k.” She immediately hung up.

Normally quiet and controlled, Elin later told one source she became enraged and woke Tiger by screaming at him. He seemed disoriented, still in a stupor from the Ambien. The fight ratcheted up quickly.

But then chaos ensued when she grabbed his cellphone when he came out after locking himself in the bathroom for several minutes. Both sources confirm that Tiger had apparently, shortly after waking up, sent another short text to Uchitel warning that Elin had uncovered the affair, that he was about to pack, and that a divorce might be imminent.

Elin didn’t tell Woods what she’d seen, one source says. She simply exploded, trying to hit him on the chest and arms with her fists, and then finally chasing him from the house while she wielded a golf club. Shoeless, he ran into the car and barreled out of the driveway before careening off a fire hydrant and then smashing into a tree. Neither source said they knew the details of how the rear windows in the Escalade were knocked out, though one source says that the story Tiger told police at the accident scene about Elin smashing them in an attempt to free him from the wreck was a lie designed to protect his wife.

When he was released later from the hospital, Tiger was whisked off to an undisclosed location, Elin too furious to allow him back that afternoon. This likely explains why Elin told police who arrived at their mansion outside Orlando that Woods did not care to speak with them then, once saying he was asleep and couldn’t even see them.

Woods’ representatives did not reply to multiple requests for comment. Sorrel Trope, the 82-year-old dean of Los Angeles celebrity divorce lawyers, who has been advising Elin, also did not answer a request for comment. Gloria Allred, the attorney for Rachel Uchitel, wrote by email, “We have no comment on this.”

According to one friend, Elin remains furious about the events on Thanksgiving, but will wait for the golfer to finish any rehab treatment he’s undergoing before making a final decision on whether to pursue a divorce.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Best Football Player to Get Away With Murder Since OJ Simpson

A great article in GQ explains how former Syracuse and Indianapolis Colts receiver Marvin Harrison got away with murder.

It's a long article so I'll summarize it. Marvin Harrison owns several businesses in North Philly including a bar called Playmakers and Chuckie's Car Wash. When Dwight Dixon was denied entrance to Playmakers, he took the insult personally. Eventually he was denied service at the car wash, the bar again, and when he tried to get a car wash for the second time, Harrison shot him. Dixon didn't die then, but he was killed later, probably at Harrison's request.

Despite having what seemed like an open and shut case against Harrison including eyewitnesses, physical evidence and incriminating statements from Harrison himself, the DA elected not to pursue, not wanting to have her career ruined by being wrong in such a high-profile case.

Read the whole article, and the update that the DA is considering reopening this case.

Imagine if This Had Happened to a Muslim Praying to Mecca

A plane from New York to Kentucky was diverted to Philadelphia after stewardesses told the pilot a passenger with a device with "wires" coming out of it, was talking loudly on the plane.
It turns out the passenger in question was a 17-year-old orthodox Jew who was using tefillin and praying loudly.
"It's something that the average person is not going to see very often, if ever," FBI spokesman J.J. Klaver said.
The teen explained the ritual after being questioned by crewmembers of the flight, which had left LaGuardia Airport around 7:30 a.m. and was operated by Chautauqua Airlines, authorities said.
Officials with the airline, however, said crewmembers "did not receive a clear response" when they talked with the teen, according to a statement issued by Republic Airways, which owns Chautauqua.
"Therefore, in the interest of everyone's safety, the crew decided to land in Philadelphia, where a more complete investigation and follow-up with authorities would be possible," the statement said.
The plane landed without incident and was met by police, bomb-sniffing dogs and officials from the FBI and Transportation Security Administration.
Authorities said the plane was searched and passengers were questioned. The teen, who is from White Plains, New York, and was traveling with his 16-year-old sister, was very cooperative, Vanore said.
"They were more alarmed than we were," Vanore said.
The flight was carrying 15 passengers and three crewmembers.