Tuesday, December 07, 2010

10 things I've learned in 5 years

Every five years since I was 25, I have made a list of 10 things I've learned in the previous five years. That time has come around again. So here we go.

1. Having a gravestone somewhere with your name on it feels like reading the last chapter of the book first.

2. Belize mud will not come out of your socks, no matter how many times you wash them.

3. It's not that hard to be naked in public if there are a few hundred people around you doing the same. The hard part is picking up your robe again without bumping into someone else.

4. Just by saying "Let me know if there's anything I can do," you've done something.

5. Chile Pepper travels well.

6. You can learn to smile again.

7. It's never too late to read "To Kill A Mockingbird" for the first time.

8. Conan O'Brien is a tall SOB.

9. I will never be able to read "Winnie the Pooh" without a tear.

10. Leave with a smile.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Sherlock Conundrum

SPOILER if you haven't seen the first episode of "Sherlock" on PBS, go away.

OK, the problem presented by the cabbie with the poison pill is the same one Vizzini presented Wesley. Presuming for a moment the cabbie isn't going to pull a reverse Wesley (put out two poison pills because he's developed an immunity to the poison), which one is the safe pill?

Obviously, there are two possibilities:

1. The poison is in front of Sherlock
2. The poison is in front of the cabbie

The previous victims all chose badly, but we're only assuming the choice was ALWAYS the same. If the cabbie is playing chess, which he likened the game to, then his placement of the bottle would vary with each victim.

Let me play Sherlock - probably very badly - for a moment.

We don't have to factor in the cabbie's fatal condition in these scenarios. From the cabbie's being impressed that Sherlock was able to deduce the fact that he didn't have long to live, we'll take it as given that none of the victims were able to deduce it. In their minds, he was just a psychopath, but one with the same sense of self-preservation that most people have.

I'm also deducing the locations for each of the murders are not random. Though it's not discussed, the cabbie is leaving little to chance. The locations are obviously remote (empty buildings, a storage yard), but in selecting a school for Sherlock, he is telegraphing a desire to "school" the great detective in who is superior. Also, being a cabbie, it is possible he had prior dealings with the victims and remember where he had taken them before.

Victim No. 1: The politician having an affair. Being somewhat of an egotist (a sense of self-importance being essential for a politician, combined with the selfishness that comes with being an adulterer), he would likely presume the bottle in front of the cabbie was the safe one. He would think the cabbie gave him the poison to ensure the death of an important figure. Also, being as a politician he would be presuming the offer had ulterior motives.

Victim No. 2: The 18-year-old. We know the least about him, but from one thing we do know (refusing to share an umbrella with another guy) and the cabbie's choice of murder scene (a gym), we'll posit he was a healthy guy with the same sense of invulnerability most teen males have. In which case, he would presume the safe pill was in front of him, if he believed there was any poison to begin with. Being 18, he might be presuming the whole thing was a gag, perhaps inspired by films like the "Saw" movies, just to frighten him. Or he might presume the cabbie wouldn't kill a "kid." Having the least information about him, I admit I'm drawing most of this out of the air, but I'll give the odds at 75% that the poison pill was in front of cabbie.

Victim No. 3: the MP. Reusing part of the same presumption as victim No. 1 (being a fellow politician), she would presume the safe pill was in front of the cabbie.

Victim No. 4: the woman in pink. We know she is a serial adulteress from Cardiff, so this is unlikely to be her first trip to London. Odds are the locale is one from a previous tryst. We'll also take it the color coordination, as well as packing an overnight case versus stuffing a few things in a handbag, reveals something of a orderly mind. I then posit she would have presumed the safe pill was in front of the cabbie for she will try to apply logic to the problem. The cabbie, of course, would presume that and put the poison pill in front of himself.

OK, so was Sherlock correct in deducing the safe pill was in front of the cabbie?

I believe the cabbie put the safe pill in front of himself, presuming Holmes would deduce his ailment (not underestimating his foe, he must presume this would not be secret for long), and deduce that he was pulling a double cross.

The argument that the cabbie put the safe pill in front of Sherlock don't work for me. The cabbie couldn't take it for granted that the detective wouldn't deduce his terminal condition and presume a sense of self-preservation, which would presume Sherlock would expect a double cross.

The death of the cabbie would seem to make the question unanswerable, but it doesn't. Though he died without telling Sherlock, a final act of defiance, all Sherlock has to do is test the pill he had. Whether we ever learn the results of that test is, of course, yet to be seen.

That's my take on it. I, of course, am not the detective, and am only glad I do not have to make the choice. Naturally, I hear the original detective's response to Watson's deductions about Dr. Mortimer's cane:

"I am afraid, my dear Watson, that most of your conclusions were erroneous. When I said that you stimulated me I meant, to be frank, that in noting your fallacies I was occasionally guided towards the truth. "

Thursday, June 03, 2010

An open letter to Bud Selig

Mr. Selig.

Let the call stand.

I should be one of the last people to tell you to let umpire Jim Joyce's call that deprived Armando Gallaraga of a perfect game Wednesday evening in Detroit stand. My first response on Twitter was "I'm glad Major League Baseball is an equal opportunity employer, but hiring blind umpires is going too far."

But the truth is, we need umpires. We need the guy who's on the field to make the call, otherwise the game would degenerate into endless arguments, like the one that just sprang up in the few hours since the last out.

You're being besieged with demands, pleading and possibly even dinner invitations that you reverse the call. Probably the only other people other than myself who are saying let the call stand are other umpires, who are saying if you reverse this call, every time a controversial call is made you'll be asked to change it, undermining the umpire's near-omnipotence on the field. They're also, no doubt, worried that this will bring on more use of instant replay, which is currently only used in the case of questionable home runs. As much as it pains me to agree with an umpire (yes, I have that inbred hatred of the guys in black), they're right. Baseball doesn't need instant replay. It slows up what is already a leisurely game. Baseball has existed more than 200 years without it, and it has become the national pastime anyway.

And like I said, we need umpires, not just on the field, but in real life. We need people to be the final arbiter, like judges, teachers and parents who say that's right, that's wrong, move along. Otherwise, we're all just standing around claiming to be victims.

Americans like to believe they are the champions of fair play. The truth is we're really a champion of winners. When we lose, we'd like to point to something and say that's why we lost. Now people are pointing at Jim Joyce, saying because of him Gallaraga, and by extension everyone who wanted to see a perfect game, have been deprived. And Joyce, who already has suffered more abuse in less than a day than most umpires suffer in a whole career, is now a scapegoat.

Joyce and Gallaraga are the victims here, not the rest of us. I say let them decide. Joyce has already said he made a mistake, but he hasn't said whether the call should be reversed. My suspicion is as much as he knows it will haunt him for the rest of his career, he'll say umpires' call should stand.

And as far as Gallaraga goes, if you do reverse the call, all he gets is a mark in the record books. He doesn't get to go back in time and be mobbed on the field by his teammates. He doesn't get the shaving cream pie in the face during the post-game interview. He doesn't get to have the clip played over and over again on Sportscenter. That moment is gone. Ask him which he'd rather have, the mark or the moment, and I bet we both know what the answer is.

So, Mr. Selig, let me be the one to say, let the call stand. Let Joyce join the lineup of infamous baseball mistake makers, like Bill Buckner, Fred Merkle and Steve Bartman, whose misdeeds fuel debate even to this day.

We all make mistakes. And we all have to live with them and their consequences. Wiping them away changes nothing.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Things I've learned while working on my house

Maybe they're applicable to other things. You decide.

1. If you need it done now, hire a professional, but remember, it will cost a lot and they may not stick around to clean up.

2. Make sure the conditions are right. If it's too humid it won't stick to the walls.

3. Make sure you have the right tool. Accept no substitutes.

4. If you're having trouble, try attacking it from a different angle. You'll be surprised.

5. If it gets stuck, don't force it. You may damage the surface.

6. Wear protection. You never know what might go flying around, and you wouldn't want to get it in your eyes.

7. It always takes longer than you anticipate.

8. If you get tired, take a break. If you don't, your work will get sloppy.

9. When in doubt, slap another coat on it.

10, A power tool will get the job done quick, but there's nothing like the satisfaction of a job done by hand.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Highlights from Textsfromlastnight.com

(843): Grinding on my ninth grade teacher. Dreams really do come true

(510): he said he didn't have a condom.
(415): and you said?
(510): that that's fine cause i was ready to be a mom. yeah - he magically had a condom he forgot about after that.

(843): the red head has a bf
(1-843): just because there's a goalie doesn't mean u can't score

(812): My girlfriend went down on me and as she did she hummed the theme from star wars and pretended my dick was a lightsaber...I'm buying the engagement ring tomorrow

(813): I'm fucking your sister right now.
(1-813): You motherfucker
(813): She's next.

(212): I know she is the girl of my dreams bc she orgasmed, rolled over and then asked if I knew that Orlando beat Cleveland.

(401): This is a mass text. Does anyone know where I am?

617): i would really appreciate it if you would stop texting my girlfriend.
(508): i would really appreciate it if you would stop cock blocking me.

(347): in the middle of sex he stopped to tell me that he loved me... then slapped my ass and told me "back to business"... im gonna marry him

(857): seriously iPhone. stop autocorrecting all my fucks into ducks. you're making all my strong worded texts look harmless and adorable.

(910): wow wtf my bar tab was 80 dollars

(734): I just met a guy from Australia at the bar. I asked him what it was like down under and he told me if I went home with him he'd let me find out. I love Australians.

(443): I'm a gentlemen, chivalry is what i do, i'll open the door, pull out your chair, buy your drinks, i'll even go down first, but when it comes to mario kart, i draw the line. I'm sorry but i just can't let you beat me at mario kart

(970): I locked my keys in my car in front of planned parenthood. I'm terrified of going inside to ask to borrow a clothes hangar.
(303): Just tell them you need to fix a mistake real quick.

(347): I knew you were gonna be a good wingman when the words "dibs on the chunky one" came out of your mouth.

(214): dude. I'm so drunk.
(972): pete, this is bryce's mom
(214): I can't wait to have my cock in your ass
(972): pete, this is still bryce's mom

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Poor guy may have to change his name


From FirstCoastNews.com

PORTLAND, OR -- An 88-year-old woman was surprised in her home when she came in from collecting some firewood for her stove and found 46-year-old Michael Dick there...naked.

Police say Dick followed her around the house and began pushing himself against her.

The woman retaliated.

When Dick pushed her into a chair she grabbed his genitals. Dick fled the home and was soon picked up by local authorities based on a description provided to them by the woman.

Dick is being held and is going to be charged with burglary, harassment and indecency.

The woman, while shaken, is unharmed.

At least his name wasn't Michael Hunt.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

So I'm a little slow

It took me 20 years to figure out that not only is "Run To You" by Bryan Adams a morally reprehensible song (it's about a guy justifying cheating on his woman, and not very well at that), but it's grammatically horrible.

"She says her love for me will never die/But that'd change if she ever found out about you and I"

It's "you and me," genius.