Archive for November, 2010

John Paul Stevens and Babe Ruth

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I missed 60 Minutes this week, but apparently Associate Justice of the Supreme Court John Paul Stevens was on, and talked about being a 12 year old at Game 3 of the 1932 World Series.

That’s the game where Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig hit back-to-back home runs, Ruth’s being the one that he supposedly called by pointing at center field before the pitch. With the grainy film comes debate.

For some people.

Not for Stevens.

Here’s an article that transcribes part of the interview: “John Paul Stevens was there and says Babe Ruth called his shot.”

Key quote:

Stevens: “He took the bat in his right hand and pointed it right at the center field stands and then, of course, the next pitch he hit a home run to center field. There’s no doubt about the fact that he did point before he hit the ball.”

Pelley: “So the called shot actually happened?”

Stevens: “There’s no doubt about that.”

Pelley: “That’s your ruling?”

Stevens: “That’s my ruling.”

Neat Story.

double-u, double-u, double-u

Monday, November 29th, 2010

This is from a few weeks ago, but I love word origins, here’s the etymology of the world wide web: “Web.”

TSA Screenings Illegal

Monday, November 29th, 2010

I haven’t talked much about my thoughts on the new Transportation Security Agency (TSA) screenings, but this Washington Post article pretty much sums it up: “Why the TSA pat-downs and body scans are unconstitutional.”

Key quote:

In a 2006 opinion for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, then-Judge Samuel Alito stressed that screening procedures must be both “minimally intrusive” and “effective” – in other words, they must be “well-tailored to protect personal privacy,” and they must deliver on their promise of discovering serious threats. Alito upheld the practices at an airport checkpoint where passengers were first screened with walk-through magnetometers and then, if they set off an alarm, with hand-held wands. He wrote that airport searches are reasonable if they escalate “in invasiveness only after a lower level of screening disclose[s] a reason to conduct a more probing search.”

While technically not in the Constitution, the Supreme Court has found interstate travel to be “a right so elementary was conceived from the beginning to be a necessary concomitant of the stronger Union the Constitution created. In any event, freedom to travel throughout the United States has long been recognized as a basic right under the Constitution.” (United States v. Guest (1966)

I can’t wait until someone tries this in court.

American Indians in Iceland

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Fascinating article in Time Magazine (or at the least on their website) today about how Leif Ericsson and pals probably took an Native American (or a Canadian First People) to Iceland: “More Proof That Vikings Were First to America.”

Key quotes:

Ten years ago, Agnar Helgason, a scientist at Iceland’s deCODE Genetics, began investigating the origin of the Icelandic population. Most of the people he tested carried genetic links to either Scandinavians or people from the British Isles. But a small group of Icelanders — roughly 350 in total — carried a lineage known as C1, usually seen only in Asians and Native Americans.

… all the people who carry the C1 lineage are descendants of one of four women alive around the year 1700. In all likelihood, those four descended from a single woman. And because archeological remains in what is Canada today suggest that the Vikings were in the Americas around the year 1000 before retreating into a period of global isolation, the best explanation for that errant lineage lies with an American Indian woman: one who was taken back to Iceland some 500 years before Columbus set sail for the New World in 1492.

I love this kind of stuff.

Spelling and the Internets

Friday, November 26th, 2010

At Thanksgiving dinner we talking about text messaging and the damages to proper spelling, and now I just saw this: “Chatrooms and social websites encourage bad spelling, says study.”

Determined among a survey of 18- to 24-year-old children “there is now a ‘general attitude’ that there is no need to correct mistakes or conform to regular spelling rules, it says. But this means that children who have been brought up with the internet do not question wrongly spelt words.”

(Don’t worry, the article is British, so “spelt” is properly spelled.)

I know that English is an always adapting language, which has helped make is so popular, but I do agree with this article. Kids today!

Fringe was in Maine

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

I’ve spoken in the past of the television show Fringe. It started out a 21st-century X-Files, but then it went all parallel universe and really came into its own.

Anyway, two weeks ago episode 6, titled “6955 kHz”, started out in Maine!

Here’s the Stockton Harbor intertitle, in the show’s 3D graphic style:

Fringe Episode 3x06 "6955 kHz"

Now, to be picky, Stockton Harbor is actually only a body of water; the land near the harbor would probably be Stockton Springs or maybe Searsport.

Anyway, we meet our intrepid lighthouse keeper, who I have named “Mr. Bad Accent”:

“You cahn’t get theyah from heeah …”

Then the lighthouse keeper turns on his MacBook and all hell breaks loose:

Just as we think he’s dead, he pops up; but something’s wrong. He’s all slack-jawed and confused, and thus we begin tonight’s episode …

I don’t want to make fun of Fringe, it’s a clever show, but I have a few squabbles with the portrayal of my state in the show.

First off, bad accent. Baaaaad. But that’s almost to be expected when Maine’s on film. The majority of the audience won’t even know it’s bad.

Besides, the next location for the episode was Chinatown, and I have no idea how their accents were. Probably laughable. But I don’t know!

Secondly, lighthousekeepers? Didn’t that go the way of dial-up internet years ago?

Thirdly, his outfit. Why does everyone think that Mainers wear knit hats and wool sweaters all of the time? I blame L.L. Bean. Outdoorsman bastards!

Overall, it was a so-so episode, borrowing heavily from its cousin Lost (seriously, a radio loop of pre-recorded numbers? You barely explained that shit in Lost!) But I like the ideas of The First People. Very Zecharia Sitchin-meets-fifth sun. I like.

Mount Washington TM

Friday, November 19th, 2010

This is the first I’ve heard of it, but apparently CNL Lifestyle Properties, the firm that owns the Mount Washington Hotel (as well as Sunday River and Sugarloaf) is trying to trademark the name “Mount Washington”.

Here’s the BusinessWeek blurb: “NH Mt. Washington Hotel owner amends trademark app.”

Seems like an (wait for it, wait for it) … uphill battle!

KFC Yum! Center

Friday, November 19th, 2010

I just heard the name of the new Louisville, Kentucky arena where the University of Louisville plays – “KFC Yum! Center“.


Yum! Brands, the owner and franchiser KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, was spun off from PepsiCo in the late 1990s and is apparently based in Louisville.

You might think the name is stupid, but originally it was “Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc.”

Happy Birthday, Mickey!

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Today’s Mickey Mouse’s birthday!

Rosa on Elections

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Rosa Scarcelli, my initial gubernatorial candidate, takes Eliot Cutler to town in her recent Bangor Daily News article: “Open primaries in case of democracy.”

Attacks on the long tradition of early and absentee voting in Maine ignore the fact that the popularity of absentee voting in gubernatorial elections has significantly increased voter turnout since at least 2002. This time around, more than 140,000 people voted early or absentee. Any move to eliminate the choice and convenience of this option will restrict voter participation, counter to the core principles of our democratic system.

So she wants non-party primaries. Which, granted, could also be seen as sour grapes; she lost the Democratic primary back in the spring.

Cutler in the WSJ

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Eliot Cutler sinks a little lower in my esteem after this Wall Street Journal Opinion piece today: “Who Stole Election Day?

Kind of sour grapes, especially after Down East confirmed Cutler has voted early often.

Hannah Teter’s Maple Blondie

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Ooh! Just saw that Ben & Jerry’s Hannah Teter’s Maple Blondie is back again!

“What is Hannah Teter’s Maple Blondie,” you might ask? It’s only maple ice cream with blonde brownie chunks and a maple caramel swirl – a/k/a the best ice cream ever invented.

Go scoop some up, for a limited time …

I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party …

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Really Apple? The big reveal today was just The Beatles coming to iTunes?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, they’re nice and all, but no “one more thing”? That’s it?

Hey, the Hajj!

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Wow, you move out of the Middle East and you totally stop hearing about it! Today’s the Hajj, Muslims’ annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

This would have been a big deal in Dubai, here’s it’s relegated to a photo or two on Yahoo! News. Weird.

$5 a Day

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Interesting blog post over at Harvard Business Review: “Time for a New Five-Dollar Day.”

The basic gist is we need a leader like Henry Ford who had the foresight to give his workers $5 a day so they could afford a Model T.

Key quote:

This is relevant now because we’re dealing with a new crisis in consumer demand. As many have pointed out, average pay in the United States has been stagnant or declining for decades. Consumers could keep buying because of cheap credit, mostly from rising housing prices, but now Americans have no more sources of easy money. From households to governments, everyone has big debts to pay off, so it’s going to be hard to emerge from the recession.

Everyone, that is, except companies. The flip side of stagnant worker pay has been above-average corporate profits. All the talk about highly competitive markets has hidden the fact that most companies have done quite well in the past two decades. Globalization may have heightened pressures in some industries, but it’s been far tougher on capital and especially labor. Companies that performed reasonably well — even if they didn’t move as fast as others in their industries — still thrived because financing and labor was cheap. Management was the relatively scarce resource, and executive pay has jumped accordingly.

Nice idea, but I think it’d be tough to convince companies to give up all of that profit.

More about Cooks Source

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Salon has picked up the Cooks Source Magazine story I was telling you about yesterday “Cooks Source: The Internet roasts a plagiarist“.

Here’s a clever how to article from PC World: “How Not to Piss Off the Internet“.

Cooks Source Magazine is Classy

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Wow, I just heard about this: “Copyright Infringement and Me“.

The basic gist is that Cooks Source Magazine stole a woman’s article and then their editor told her “the web is considered ‘public domain’” and it’s okay to steal.


Tron Toon

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Oooh, interesting: “Disney XD orders ‘Tron: Legacy’ toon“.

This show is “Tron: Uprising,” which is coming out in the summer of 2012. They’ve also picked up a 10-part “Tron” show for fall of 2011.

Daft Punk is Playing at My House

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Songs to download: “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3, “I See The Light” from Tangled, “Tron Score” from Tron: Legacy by Daft Punk and lastly, “Day & Night Score by Michael Giacchino.


Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Found an interesting statistic about the United State’s population and makeup yesterday on a blog: “Shifting Voter Demographics: America is a Different Country.”

In 1965 the nation was 89% white and 11% black, about the same as it had been during the previous century. Since then, high levels of Asian and Latin immigration have produced an America today which is 66% white and 33% “people of color,” a tripling of the minority population in only four decades. Remarkably, 10% of Americans are of Mexican descent and about 5% of the electorate speaks primarily Spanish.

They don’t cite their sources, but as soon as the 2010 Census results comes out, we’ll have more concrete facts …