Friday, November 30, 2007

Pit Pat And Olympic Mascots

There's nothing quite like the unveiling of the Olympic mascot. The world shudders in the anticipation someone will have developed a mascot worse than the sperm-like Izzy from Atlanta 1996, and then breathes a collective sigh of relief when it's not that awful. Which is a generous scale as most Olympic mascots are pretty awful.

A good rundown can be found here.

The Athens mascots freaked the hell out of me. Though the Torino mascots bring back memories of the Mr. Show sketch about Pit-Pat (WARNING: More profanity than you ever thought possible in the following clip*). How hard is it to dress a guy up in a bear costume?

*Ed Note - Even better, one of the actors on that show is now the voice for SpongeBob Squarepants. That just makes me happy. He went from transvestite cookie manufacturers to a sponge living in a coconut under the sea... which isn't THAT much of a stretch now that I think about it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trial Daze

I did part of my trial observation for PC yesterday, along with seeming half of the PC class. It was probably the first time either of the lawyers had given an argument in front of packed galleries. We should’ve painted our faces and started cheering for a side. Though the judge may have frowned on that behavior.

The defendant in the case had a mohawk. I don’t being the cutesy David Beckham style faux-hawk. I mean a shaved head except for the stripe of hair in the middle. Even better, he had a gigantic spider tattoo on the side of his head. Now, when you are in a breach of contract case and you are sporting a Mohawk and an impressive spider tattoo on the side of your head (and on the side which faced the jury… bad luck there), you have some image problems right off the bat.

Unfortunately, he missed the chance to soften his image. Here are some of the possibilities:
- Doctoring the tattoo. Give the spider a tie.
- Shave the mohawk. Decidedly non-hardcore and not the course I’d recommend.
- Dye the mohawk. He had grey hair, so he was an old mohawk dude. Go all out, man. You already have a Mohawk, just get some Manic Panic and die the thing Baylor green and gold. Or select a jury full of UT grads and go for burnt orange.
- Get another tattoo. Something along the lines of “INNOCENT”.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Obscure Sports Update

In news you don't care about, but I do; the T-Mobile cycling team has folded.

T-Mobile was the big rival of the US Postal team, so they played the New Jersey Generals to Lance Armstrong's Harlem Globetrotters. Before that, they spent five years playing runner-up to Miguel Indurain. T-Mobile make the Buffalo Bills look like pikers.

Jan Ullrich is the symbol of this team. He won a Tour de France between Armstrong and Indurain's long dynasties, but he spent most of his career doing two things: finishing second to Lance and getting busted for drugs. His list of blood doping sins is pretty impressive: EPO, steroids, he even got busted for using Ecstasy. Just in case the Tour was gonna play techno. And that's just the stuff he got CAUGHT doing. Here's a guy who spent his entire career playing second fiddle to one of the greatest cyclists ever, and he used every means on earth to try and beat him... and he still failed. Ullrich is one of the most tragic figures in all international sports.

But let's remember T-Mobile for the good times: their absolute total team dysfunction which made cycling seem like the Days of Our Lives, the sheer number of great riders that rode for them (Riis, Ullrich, Vinokourov, Kloden), and of course the Greatest sprinter in the history of cycling: Erik Zabel. While Lance was racking up yellow jerseys, Zabel kept racking up sprinting titles. Their twin dominance was pretty awesome.

I already miss those pink jerseys.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Meaning of LSU Losing

I sported the LSU colors after the big defeat. Osler waxed eloquent on the meaning of sports, as if to spite me on my week of defeat.

Actually, I had a good time at the game, and while we tanked the national title, we still can tailgate with the best of them. I personally liked the guy walking around with a pig's head on a stick. Yes, it was a real pig. And I'm an adult and will not let a football game, albeit one my uncle described as the Most Disappointing Loss In LSU History, determine my mood. I had a nice trip and got to see some family I rarely get to see. So it was a good trip and I am in a good mood.

But, God. That game sucked. And I still can't watch football. My new-found maturity only extends so far.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Road Trip!

Well, I drove 500 miles to Baton rouge to watch LSU blow a national title. That was fun. Not as much fun as driving 500 miles back.

We stopped in Lafayette on our ride down, about where we were about to be redirected an hour out of our way due to gas fires knocking out a bridge (got to love Louisiana). Lafayette's slogan is apparently "You Should Have Gone Before You Left." It was only a little after 11 PM when we stopped to get gas and make a much needed pit stop. But there was a sign taped to the gas station door which read:


I'm not the snootiest guy on earth, so fine. I'll use the Port-A-Potty. Unfortunately, it had been raining all day, non stop, making for a delightful drive, and also creating what can only be described as a lake around the Port-A-Potty. Since I hadn't brought my rubber boots, we decided to go across the street to the fast food joint to use their restroom.

Wendy's? Closed.
Burger King? Closed.
Taco Bell? Closed. Sheesh, Taco Bell only gets business after 10 PM once people stop caring about the quality of the food they ingest. How can they close at 11?

So we stop again at an Exxon station at which the helpful employee gives us a bathroom key and tells us the bathroom is around back. Now, I've been in some disgusting bathrooms in my life, but I don't think I've ever been in one I've spent this much effort to find. The floor was literally covered in urine-soaked toilet paper which begs the question: did someone soak it the toilet paper in urine and THEN decorate the bathroom artfully with it, or did they add the toilet paper as an addition? Like the urine wasn't enough for the decor and they suddenly hit on the idea of then flinging toilet paper all over the place.

I walked out of there and looked at Jude and he said I was white as a sheet and just told him "Don't touch anything." When I finally arrived at my uncle's in Baton Rouge, I think I took a one hour shower to wash that place off of me.

Then LSU lost to friggin' Arkansas. At least Thanksgiving was fun.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Just Like We Drew It Up

Flag football has returned to the BLS. And that gave me a chance to flash my quick moves and actually score on an impromptu pitchback play that involved a lot of bobbling of the ball. Let's review: my knee is held together by staples, Saran Wrap, and that sticky tack you use to hang posters in a dorm room. I should never, ever, ever outrun anyone to anything. Except maybe a buffet line, but that's just because I throw elbows.

I even got to do a gratuitous dive into the end zone. For one shining moment: Baker was a speed demon.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stats and Monpoly

I'm a firm believer in applying academic rigor to things which essentially have no meaning. It's why I do things like applying statutory construction to the baseball rulebook or invent football statistics for my own use. There is nothing quite like letting a good mind go to waste.

Which is why I must salute the uber-nerd who applied statistical probability in order to figure out how to win at Monopoly. that was an afternoon well-spent. Now, if he could only take the time to analyze Connect Four.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


On Friday, I was sitting in the PC room studying and listening to my iPod. Which makes it a pretty typical morning. PC III starts at 9:15, but at 8:00 AM Prof. PC walked in and started asking a few general questions. Being a generally attentive guy, I took off my earbuds and answered a few questions. This went on for about five minutes, and then it struck me...

This was Advanced Trial Prep, a class for which I am not enrolled. Now, I'm sure a lot of you have accidentally been in the wrong class before. But how many of you have actually participated in that class for five minutes AND THEN realized you were in the wrong class?

I should not be allowed to socialize before coffee.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Led Zeppelin Moves In

A band has moved into my apartment building. They live downstairs, and they suck. Not that if the White Stripes moved in downstairs and decided to start practicing during the day would I think that was really cool either. I'm not at home for most of the day, so it's not the biggest of deals, but when I get home from school, I don't like the idea of some garage band working on their rendition of some Pearl Jam cover.

Also, one of the key parts of a garage band is a garage. They don't call them apartment bands.

But I am very excited they have a drummer. Because drummers are loud.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We Get Political

I try to avoid politics here at Poseur HQ. Mainly because I used to work in politics and now because of that experience, I'm far too cynical to believe in either party. I like to use the old shorthand that Republicans are evil and Democrats are incompetent, knowing fully well this isn't true. Each party's leadership is both evil AND incompetent.

But I don't think I'm stepping out on a huge limb when I say that the Iraq War was a really bad idea. Not counting the death toll, which is a cost I find unacceptable, the bill came due:
The financial toll of America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was laid bare yesterday when a congressional committee estimated the cost of both conflicts at $1.6 trillion (£771bn) and rising - $20,000 for every family of four in the US.

The LA Times says that's a lowball estimate and we could be looking at a $3 trillion bill. Considering there are contractors involved, I'd expect the cost to keep going up just like the bill on your home renovations.

Twenty thousand dollars per family. Couldn't they have just cut me a check?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Your First Time

Emily and I have an informal book exchange in which we try and push our literary tastes on the other. Since she has excellent taste, this works out rather well for me while she gets stuck reading Chuck Palahniuk novels. Anyway, she's been trying to get me to read Michael Chabon's first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, for quite some time and I finally cracked it open this weekend.

It's his first novel, and there is rarely anything in literature (or film or movies) as exciting as someone's first work. There is the limitless potential of what is going to happen from here. All the flaws in the work can be forgiven as simply their first attempt and all you can see is where this person might one day go. Sometimes they are Orson Welles and Citizen Kane and this is as good as it ever gets. Or they could be Chabon, who has since won a Pulitzer Prize for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay, not to mention other great books like Wonder Boys and The Yiddish Policeman's Union.

I love that first work. That feeling of discovery when you finish and think to yourself, "this person is going to be great." There's no career long disappointment yet (I'm looking at you, Quentin Tarantino and the Stone Roses). When someone is still finding their voice and is still unashamed to blatantly rip off The Great Gatsby, a book that should be ripped off more often. Because I'm sick of people ripping off The Catcher In the Rye, a book which really wasn't that good in the first place. Just for fun, read Jonathan Yardley's epic takedown of Salinger. Though it is not the most overrated book ever, as that is an honor reserved for On the Road.

It was written in one sitting? Really? It shows.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Spilling Oil

The Coast Guard claims the recent oil spill off the San Francisco coast was "due to human error." I would certainly hope so. The alternative expalantion is that there is a computer or mechanical process which results in dumping oil off the California coast. While I'm not oil and gas expert, that seems like a bad business plan.

The HAL 900 computer was unavailable for comment.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Armistice Day

Eighty-eight years ago, the Germans signed a peace treaty surrendering the Allied forces, ending World War I, the bloodiest and most senseless war in human history. Actually, that's not entirely true. They signed a peace treaty on November 10th, but everyone involved thought it would be cool if the war would end at 11:00 on 11/11. So they signed a treaty and then issued orders for the two armies to keep killing each other right up until the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Of all the reasons the military leaders of World War I are going to hell, this has to rank up there. They just casually killed a few hundred people because they thought it would be neat.

OK, more people died during World War II thanks to the Holocaust and the outright murder of the Russian peasantry. World War I is only bloodier if you limit it to military casualties. Not that World War I didn't have its share of horrible war crimes. the term "holocaust" was first used to describe the one million Armenians the Ottomans murdered. A systematic genocide the US still won't officially condemn because the Turkish government still denies it ever happened.

Pretty much every awful thing from the Twentieth Century comes from World War I: Nationalism, Yugoslavia, genocide, the partition of the Middle East, the collapse of colonialism in Africa (which seemed like a good idea at the time but we ended up with Rwanda and the Sudan), poetry which doesn't rhyme, modern art, doughnuts... ok, those were good. But you get the point.

Despite the Great War's tremendous importance, it is virtually forgotten. I went to Books A Million to pick up a book on WWI and despite having an entire aisle dedicated to military history, 80% of those books were on either the Civil War or World War II. And they had exactly zero books on the Great War. Zero.

So, here is your bit of WWI knowledge: the bloodiest battle in US history is not Normandy or Gettysburg: it is Meuse-Argonne. Officially, 26,277 Americans were killed and 95,768 Americans were wounded. There are no official numbers, but the Battle of Bellau Wood may be the bloodiest day in US military history as the AEF thought it would be a good idea to try and attack without artillery support. The army took huge casualties but took the German position, in a move thought to be impossible. The casualty list was so horrifying that it was simply listed as part of another major battle (2nd Marne). The Battle of Bellau Wood never officially happened. The soldiers are lost, forgotten to memories.

They were heroes. I remember them.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Evidence Exam

Let's see...

There were 60 questions on the Evidence exam, most questions having 10 possible answers. So, if I just guessed, I had a one in ten chance of getting it right. For every ten questions, I should get one right.

Following that calculus, I got six right on the exam. Go, me. Maybe it is easier the second time I take the class.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Playoff Beards

One of the few good things about finals is the sudden appearance of playoff beards. The playoff beard is one of those things which say, "Hey, I'm working hard and therefore don't have time to shave." It is the only time a bunch of people in Texas will act like hockey players. I like that we're borrowing traditions from hockey. Next we should adopt fighting. Remember kids, drop the gloves and THEN pull the jersey over the other guy's head.

Unfortunately, at the end of the week, no one will hand me a large trophy to skate around. Which is one of life's little disappointments. But there will be a party, so I guess that will be okay instead.

And don't worry, the beards will disappear on Friday. They lose their power after finals and therefore must be shaved off.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I really meant to study Evidence last night, but the PC exam pretty much destroyed any will I had left to live. So instead I sat around, ate pretzels, and watched Memento for the three hundred and eighty-second time.* At least I can claim it is a movie about evidence. Even more so than Elizabeth, despite the glaring lack of Sir Walter Raleigh.

In fact, the entire movie hinges on a non-material, errant fact (the license plate number) leads Lenny to kill the wrong guy. Yes, I'm giving away the plot to movie that is seven years old, deal with it. If you haven't seen it yet, you weren't going to see it. By the way, Rosebud is a sled. And Bruce Willis is dead for the entire movie.

Anyway, the movie also leaves us with a very interesting evidentiary question: what actually happened? Teddy tells Lenny (and therefore, us) the entire backstory, but Teddy is proven throughout the movie to be a gigantic liar. We can't trust Lenny's version because he has no short-term memory and lacks a pretty basic testamentary capacity. Natalie is only using Lenny to kill Teddy, so she's not very reliable either. What are we left with when there are NO reliable witnesses? Is this movie the greatest example of the equal inference rule? All of the evidence points to contrary conclusions, none more likely than the other.

I've decided that Lenny probably killed his own wife. But only by a preponderance of the evidence. I'm not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. See, even my breaks from studying are still studying. Proving once again that PC has ruined my life.

*That number is just a guess. But it's a lot.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Ancient Conceptions of Beauty

King Tut, the world's most famous pharaoh for apparently having the misfortune not to hide his burial site well enough three thousand years ago, had his face revealed to the public for the first time yesterday.

Here's how the curators describe his face:
"The face of the golden pharaoh is amazing," said Egyptian antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass, pulling back the linen bandages to reveal a body resembling a badly burnt skeleton.

"It has magic, it has mystery, it has beauty and his buck teeth are similar to the rest of his family's. Putting the mummy in this case will make the golden king live forever."

Now, here's photo:

We have rather different standards of beauty, me and Zahi. Though I am willing to concede Tut doesn't look a day over 2,000.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Spears' Money Management

A quick breakdown of Britney's monthly expenses:

$102,000 Entertainment, gifts, and travel
$49,267 Mortgage
$16,000 Clothes
$15,000 Child support
$20,000 Spousal support
$4,758 Eating out
$500 Charitable contributions
$0 Education
$0 Savings and investments

I'm going to go out on a limb and say while it's a bad idea for Britney to not be saving or investing any of her $737,000 monthly income, she should probably be slightly more concerned about the $0 in education.

Though I am completely baffled how she is spending $16,000 in clothes considering she rarely appears fully clothed.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Kickers and The Meaning of Life

In my quest to not study for PC finals, I stumbled across this article on placekickers. I found most of it to be fascinating, given that kickers hold a unique place in the sports landscape. I can think of no other position in sports like it. Kickers aren't really considered part of the team and their successes are usually forgotten while their failures are forever remembered. Think Scott Norwood who, believe or not, was a really good kicker. But we know him as the guy who shanked the kick in the Super Bowl.

Anyway, the article focuses on the one kicker who has busted out of the kicker ghetto: Adam Vinatieri. But let's be honest, he's considered a clutch kicker because of three kicks. Three. His whole career boils down to about 20 seconds. If he misses just one of those kicks, he's a nobody. He misses two... well, he's bagging groceries in Iowa right now.

But here's the thing, Vinatieri isn't that much better than any other kicker, really. He hits about 26 of every 30 FG attempts, making him slightly above average. But here's the thing: two more makes and he's an All-Pro. Two more misses and he's out of a job. That's pressure. Essentially, EVERY kick in a kicker's life is a big kick. Every moment is a job interview. There's no such thing as a clutch kicker because every kick is a clutch kick.

Even stranger to me is that kicking field goals isn't the most important part of a kicker's job. Almost every kicker hits about the same amount of their attempts, so there's really no difference between Vinatieri and Kicker X. The big difference is kickoffs. and strangely enough, despite his reputation as the Greatest Kicker Ever, Vinatieri is not that great a kickoffs. He's got a distinctly average leg. He only managed two touchbacks so far this year, which is not very good especially given how often the Colts kick off. So, the only kicker to be respected as a Football Player is not very good at one of his two job functions.

There's a lesson there, but I can't quite grasp it.


Well, PC Finals Week is here. I've decided to kick it off the old-fashioned way, by finding out Bill can't pull any of the data from my fried laptop. So I think there's going to be a little bit of time spent re-reading all of the cases. That should only take a few hours, right?

So, I guess I'll see the lower quarters in PC next year...