Donald Trump Is a Coward 

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

As William Saletan astutely notes, “[w]hen the president is a coward, people die”.

Used Pumpers Are Available Immediately 

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

Apparently the idea of a privately-owned fire truck is not quite as outlandish as I previously thought. Better still, if you have a pressing need, used models are available far faster than buying new.

Help Get Out the Vote, With Vote Forward 

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

American’s general election is just over two months away, and if you’re an American citizen, your voice should be heard. If you’re not registered to vote, or if you’re unsure of your current status, visit vote.org.

Once you’re ready to vote, why not encourage others to vote as well? This year, I’ve been writing letters with Vote Forward, to encourage people to exercise their right to vote.


[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

I’m working to get to 100 letters, and I’m now more than halfway to that goal. You can send as few as five letters, though, so the barrier to entry is very low.

Sometimes it can feel difficult to know just what you can do to make things better in this world. Working with Vote Forward to get out the vote is a concrete action you can take, and I hope you will. Visit https://votefwd.org to sign up and get started.

Beautiful Blue Skies and Golden Sunshine 

Monday, August 31st, 2020

In 2020, why wouldn’t you watch a weather report for Los Angeles from eccentric filmmaker David Lynch? This makes as much sense as anything else right now.

Trust Mother Nature 

Friday, August 28th, 2020

I’m not one for omens, or signs, or messages from higher powers. But if the people of Lake Charles wouldn’t listen to reason when it came to removing a monument to traitors to America, perhaps they’ll opt not to interfere with what Mother Nature clearly wants.

“Fair” Means Whatever Is Good for Jerry Jones 

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

If the NFL does in fact play its 2020 season this fall, most stadiums will be empty. However, because not all states currently prohibit mass gatherings, a few teams will be allowed to have fans at their home games.

You might wonder if this actually matters. In a word, yes. Home field advantage is a real phenomenon, with home teams winning more games than away teams, and that advantage is directly related to the fans.

Years ago, I read an excellent book called “Scorecasting”, which discussed hidden factors that affect sports. In one section, the book analyzed why home advantage exists, controlling for as many factors as possible. For instance, to test the theory that sleeping in their own beds is what helps players, they looked at the results of cross-town games. They found that even in games where both teams had slept in their own beds, the home team still won more often.

The book concluded that fans were responsible for a big part of home advantage, specifically by producing a psychological impact on the officials. Loud fans can swing a few calls the home team’s way, and that in turn can swing a few games. Neat!

Scorecasting” is a great book, and I recommend it if it sounds at all interesting to you. One person who should definitely give it a read is Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Jones was asked about the fairness of the Cowboys being allowed to have fans, when most other teams. Among his word salad of an answer, he said it was “absolutely fair”. As not just the aforementioned book, but real results in 2020 show, it obviously is not fair at all. Further, it’s preposterous to state otherwise.

An Obscenely Massive Box of Mozzarella Sticks

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

On a recent, rare emergence from my home, I stocked up on some essentials at Costco. While there, I spotted this abomination:

I did not purchase this box, because mozzarella sticks are not something a person should have in their own home. They are a delectable shared food, perfect for splitting with other people when out at a bar or restaurant. You don’t shovel down a large number of them, even though you want to. You eat two or three, and you wish you could have one more, but you’re also glad you didn’t. A near bottomless box in your own freezer? That’s madness.

Though I didn’t buy this bad idea, I did stop to take the above photograph, because I was very confused by the quantity. As you can see, the box contains “approximately 82-92 sticks”. I understand that the box is sold by weight (a mammoth five pounds), but still, why is there such a wide range of possible sticks in the box? These are man-made! Surely they can be dialed in to a fairly precise weight can get them to a specific weight. It’s also strange to give an 11 stick range, and then tack an “approximately” on there as well.

I wonder how long this box lasts the average purchaser. I think I’ve eaten 82-92 mozzarella sticks in the past…decade? And I like mozzarella sticks! Costco is, of course, about buying in bulk. But at least for me, a reasonable bulk quantity of mozzarella sticks would be about 10.

Upon examining the photograph later, I noticed two additional bits of strangeness. First is the declaration that the food is made with “100% Real Mozzarella String Cheese”. This got me wondering what the hell string cheese really is, and it turns out, it’s just mozzarella cheese. Also, the process for mass producing it is unappealing at best:

Cheese being extruded from metal tubes aside, the most inexplicable thing in this whole package of insanity is the text just above the initial quantity estimate which originally caught my eye. Have a look, and you’ll see that it reads “Serving Suggestion”. I’m at a complete loss as to what this means. I count nearly 25 sticks visible in this picture, with several more presumably hidden at the bottom of the mound. Surely that is not the serving size. Do they just mean “We suggest serving them on a plate”?

At least there’s no trans fats. It’s practically a health food.

“It’s Good” Is a Decent Slogan 

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

In what is clearly little more than a publicity stunt which is working very well, KFC has stated they won’t be using their “finger lickin’ good” slogan during our global pandemic.

O Captain, My Captain

Monday, August 24th, 2020

Recently, I saw Tom Hanks’s recent made for TV Apple TV+ movie “Greyhound”. In it, Hanks plays Commander Ernest Krause, captain of a World War II US Naval ship. By my count, it is the sixth time Hanks has played the role of captain. Let’s review, in reverse chronological order!

The Captaincies of Tom Hanks:

USS Keeling

Film: Greyhound [Link]
Year: 2020
Vessel Type: Fletcher-class destroyer
Note: Despite receiving second billing behind only Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Shue appears in the movie for just 153 seconds.


US Airways Flight 1549

Film: Sully [Link]
Year: 2016
Vessel Type: Airbus A320
Note: Two years after the release of “Sully” came a 2018 movie called “Tully”. I eagerly anticipate the 2020 release of “Uully”.


MV Maersk Alabama

Film: Captain Phillips [Link]
Year: 2013
Vessel Type: Container Ship
Note: I suppose it’s something of a spoiler, but partway through the film, Tom Hanks’s character is replaced as captain.


Army Captain

Film: Saving Private Ryan [Link]
Year: 1998
Vessel Type: N/A
Note: Rather than the captain of a vessel, in this film Hanks plays US Army Captain John H. Miller.


Odyssey

Film: Apollo 13 [Link]
Year: 1998
Vessel Type: Apollo Command and Service Module-109
Note: According to director Ron Howard, a comment card received after a test screening decried the “typical Hollywood” ending, stating that the crew would never have survived.


Jenny

Film: Forrest Gump [Link]
Year: 1994
Vessel Type: Shrimp Boat
Note: If Forrest Gump held onto his Apple stock from the ’70s, he’d be worth tens of billions of dollars in 2020.

This concludes our look at the captaincies of Tom Hanks. For another look at actor’s roles, see The Jacks of Tom Cruise.

Yuh-Hikes 

Friday, August 21st, 2020

We’ve seen “Cuties” inappropriately sexualized before, but it wasn’t anything as bad as this:

Yikes.