Thursday, February 26, 2009

Loh on Class

Sandra Tsing Loh writes about class stratification in America, defined less by wealth or birth but by taste. Personally I feel somewhere between the young urban hipoisie and the Joe Biden/Elliot Stabler working-class Catholics.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Car of the Future?

They say that this all-electric, all-futuristic Aptera 2e will be ready to deliver by October of this year.Check out video of a test drive here.

Aigghhh! My eyes!

Barbara Bush chair, by Phillip Grace,
Washington, DC, ca. 1992

Gift to Barbara Bush from Mr. Grace
Painted wood,
52 1/2 x 26 x 25 inches

As First Lady, Barbara Bush championed causes such as literacy and aid to the homeless. Mr. Grace made this chair for her in appreciation of her good works for the country.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bass piano?

So, a bass guitar is pretty much just like a guitar, strung to play lower notes. Can someone more musically knowledgeable than I am explain why nobody's ever made a bass piano full of really long, thick strings? I would love to see (and hear) a giant bass piano.

UPDATE: My brother-in-law informs me that Bösendorfer does, in fact, make a piano with four extra lower keys.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Strange Maps

Nope, not the Strange Maps blog. This time, I present to you a very strange version of the song "Maps," mostly performed by somebody named Rocco Privetera instead of by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

More: Though they could have used better singers, this live performance of The Wall at a club in NYC is pretty impressive, particularly the lead guitarist.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Lincoln and Darwin

I knew that today was Abraham Lincoln's bicentennial, and also knew that Charles Darwin's 200th birthday was coming up, but I didn't realize until today that both men were born on the same day 200 years ago. I haven't rigorously checked all possible other dates, but considering that the biggest pair of twins I can think of doesn't really come close, that's got to be the biggest one-two punch of famous people born the same day of the same year.

This guy did some research and came to a similar conclusion; the one that strikes my fancy the most is George W. Bush and Sylvester Stallone on July 6, 1946. He also came up with some interesting coincidental death dates, although this discussion points out that Shakespeare and Cervantes didn't actually die on the same day --- Cervantes died on April 23, 1616 of the Gregorian calendar (which we use today), while Shakespeare died ten days later on April 23, 1616 of the Julian calendar, which England still used at the time.

The same discussion also brings up pairs of people who died on the same day non-coincidentally, such as Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett on March 6, 1836 at the Battle of the Alamo.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Concepts in Competitive Eating

I really have no interest in competitive eating, but I have been watching some of the Travel Channel's "Man v. Food" lately and have a few ideas to freshen up the old formula of trying to cram as much food as possible into your belly in 15 minutes, or an hour, or whatever.1. Instead of seeing how many hot dogs you can eat in an hour, how about seeing how many hot dogs you can eat in a month? I would imagine this sort of "long distance" competitive eating would have a different set of techniques involved than the traditional "sprint" competition. The sprint is all about cramming things into your throat, but the month-long competition asks the question, "just how many hot dogs do you really want to eat?"

It goes without saying, of course, that this would also be really unhealthy, like "Super Size Me," only shooting for quantity as well. I'm trying to imagine who would participate... you'd have to be really bored, like maybe under house arrest or something.

2. If gorging yourself isn't your bag of tea, how about just an open-ended "consecutive" eating contest? The way this would work is that the winner would not be determined by the number of hot dogs eaten, but just how long one can go eating no food other than hot dogs. I suppose you could use lemonade to wash it down.

Obviously, this is unhealthy, also. How long would people go? A week? A month?

3. A variant on #2 above, how about instead of exclusively eating hot dogs, what about just requiring the consumption of at least one hot dog at each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and then just seeing how long the competitors can do that.

This one wouldn't be all that unhealthy, at least compared to the typical American diet. This test would be more mental than anything else... I can imagine at some point you'd get sick to death of hot dogs, but if you held on through that phase, eventually you'd reach the level where you don't even notice you're eating hot dogs anymore. It'd be like breathing air or drinking water. This competition could go on for years.

Once again, I should note that I have no intention of trying any of these things. I'm just sharing the ideas that pop into my head.

Monday, February 09, 2009


This Yahoo! Finance list (or maybe it's from U.S. News and World Report) of 15 companies that might not survive 2009 is pretty sobering, although I don't have any kind of knowledge on how accurate this list might or might not be. I do notice that they don't list Yahoo! itself; I know they've been making cuts themselves. And I'm glad we cashed in those free rental days from Thrifty Car Rental in Anchorage last year.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Mugshot Fail

From FAIL blog, this is both tragic and funny:

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Well, this is odd.

Here's a blog by a guy claiming to be the rightful emperor of China. Not a descendant of the Manchurian Qing Dynasty that ruled until 1912, but the much earlier Zhou Dynasty. For some reason, he also claims to be Hebrew. I don't get it.