Monday, March 26, 2007

Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?

I had heard just a little bit about this show but had never watched it. Then a few days ago, I caught just a brief little bit of it. When I had heard about it, I assumed it was the kind of obscure crap that you learn in fifth grade, but isn't important enough to remember, like the chief export of Brazil, or the capitals of Canadian provinces or something. However, during the time I watched, some obscenely stupid woman went from $150K in winnings up to $300K by answering how many months had 31 days. The saddest part about watching was her methods to get to that correct answer. She did the little rhyme to come up with 4 months with 30 days, then added on February to get to 5. Then she fucking counted on her fingers, saying "one from twelve is eleven, two from twelve is ten, three from twelve is nine, four from twelve is eight, five from twelve is seven." As sad as that is, at least she came up with the right answer.

Next, she had a chance to get a half a million dollars. If she missed the question, she would only get $25K. Or she could walk away with the $300K, but she had to say she wasn't as smart as a fifth grader or some bullshit. The question? "What continent is also a country?" I was prepared to forgive her for not immediately answering, thinking they had told her to string the drama out or something. But then she went back to her fingers. Why, I don't know. I guess she was counting the continents in her head for some reason. After some hemming and hawing, and chit chat with Jeff Foxworthy, who I can only assume was able to restrain himself from openly laughing at her only because he was getting paid for this, she decided to walk away. So, when Foxworthy asks what her answer would have been, I'm still hoping she will give the correct answer, and just is nervous on TV, and her head isn't clear enough to risk $275K for any reason. But then what she comes up with is "all of them." All of them. And some nonesense about how North America is a country, and the audience (thankfully) laughing at her. Then instead of looking suitably ashamed when given the correct answer, she instead seems to be giving herself credit for being smart enough to walk away.

I can only assume that either these two questions are not represenative of what is normally on this show, or that they make the contestants take some test to prove they are adequately stupid. Otherwise, this show would be giving away a million dollars everytime it airs. I wanted to stick around to the end to see how I could get on this show, but I had to go tell my wife about the stupidity I had just witnessed, and how it was rewarded with three hundred thousand dollars.

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Passover Coke

I remember Coke seemingly tasting better when I was a kid. Up until fairly recently, I figured it was just the glass bottles. Then I discovered that since around 1984 or so, they've been making it with corn syrup instead of sugar, which many people on the internets (always believe everything you read on the internets) swear is a million times better.

So, last week I was in Winn Dixie and saw some Coke which was advertised as kosher for Passover. Not knowing what the hell would make Coke kosher or not, I looked it up on the aformentioned internets and apparently the Passover Coke is sweetened with sucrose, instead of corn syrup. So it's supposed to be more like the good stuff, though still not as good as Mexican Coke, which uses cane sugar (again according to the internets). So I bought some (it has a yellow cap), and I'll see how it tastes when I get home. If it really does taste better, then I'm going to be pretty pissed at Coke for using corn syrup all this time.

UPDATE: The verdict is in. Not much difference. If anything, it's slightly worse, flatter. Unless I got a bad batch or something, I'm unimpressed. Still look forward to trying the Mexican Coke with real sugar sometime.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Now you can see the coolest book ever...for FREE

Over on Flickr there's a copy of the Codex Seraphinianus, which is fascinating if you've never been able to find a copy. The illustrations are at once beautiful,amazing and disturbing. The Wikipedia article gives a pretty thorough explanation of the history as well as the mystery around this fairly recent piece of artwork.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Wicked - review

We're ending our 3rd day in London which means we're halfway done with our trip :(. But we're having a great time. I plan to do a Toast-like travelogue, but until then, I want to put up a quick review of Wicked while it's fresh in my mind.

I had heard the Broadway cast recording of this show, so going in I knew some of what to expect. I thought I would enjoy it, but I wasn't sure how much, as the music was pretty good, but hadn't grabbed me like say, LesMis did when I first heard it.

We got to the theatre which is right outside Victoria station in downtown London. I love the giant signs they put up for these shows. It really builds up the atmosphere, not to mention the throngs of people everywhere. London is a bustling place, especially at night.

The staging was great, as you would expect from a London or a Broadway show. The dragon was a nice, if unnecessary touch, and the stairs along the sides let the characters move around nicely. The style with the cogs and gears seemed to fit right in. The crowning moment was just before intermission when Elphaba (the wicked witch) rises up above everyone and is surrounded by her dress, which has expanded to fill the entire stage behind everyone.

I knew some of the story going in from the cast recording, but not all. Unlike some of the sung-through musicals, you don't get everything from the songs alone. I thought the book for the musical was very well-done. For this musical to be successful, you really have to believe in the characters and come to care about them. I thought they did a good job outlining the two main characters Galinda (Glinda) and Elphaba, and showing at a realistic pace how they change after they meet each other. Likewise with Fiyero, who changes quite a bit after he's first introduced. Once Elphaba finished "The Wizard and I", which is early in the first act, I was completely captivated.

All of the cast were outstanding. I believe we did see the main performers, Helen Dallimore as Glinda and Kerry Ellis as Elphaba. Helen Dallimore did a great job with her part. Of course, I had heard Kristen Chenoweth from the OBC as Glinda, and she has a great, strong voice. Helen Dallimore's wasn't quite as strong, but she made me forget about Kristen Chenoweth anyway. Glinda's part isn't the easiest, I don't think, as she has to be both shallow and lovable at the same time. Kerry Ellis was spectacular. Her big songs "The Wizard and I", "Defying Gravity", and "No Good Deed" gave me chills. Songs that I had heard on the CD and kind of liked really knocked me over here. It reminds me why I love live theatre so much. The rest of the cast shone as well. The Wizard and Madame Morrible were both in great form musically and in their characterization.

To use the Toast movie scale, I would say I had expected a 7, and actually got a 9. The whole family really enjoyed it. And it's a good thing too, considering we spent over 100 pounds plus the tickets after all was said and done. But it was well worth it. I would do it again tomorrow if I could get Michelline to go along.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

McCain Regrets Use of Term 'Tar Baby'

John McCain is a fucking douchebag, who I can't stand for a number of reasons, but this is a ridiculous thing for people to be upset about. However, instead of talking about it, I'll just link to my post after Mitt Romney used the word, since we've been down this road before.

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NCAA Tournament

I know this is late, but I've been sick so I haven't had a chance to post it yet. But here is my bracket, where you can clearly see that I haven't cheated at all getting it up this late. It's also clearly biased with Georgetown winning it all, but fuck it, they haven't been in a position where I could legitimately make that pick for a while, so I'm going with it.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to say something about all the people I've seen recently detailing their different records in different pools. Pick one bracket and stick with it, it's way more fun that way. Where's the exceitement if you need one team to win in one pool, and another team in a different pool, and can never really decide who to root for? Half the fun of getting in a pool and picking a bracket is giving you a clear interest in each game, so I don't understand you people with the multiple brackets.

Also, it's come to my attention that my brother picked Duke to win it all, so feel free to use this space to make fun of him.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Customer service and faith clash at registers

Well, I guess it's nice to see that being an unreasonable idiot isn't reserved for pharmacists. Also, I'd be interested to see how many people who thought it was perefectly ok for pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions because of their religous beliefs complain when someone refuses to scan their bacon at the grocery store. I think all these Muslim cashiers should be required to get their prescriptions filled at pharmacies staffed by lunatic Christians, and those Christian pharmacists should have to shop at grocery stores with crazy Muslim cashiers. Maybe then, as each complains that the other shouldn't take a job that they can't do completely, a light bulb will go on. Probably not, but it's possible.

Anyway, the most ridiculous thing about this story to me is, who the fuck doesn't like bacon? If your religion doesn't let you eat bacon, it's time to find a new religion.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Hooray for daylight savings time!

No, I'm not being ironic.

It seems like a popular position to bitch about DST, and I'm not sure why. What's not to like about extra light in the evening? I leave work most days between 4 and 5. During the winter, that means it's already dark by the time I get home. Which means none of us can do anything outside. I would just as soon can standard time altogether and go DST year-round.

Take today, for example. I got home at about 6. I had to finish building a fence in the backyard. Prior to the DST switch , I would have had less than an hour to get it done. With the extra hour, I had plenty of daylight to finish up.

Keep the extra daylight coming, I say.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Kroger responds to denied 'morning after' pill request

This is good. At least it's a better policy than some other chains which don't seem to care one way or the other. But I wish they would just drop this sort of crap -

The Cincinnati-based grocery chain said if its pharmacists object to fulfilling a request, the store must "make accommodations to have that prescription filled for our customer."
and say if its pharmacists object to fulfilling a request, they can damn well find themselves another job.

Do health insurance companies allow claims examiners to deny covered claims relating to abortions? Do convenience stores allow clerks to deny the sale of adult magazines? Fuck no. They do that and get fired. So why are the pharmacists treated differently? Make them do their jobs.

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Study: No need to ban cell phones in hospitals -

No shit. I thought this quote was kind of odd - Most hospitals forbid the use of cell phones. Actually, in my experience, most hospitals have signs forbidding the use of cell phones, but that's about as far as it goes. Last time I was at the hospital, the doctors were whipping out their cell phones left and right. If it really, truly caused problems, they would make you check them at the door, like they do at Social Security offices (don't get me started on that stupid policy either).

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hey NBC - You Suck!

I'll completely ignore the fact that Heroes isn't coming back until the end of fucking April, only because it's such a great show. No, I'm talking about the much hyped extra HD Spider-Man 3 trailer you were going to show me if I went to in the next 24 hours. Well, I went, to be told I had to download Quicktime (which sucks), then to have it tell me it would take 8 minutes or so. This is way too long for 200 something MB anyway, but then to have absolutely no indication of how much progress is being made in the download is ridiculous. Why not just let me download the file, anyway? Why does it have to be streaming? Afraid I'm going to make the Spidr-Man trailer available to others who might just (gasp) go see the movie? Anyway, so I trust this thing for 12 minutes (not 8), only to have it tell me that Quicktime is missing something or other which it needs but can't find on the Quicktime website. Wel, since I had no quicktime before, and followed the instructions completely, you'd think that it might have given me everything I needed. You might think that. Anyway, so I wasted 15 minutes or so, and saw no special HD Spider-Man trailer, which pisses me off, since I should have been asleep by now.

So anyway, NBC, you suck. I had heard that 30 Rock was pretty funny, and I had planned to start watching, but now, in protest, I will not. Also, I quit watching The Apprentice this season, so fuck you NBC.

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