Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Easy Day

Eli 13.11 and I work out in the upstairs section of a hockey rink. It's a dedicated workout area, and that's where we do the workout I described a few weeks ago.

I do 1/3 of what he does. Seriously. And I'm sore the next day.

Eli had been sick for a couple of days last week, and when we go to the rink, I expected him to go at less than full speed. Told him that, even. I figured we'd go at about 80%, have a nice dinner after, and go home.

He was warming up when an AHL player we know (who is the nicest, most courteous guy on the planet) walked upstairs.

Eli looked at me and got a huge smile on his face.

This fellow used to play for the Texas Stars, then signed with another organization last summer, but still comes to Austin to do his offseason work. We've seen him work out before, and he works hard. HARD.

So even though Eli had been sick, it was clear that this was going to be no 80% workout.

After skipping rope, I stretched out the tape measure for the standing broad jump, which is one of the favorite things we do now. Three jumps.

On my second jump, I jumped 7'2". Boom (for me, anyway, as an old man).

Eli threw down this sequence:

Utterly ridiculous. I think Eli was jumping with the hope that he was being watched. He wasn't, but what an incentive--having an AHL guy working out within thirty feet of you.

Here's one of the super not-normal things he does: one-legged squats on a balance ball.

In other recent news, he may be training with the trainers who will forever be known as the "Oh, SHIT!" guys. It seems like a good fit.

They did an "evaluation" workout yesterday. Vertical leap measured at 27" (that was after he worked out--I'm guessing it's a little better than that when he's fresh). He jumped onto a 42" high platform from a standing start.

Plus, they interviewed him.

One of the trainers/coaches asked "What is your goal? What is your true goal?"

Eli said, "I want to be the best goalie and the best person that I can be."

Good answer.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Well, Hell: Contest Won In Record Time, Story Attached

Jaby Jacob let me know that the quote is, indeed, on Google. Of course it's on Google.

Jaby wins the contest, since he was the first to e-mail, and here's the story. I've taken this from Fordlandia, Greg Gandin's brilliant investigation into Henry Ford's Fitzcarraldo-esque attempt to build a rubber plantation and "American civilization" in the Brazilian rainforest.

It's a brilliant book, both for the main river of content and all the little tributaries that pop up. The most interesting, to me, concerns Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian who was instrumental in development of both the dirigible and the airplane.

Here's the story, and it's haunting:
Villares probably didn't welcome the scandal’s publicity. Yet for the nephew of Alberto Santos-Dumont, who Brazilians insist was robbed of the credit for inventing the airplane, there were worse fates than to be known as the man who bested Ford. Claiming to be suffering a nervous breakdown, Villares, induced by “threats, together with the payment of a sum of money”— both courtesy of Governor Bentes— boarded a steamer headed for France to retrieve his aviator uncle, who really had suffered an emotional collapse. 

The disappointment of Alberto Santos-Dumont’s life was not that he didn’t get credit for inventing flight, though he did resent that the Wright brothers won all the acclaim. His real heartbreak was that he lived long enough to see the machine he helped develop be used as an instrument of death. Santos-Dumont wasn’t an ideological pacifist like Henry Ford, but he did hope that airplanes would knit humanity closer together in a new peaceful community, just as Ford had believed that his car, along with other modern machinery, could bring about a warless world and a global “parliament of man.” Both were of course proven wrong by World War I, which broke the conceit of many like Ford and Santos-Dumont that technology alone would usher in a new, higher stage of civilization. “I use a knife to slice gruyere,” Santos-Dumont said when war broke out in Europe, “but it can also be used to stab someone. I was a fool to be thinking only of the cheese.” 

Ford dealt erratically with the fact that, after all his high-handed opposition to World War I, he turned his factories over to war production. He continued to speak out provocatively against war, maintaining his position that soldiers were murderers and quoting Tennyson’s “Locksley Hall” to the end of his days. Yet Ford’s faith in America as a revitalizing force in the world led him to say that he would support another war to do away with militarism. “I want the United States to clean it all up,” he said. No wonder the Topeka Daily Capital said that Ford put the “fist in pacifist.” 

Santos-Dumont, in contrast, was crippled by just his mere association to a machine that was used for mass murder. He held himself “personally responsible for every fatality” caused by his “babies,” that is, airplanes. “He now believes that he is more infamous than the devil,” commented a friend. “A feeling of repentance invades him and leaves him in a flood of tears.” 

After the war he vainly called on governments and the League of Nations to “demilitarize’ the airplane (a call that the surviving Wright brother, Orville, didn’t support. Orville invoked a different kind of technological utopianism, insisting instead that the plane itself “has made war so terrible that I do not believe any country will again care to start a war”). But the slaughter continued, and death from above became a constitutive fact of modern life. Britain, for instance, encouraged by Minister of War and Air Winston Churchill, regularly bombed and strafed Arabs as a way of maintaining cost-effective control over its colonies. And on July 16, 1927, just a week after Ide and Blakeley arrived in Belém, US marines in Nicaragua staged their first dive-bombing campaign, against the rebel Augusto Sandino. Marine pilots descended to three hundred feet to fire four thousand rounds of ammunition and drop twenty-seven bombs on anything that moved. Hundreds were killed in the slaughter. 

Throughout the 1920s, Santos-Dumont found himself checking in and out of various European sanatoriums, refusing to eat and losing weight. Death seemed to pursue him. Persuaded by his nephew Jorge to return to Brazil, Santos-Dumont arrived home a hero. A dozen of Brazil’s leading politicians, intellectuals, and engineers boarded the Santos-Dumont, a bimotored seaplane, to meet the steamship that carried the flyer and his nephew as it entered Rio’s harbor. But celebration turned to tragedy when one of the plane’s motors exploded, plunging its passengers and crew members to their deaths and Santos-Dumont deeper into depression. When the ship landed at the quay, the aviator was “greeted with profound silence by the multitude.” 

And the killing continued. War broke out in early 1932 between Bolivia and Paraguay over a stretch of worthless, hellishly hot scrubland thought to hold oil. It was a fully mechanized slaughter, with both sides borrowing copious amounts of money from foreign banks and petroleum companies to purchase tanks and planes. By the time it was over, more than a hundred thousand Bolivians and Paraguayans were dead. That same year, after witnessing the aerial bombing of his beloved city of São Paulo by federal forces putting down a regional revolt, Santos-Dumont committed suicide. Having sent his nephew Jorge out on an errand, he spoke his last words to an elevator operator as he returned to his room to hang himself: “What have I done?” 


Google has ruined obscure knowledge contests, obviously.

However, after not having one for years, though, I have a quote that isn't found in Google.

This quote is from a man who surely had one of the most poignant lives in history, filled with brilliance, pain, and tragedy.

Here's the quote: "I was a fool to be thinking only of the cheese."

Who said it?

Oh, and don't bother with wild guesses. I 100% guarantee you will be incorrect.

What's the prize? $25 in Steam games of your choice.

I'll put up the answer tonight, if anyone has answered correctly. And I'll tell you the story, too, which--as I said--is poignant and terribly sad.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Links!

Sorry, a little light this week, but there's some good stuff here.

Opening up, this is audacious and spectacular: In pictures: 3D art in China's rice paddy fields.

From Sirius, and this is fantastic: Smithsonian Digitizes & Lets You Download 40,000 Works of Asian and American Art.

From DQ Reader My Wife, and man, this is incredibly useful: How to never have a serious poison ivy rash again. Also, and you cannot watch this video without laughing, it's When you're having a bad day... then your jam comes on.

From 3Suns, and this is amazing: What the abandoned Silverdome looks like 13 years after the Detroit Lions left. Also, and this is a terrific arrangement: Miguel Rivera - Beat It (Michael Jackson) - Solo guitar. Also, and this is hilarious, it's Meanwhile I can't even stretch correctly.

From C. Lee, and these are amazing images: The American civil war then and now.

From Jim Bradley, and I rode yesterday, so I can really appreciate the skill here: Unicycle Hockey.

From The Edwin Garcia Links Machine, and this is INSANE: Isle of Man TT Sidecar Race Compilation. Also, and this is outstanding, it's Big Pun Bird. Also, and this is a fascinating presentation of data: The Arrogance of Space - Paris, Calgary, Tokyo.

Well, this is certainly something: Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood?

Thursday, June 25, 2015


The same lady has been cutting my hair for almost 30 years.

She's also been cutting the hair of the husband of one of Gloria's best friends for that long. I always get updates about what's going on with them from the haircutter, and I assume she gives him the same updates about us.

Today, we actually ran across each other.

He'd just gotten his hair cut, and I was next. It was great to see him.

"Hey, I saw Bert today," I said when I got home.

"What?" Gloria asked. "Getting his hair cut?"

"Yep," I said. "I was right after him."

"How long did you talk?" she asked.

"Fifteen minutes," I said. "I'm comfortable with one minute for every year I haven't seen someone, and I hadn't seen him in fifteen years." Eli 13.10 started laughing. "With some people, I'm comfortable pushing that to ninety seconds per year," I said.

A Nice Guy Moment

Good friends of ours moved to Chicago a few weeks ago, and last week, they were at O'Hare Airport.

So was Jonathan Toews, Captain of the Chicago Blackhawks and fresh off winning another Stanley Cup.

He took a picture with them.

That may not seem like much, but I think hockey players do it more often than players in any other team sport. And it was awesome.

Sorry, I'm not posting the picture for privacy reasons, but I've seen it, and everyone (including Toews) has a huge smile on their face.

Oh, and here's the funny part: Eli's friend, who is a few months younger than Eli and absolutely huge, is as tall as Toews. He even looks slightly taller in the picture.

He's also a goalie, and there must be something in the water down here, because he's 6'1", there's another goalie who is 14 and 6'0", and Eli is 5'9" and growing like crazy.

This is abnormal.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Mutability of Music (more of your e-mail)

From Daniel:
Michael's response was an interesting angle, and I'd like to expand upon it.

I think his concept of "performance" is incomplete.  I think all forms of art include "covers".

The success of the Da Vinci Code launched a wave of "covers".  Bookshelves were filled with novels about a smart professor-type who stumbles across an age-old mystery solved by re-examining real legends and historical artifacts.  (National Treasure is basically a film cover of the Da Vinci Code).

The success of Harry Potter launched a wave of "chosen kid discovers secret world hidden in the real world where he has special powers".  Percy Jackson is probably one of the most notable.

New Sherlock Holmes books are still being written, so are new James Bond novels.

All that said, there is an interesting challenge when understanding the concept of a cover.

How do you view the cover of a song like Jonathan Coulton's "Baby Got Back", where he takes the words but otherwise completely re-invents the song?  

And how does that compare to The Shakespeare Manuscript, which is literally a paint-by-numbers copy of the Da Vinci Code (lost secret, cover-up, clues hidden in artifacts, race to discover the truth, 'shocking' betrayal of major character)?

Is the art the principles underlying it?  Or the execution?  Is there much difference between Dave Matthews selling 50 CDs of different recordings of the same damn songs and Dan Brown selling 4 books that all follow the exact same plot? (I'm really being hard on poor Mr. Brown here, but the example stands).

This brings something to mind that I hadn't thought of originally: the accessibility of mutability.

Mutability is easier to explore in music because it's song-focused. An interesting cover of an existing song is probably 3-5 minutes in length. A book, though, is a many-hour investment of time. So mutability is certainly more accessible in music, which may have influenced my perception of its frequency.

There are occasionally full album tributes, though. Dub Side of the Moon is pretty fantastic as a reggae tribute to Dark Side of the Moon (you can listen to it here), and my favorite version of Holst's The Planets is Tomita's electronic version. They just take a huge amount of time to create.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


From Chris, who saw this in a Reddit thread:
Thailand. They put water soluble paint on the bottom of the jet skis the tourists hire. It looks fine when you pick it up but then the paint comes off when your using it revealingly a bunch of scratches on the hull. When you return it they point to all the scratches, say you must have run over something, and keep your deposit.

The bottom gets painted again and they wait for the next sucker.

Different country, but that sounds exactly the same.

I don't think that's indicative of most people in Thailand (or anywhere else), but there are people everywhere who will seek every advantage, legal or not.


One of my buddies took his family on a vacation to St. John this week as a graduation present for his daughter (who is an absolutely great kid).

St. John, in case you didn't know, is a small island just east of Puerto Rico, and one of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"It's like paradise," he said, the day they got there.

This morning, he called.

"Do you know any good personal injury lawyers?" he asked.

Here's what happened. They boarded a ferry that eventually ran onto a reef. He was asleep in his car, and his knees got slammed badly enough that he's only able to walk with quite a bit pain. His wife was cut in several places, and it was awful all around. Now the lawyers for the ferry company are hounding him about signing a release, which he is clearly not stupid enough to do.

Wait, there's more.

Yesterday, his daughter and her boyfriend took out some rented kayaks, came back after several hours, and the the person operating the shop tried to charge them an outrageous amount of money for "scratches" on the bottom of the kayak.

"Why the hell would anybody care if the bottom of a kayak is scratched?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said.

"If they want to pull that crap," I said, "then they should take a picture of the bottom of the kayaks before they rent them. That sounds one hundred percent sketchy."

"I didn't pay it," he said. "The kids swore they never ran over anything, and they never showed us the bottoms before they rented them. But I got into a hell of a shouting match with the owner."

"I'm glad you found a relaxing place to take vacation," I said.

"I've had enough of paradise," he said.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Penny Arcade captured the essence of Shenmue perfectly today: You Had To Be There.

Father's Day

As many of you know, I have an unshakable routine that I follow every morning.

No matter what else might be happening, I swing by P. Terry's for a big piece of banana bread and a Diet Coke. And I sit there for half an hour, at least, reading or checking the Internet for morning news.

This has gone on for a few years. Every morning, if I'm in town, I'll go do this. It's very calming, and it helps me settle in for the day.

Because I go every day, I know everyone who works at P. Terry's. I know who's going to college, who has kids, the kind of music people like. They know that Eli plays hockey.

It's nice.

So for Father's Day, Gloria and Eli 13.10 agreed to eat at P. Terry's with me for breakfast. Eli's never gone with me before.

I walked in. "BILL!" someone said. Eli laughed.

We placed our order and sat down. "The lady who took our order likes rap music," I said. "That's who I talk to about Fetty Wap and Young Thug."

Eli laughed again, harder this time. "How do you know all this?" he said.

"I ask questions," I said. "And I listen."

Then the manager came out from around the back. "Bill! Happy Father's Day!" she said.

"Thanks!" I said. I waited a few beats. "She just changed her hair," I said.

Eli almost did a spit take.


I should have posted about this last week, but Juneteenth is the oldest commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, and it was celebrated last weekend. Here's a description:
Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.

If you're interested, here's a primary Juneteenth website.

I assume that all of you have--by now--heard and read about the massacre at the South Carolina church last.

What you may not know, particularly if you're not American, is the incredible, reprehensible nature of the debate that has followed. It's nauseating how many people have contorted themselves into logic pretzels arguing that this isn't about racism (because racism doesn't exist in the U.S. anymore, remember?) or guns (because it's never about guns, right?).

I know I don't usually right about anything even remotely political--we all prefer it that way--but this has broken my back. What a sad, disturbing time for this country.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

U.S. Open

The last round lasted so long I needed a meal plan.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Links!

From Sirius, and this is amazing: Absurd Creature Of The Week: This Bug is Big as a Gerbil. Fortunately It Loves Carrots.

From Cody, and this is such a great story: NHL Star P.K. Subban Joined A Street Hockey Game, Got Stopped By An 8 Year-Old.

From Craig, and these are amazing images: Workers discover preserved writings, drawings on slate blackboards at OKC high school.

From Shane Courtrille, and this is terrific: If I Knew Then: Advice on careers, finance, and life from Harvard Business School's Class of 1963.

From The Edwin Garcia Links Machine, and this is a wonderful gift for a wedding: Rolando's Wedding Song. One more, and it's a brilliant mash-up: Bloodsport Mentos Commercial.

From Steven Kreuch, and this is a long, fantastic article: What Is Code?

This is a fascinating article: Where Have You Gone, Secretariat?

Yes, I'm a sucker for cute animal links: 22 Before-And-After Photos Of Pets Growing Up With Their Favorite Toys.

From J. R. Parnell, and this is such a great story: When a little boy lost his stuffed tiger at the airport, airport staff took him on an awesome adventure.

From C. Lee, and this is just awesome: This cat and old guy pair go motorcycling together, are incredibly adorable.

From Hennie van Loggerenberg, and this is highly useful: The Best And Worst Airlines, Airports And Flights, Summer 2015 Update.

From Jeff Fowler, and this is slow loading, but amazing: Abandoned Soviet Shuttles.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Eli 13.10 In Net

It's been quite a while (years, I guess) since I actually showed you video of Eli 13.10 playing in goal.

I'm very crappy about taking video, because it takes me out of watching, and it never seems to be quite the right time to take it, etc.

Last weekend, though, for once, I finally took some video of him during a drill.

Here's the setup. The three kids shooting are from 15-17 years of age. The kid in yellow (who is a great kid, and the other two shooters are as well) is huge, as you can see, and he shoots with the power of an adult.

Here's how the drill works: one of the three shooters takes a shot, then the other two rush the net. In other words, if you give up a rebound in this drill, you get killed.

This video shows Eli doing almost everything: stick saves (directed to corners), blocker saves (directed to corner), glove saves, you name it.

The objective of a goalie during a game is not just to make saves. Their high-level objective is to make "safe" saves: catch, corner, or cover. A glove save is a catch, or the puck can be directed into a corner (no shots possible from there), or cover or trap the puck for a face-off.

Here's the video, and it will be more fun to watch if you enlarge it to full-screen size. It's easier to see the shot speed that way.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Mutability of Music (your e-mail)

Michael sent a beautifully crafted and thoughtful response to my post last week about the mutability of music, and he graciously agreed to allow me to share it with you.

I hope you’ll indulge a ramble.  Your post “On the Mutability of Music” sent me down some paths and I’ve got, I think, a bit of an angle to consider it by.

So, the difference between an art like music and an art like literature, and why one thrives and grows with variations on the same work and the other doesn’t, or hasn’t: Hemingway talked about the distinction in “Death in the Afternoon,” where he makes a case for bullfighting as art (something that seventy years on is so morally untenable as to hit the ear wrong).  He references the permanent arts and compares them to the impermanent, the arts of record to the arts of experience.

Our modern arts are all, by dint of a breadth of technology that makes every experience recordable in some fashion, a combination of the two.  Music is obviously recorded, and has been in some form or another for centuries .  And we have, as you pointed out, Shakespeare’s folio.  So music and theater are both, obviously and in a way, recorded.  They are permanent.  But they are also directly experienced by the senses, and so are in a way impermanent.

And distilling down to the essences, I would suppose that the real difference of variations-on-a-work between an art like music and an art like literature is the media involved--specifically when performers, people, are part of the medium.  It's people that deliver music into my head.  They may read from pages, permanently recorded pages, but they create an experience and deliver that experience to me.  Literature comes into my head from the code on the page; there’s no one else between me and it.

No one’s interested in “covering” Michelangelo’s “David.”  People replicate it, sure, and there are plenty lifelike Adonises.  But if “David” were a piece of choreography we’d have a thousand versions by now.

Films are remade all the time.  How many Tarzans do we have?  How many Herculeses?  There are THREE versions of “The Omega Man” on film.  “The Departed” is “Infernal Affairs” and the US made an “Old Boy” only ten years after the original.  Film is performance.  Film is people putting the art into our senses through their expression.  So film is covered, remade, and we’re (mostly, because Jesus, Hollywood) fine with it.

So I have to think that if we still listened to storytellers instead of reading from the page ourselves, we could have multiple versions of popular works and love them all.

Maybe having performers as part of the medium keeps the audience from taking full ownership of the work, makes the consumption of the art something more akin to relationship.  I'm not interested in copies of things I own.  But strangers who remind me of friends, that'll pique me.


Coincidence? I don't think so.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Not anywhere near as exciting as it was in the old days, but E3 is still interesting. Here's a brief recap of Microsoft/Sony press conferences, using the same format as last year.

New Keiji Inafune IP (not this year)
**backwards compatibility with 360 (limited)**
New Elite $150 controller
Titanfall on EA Access
The Division (not this year)
Gigantic ("team action game", this year)
Indie (Goat Sim, Superhot, Ark, Cuphead, Tacoma, Ashen, Beyond Eyes)
Early Access
Dean Hall new IP (Ion, space game, not this year)
Rare Collection
Sea of Thieves (new Rare IP, not this year)
Valve and Oculus VR
Minecraft on Hololens

In brief:
--backwards compatibility with the 360 is fantastic, if they support it. If you have the original game disc, inserting it into the Xbox One will trigger a download of the compatible version. The only catch is that while they're claiming 100 games "to start", the list they put out only had about a dozen games.

This is a significant point of distinction from the PS4 (where you have to pay for the download) if they choose to focus on it.
--strong assortment of indie games.
--Sea of Thieves (new Rare IP) looks terrific.
--apparently, Microsoft has totally abandoned Kinect and is now focusing on Hololens and working with Oculus and Valve. While it's frustrating to see companies abandoning technology they spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing to convince you to buy it in the first place, Hololens does look much more promising. The Minecraft demo for Hololens  was staggering.
--Crackdown 3 was not mentioned. Boo.

The Last Guardian (not this year, but in 2016)
Horizon: Zero Dawn (open world RPG, not this year)
No Man's Sky (no release date)
Dreams (Media Molecule's new game, not this year)
Firewatch (indie, no release date)
Final Fantasy 7 remake
Shenmue 3 Kickstarter
Morpheus (no release date, no price)

In brief:
--a strong collection of games (very strong, at least for my tastes), but none of the new IP they mentioned is coming out this year. That's painful.
--the Shenmue kickstarter needed $2 million to be funded. It's about to hit $2.5 million in less than 24 hours. It's going to get $10 million+ easily, and maybe much, much more. It's been so long that many people don't even know what the Shenmue games were and why they were important, but for anyone even vaguely old-school, this might be the biggest announcement of E3.

Believe it or not, both of these presentations were stronger than last year's--at least, what I remember from last year.

Monday, June 15, 2015

True Stories

This is from DQ Fitness Advisor Doug Walsh, in response to the picture of the gigantic 64 oz. soda cup last week.

I was in a convenience store in the Dallas area (Plano). I had just gone running. It was early Sunday morning and I was going to be headed to Gearbox after a quick shower. The guy in front of me has this massive 64oz bucket-with-a-handle travel mug of soda. I watched him fill this thing with Coca-Cola, a few ice cubes, and a splash of Orange soda on top. Not a bad combo, if I do say so myself. 

Anyway, he gets to the cashier and she says, "Is that going to be it for you today?" To which he replies, "Yeah, this is all. I tend to get thirsty in church."

I will never forget this moment for as long as I live.

The Eagle Has Landed

Eli 13.10 was in a local goalie camp this weekend.

It's the first time there's been a local goalie camp, and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. Plus, in addition to on-ice work, they went to a local training facility for very, very tough off-ice workouts.

The guys who run this training facility are ex DI football players (the highest level of college football), and they look the part. I'm going to guess that all three of them were either cornerbacks or safeties in college, to give you an idea of their size.

Their trainer for the first workout introduced himself and said that before they started training, he wanted to see how far they could jump. He stretched out a tape measure to 8'0", then asked one of his partners to come over and demonstrate.

He exploded off the line and jumped 8'1". The kids oohed and aahed.

Goalies started jumping. Eli was at the end of the line (a dramatist at heart). When he stepped up to jump, the longest jump before him had been 6'11".

He'd already been on the ice for an hour and a half earlier in the day, and he didn't warm up before he jumped.

Like I said, though, he has a flair for the dramatic.

He walked up, set his feet, swung his arms three times, and jumped. "Oh, SHIT!" said the ex-D1 football player as Eli landed beyond the tape. One of the other trainers put his hands on his head and ran in circles.


I forget sometimes how ludicrous it is when he jumps. To me, it's just normal. It is clearly not normal, though, and I'm reminded of that when other people see him.

Here's a terrific photo of him during the workout (I didn't take it, so no complaints about the aspect ratio!):

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Links!

From Matt Kreuch, and this is a very, very large shark: Largest great white shark ever videotaped underwater?

From Marc Klein, and this is a remarkable story: Larry Sanders Walked Away From the NBA and $27 Million, and He’s Never Felt Better.

Remember those toilet swirling videos from last week? Thanks to Ian Tyrrell, you can now see them synced and side-by-side: The Truth About Toilet Swirl.

From Steven Davis, and these are very poignant: Remembering World War 1 | Remembrance Weekend | Some of Britain's finest actors read poetry from World War I. Next, and this is quite fantastic, it's Students Build Pedal-Powered Wooden Monowheel. Next, and this is stunning, it's Incredible Balloon Sculptures of Animals and Insects by Masayoshi Matsumoto. One more, and this is fascinating: Process: How to Hand-Carve Mahjong Tiles. Wait, there's even one more, and it's astonishing: A Self-Folding Origami Robot That Can Walk, Climb, Dig, Carry, Swim and Dissolve into Nothing.

From Ted, and this is outstanding: Chris Hadfield's 'Most Canadian Music Video Ever' Is So Darn Nice.

From Sirius, and this is absolutely fascinating: The Mystery of the Margate Shell Grotto. Also, and this is outstanding, it's Newly Identified 'Hellboy' Dinosaur Sported Unique Horns, Scientists Say.

From DQ Reader My Wife, and this is a fantastic read: Your Memory is Like the Telephone Game.

From 3Suns, and this is both interesting and frightening: SEAL Team 6: A Secret History of Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines.

From Chris Pencis, and this is another excellent bit of xkcd: Up Goer Five. Next, and this is clever parody: Space Weird Thing.

From Mike Gilbert, and this is both tremendously sad and very profound: This Animated Data Visualization Of World War II Fatalities Is Shocking.

This is a very good dog: Service Dog Throws Self In Front Of Bus To Save Blind Owner's Life.

This is an incredible story, but it's also intense and painful to read: More Than 80 People Died In A Single Racing Crash 60 Years Ago Today.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


That is a very, very happy dog. Once you play on ice, there's no going back.

I sent this picture to Eli along with this text: I found a court for us to play tennis on if the park courts are too crowded. Watch out for syringes!

He texted back: Those aren't darts, kids.

This is a picture for international readers. That's a 64 oz drink cup. I'm just waiting for some chain of convenience stores to up their game and have an 80 oz. cup with the slogan "Still thirsty?"

This picture was taken when Eli was four.

Almost a decade later, he may be 5'9", but he's still the same kind, gentle boy he's always been.

Also, I jumped 6'9" today. He only jumped 8'3". Moral victory.

Well, Not Quite

This is hilarious: Lance Armstrong: I’m Lord Voldemort.

Come on, man. We all know Voldemort was more honest.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

On the Mutability of Music

This is going to take a little effort on your part, but it's so worth it.

There's a rap song called "Trap Queen", by Fetty Wrap, and it's strong. Very strong. Great hooks, excellent flow, and it was a huge hit.

You need to go listen to it now, which you can do here: Trap Queen.

Strong, right?

Now, immediately, go listen to this version: Ed Sheeran: Trap Queen.

Yeah, it's great. Absolutely great. It's a version whose existence you could never even conceive. Until you hear it, that is, and it's stunning.

Hearing these two phenomenal versions of the same song made me think about music and how it's unique compared to literature. A single song can be covered dozens of times by different artists, with varying degrees of success, but at least occasionally the cover is just as good or better than the original.

Writers don't do that. Well, they do occasionally, particularly with Shakespeare ("Much Ado About Nothing" by Joss Whedon was outstanding), so Shakespeare would be the old blues standards that get endless cover versions.

In recent literature, though, it seems very rare, and in any case, reinterpretation is much less important in literature and much less embedded in the culture.

I never thought about it this way, but covering and reinterpreting songs makes music a much more living, breathing thing.

I'm going to go ahead and present the counterargument. If you consider the archetypal plots, most of literature is reinterpreting and expanding on those archetypes. In that sense, literature is very much like music, but to me, an archetypal plot can't be considered equivalent to an individual song.

On stage, this is certainly different.

Plays are certainly more like music in the sense that they get performed and reinterpreted all the time. Not all productions are going to be original--many will be straight vanilla and literal--but there is certainly room for individuality.

Maybe Chris Hornbostel will write a column about his favorite cover versions that exceed the original someday.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


I was cutting a piece of cheese from this block of cheddar, but I was using a knife without taking the block out of the ziploc bag.

"Cutting cheese with a butter knife while it's still inside the bag," Gloria said. "Hmm."

"Works for me," I said.

"You know that you can put the cheese on a cutting board," she said.

"Sure, but then the cutting board is dirty, and that's one more thing to wash," I said.

Gloria grimaced.

"What you don't realize is that I was seriously considering just tearing off a hunk of cheese with my hand so that the knife wouldn't be dirty, either," I said. "You really dodged a bullet there."

There Will Never Be Anything Greater Than This

The Greatest Internet Flame Wars Are Happening on Clown-Forum.com

I think we've just hit peak Internet. We can shut it down now.

Monday, June 08, 2015

You Must Build A Boat

Yes. Build the boat.

Every superlative I can say about a game belongs here. This is a triumph of game design, and the whimsy embedded in everything acts as an awesomeness multiplier.

This is also the fastest game I've ever played.

Seriously, it's fast. Lightning fast. It even seems too fast at first, but as you play, everything becomes more instinctive. After a few hours, you'll be doing everything without consciously thinking at all. It becomes an utterly fluid and absorbing experience.

If you played 10000000 (and boy, you should have), the basic difference in You Must Build a Boat is the new strategic layer added by the addition of the boat. The rooms in the boat harbor different upgrade opportunities, all of which are important to succeeding later in the game.

The upgrades serve another important purpose, along with the random environmental modifiers that are rolled for each run: they keep the game fresh. Every run becomes slightly different.

It all comes together nigh-perfectly, as wonderfully as anyone could have hoped for, and this game firmly establishes Luca Redwood as one of the greatest mobile game designers of this era.

Oh, and there's one more thing: This is a funny game. It has a very clever Wario feel of whimsy while you're on the boat, which is both charming and downright funny. The pixel graphics are also perfect for the game, which is no surprise, because Redwood's instincts are spot on the entire time.

You Must Build a Boat is available on everything, basically (PC, iOS, and Android). Go buy it immediately. Or sooner.

NHL Combine

Connor McDavid, the best NHL prospect since Sidney Crosby, went to the NHL Combine last weekend and performed a variety of drills. Standard combine stuff.

One of the combine events was the standing long jump.

He jumped 8'1".

Friday, June 05, 2015

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, a fascinating article about Silk Road:
The Rise & Fall of Silk Road (part one)
The Rise & Fall of Silk Road (part two)

In co-leadoff position is a link from The Edwin Garcia Links Machine, and it's stunning: Berlin in July 1945 (HD 1080p color footage).

From Cal J., and this is an absolutely terrific article: Fears of a Clown: No one is better at making children laugh than Boswick the Clown. He doesn't understand why adults are so scared of him.

From Steven Davis, and this is entirely fantastic: City Museum: A 10-Story Former Shoe Factory Transformed into the Ultimate Urban Playground. Next, and this is amazing, it's Pinball Wizard Builds Massive Machine. One more, and marble fans rejoice: Big Marble Run Machine: 11000 Marbles. Wait, there's one more, and it's beautiful: Amazing Footage of a Swim through Jellyfish Lake in Palau.

From C. Lee, and this is very funny (most of the dogs sprint away, even though it's not a real bear): Japanese test dogs against bear attack. The dogs who did stay, though, are awesome. Also, and this is a great read: The Agency: From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia, an army of well-paid “trolls” has tried to wreak havoc all around the Internet — and in real-life American communities.

From Les, and this is terrifying: You’re All Out: A defense attorney uncovers a brazen scheme to manipulate evidence, and prosecutors and police finally get caught.

From Sirius, and this is utterly fascinating: The Dragon Autopsy: What it’s like to watch a komodo dragon get dissected.

From Craig Miller, and this video is so very beautiful: Flying Over Chicago's Frozen Beaches.

From Matt Kreuch, and this is incredible: This guy just made a sword out of a nail and it's worthy of 'Game of Thrones'.

From Matt Watson, and this is sobering: I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

From 3Suns, and this is an interesting read: How Electronic Arts stopped being the worst company in America.

From Jarod, and these videos are meant to be played at the same time:
The Truth About Toilet Swirl - Northern Hemisphere
The Truth About Toilet Swirl - Southern Hemisphere

Thursday, June 04, 2015


On my last jump.

Glove Angles and Parachutes

I was walking into the rink with Eli 13.10 yesterday, and we were (in good humor) barking back and forth about his glove angle.

Here's the theory on glove angle. If the glove is always square to the shooter, then the amount of movement required--and its complexity--is as minimal as possible. If the glove isn't square, though, then movement--and the complexity of that movement--is greater.

If you want to be really, really good at any sport, deconstruct every movement and make it as simple as you possibly can. The efficiency makes you, in effect, much faster.

Eli's glove is not square at times. It's not off by much, but the rest of his technique is so precise that I notice the glove.

We were still talking about it as he walked into the locker room, and then I said "That's IT, punk! Arm on the bench! NOW!"

Eli cracked up.

"Okay, let's go, old man," he said, laughing. I can't beat him in arm wrestling anymore. I can beat him in just about everything else, but not arm wrestling.

Well, not conventionally, at least.

He put his arm on the bench, still laughing, and I put mine down as well. We locked hands.

We were even for about the first ten seconds, but I was fading. Right then, I yelled "PUNK!" and he burst out laughing again. That's all I needed to eke out a win.

"Hey, don't worry about that glove angle," I said. "You'll have plenty of time to fix it when you're LIVING in a VAN down by the RIVER."

Seriously, if you've never seen that sketch, it's one of the funniest Chris Farley moments ever. And even if you have, go watch it anyway.

He spent the night last night with one of his best friends, and I texted him this morning. I do the standing long jump with him during his dry land workouts so that he can get a good laugh at my old man jumping ability. I jumped 6'5" last week (he almost landed 8'7"). Here are the text messages:

Me: I'm jumping 6'7" today. May need a parachute to land. 

Eli: I'll bring the stretcher

Me: Better bring binoculars, if you want to see me in the air.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Fallout 4

Here's the trailer: Fallout 4 trailer.

The opening and closing cinematics for the original Fallout rank as my favorites. And the ending for the original Fallout was incredible. This was no simple Kill Foozle story.

I didn't finish Fallout 3, but I put in 50+ hours and enjoyed them all. So this will definitely be a day one purchase for me.

Make Better Decisions #15: What the Hell, America?

Let me just say that the "make better decisions" does not apply to the dog, who has made a very good decision, indeed.

That dog has a nicer haircut than I do.


Great. The U.S. track program is dirty, but this time, it's not sprinters--it's long distance runners.

Here's the story: Top athletics coach Alberto Salazar faces doping claims.

Why am I so sure this story is correct and that Salazar is guilty? Two reasons. First, how many people have been accused of doping and then exonerated? That number is either zero or a tiny, tiny percentage. Second, this investigation was a collaboration between the BBC and ProPublica. It's not second rate outfits doing the investigating here.

Prediction: deny, deny, deny, deny, then tearfully confess, saying that Americans couldn't compete because the rest of the world was cheating, too.

I remember when steroids and PEDs in general were first being discussed in magazines like Sports Illustrated, and I remember them saying that they would change sports forever.

Man, have they ever. In the worst possible way, sadly.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Card Dungeon on Steam! [UPDATE: All Free Steam Codes Have Been Given Away]

Card Dungeon launched on Steam today, and it's here: Card Dungeon!

Fredrik was very kind and gave me five Steam codes to give away to you guys. First come, first serve.

This is a delightful game made by a delightful person (well, people, but I don't know the other person, just Fredrik). Special launch price is $8.99.

Send me an e-mail if you want one of the Steam codes, and hurry.

Cats and Dogs (we still like cats more)

I'm driving with Eli 13.10. We've been discussing the various merits of cats versus dogs.

"Can you image explaining why we have pets to aliens?" I asked. "We have dogs as pets because they're loyal, and they protect us, and all they want to do is serve us. Plus, what they can do is incredible.  A dog that can act as a companion and service animal for the blind, or a dog that can smell when a diabetic needs insulin? Dogs are amazing! The list could go on and on."

"Then," Eli said, "we have cats."

"Hmm," I said.

"Well," he said.

"They purr," I said.

"And we're done here," he said.


Sepp Blatter Will Resign.

I'm stunned that this is happening, but the dots are not difficult to connect. If the U.S. had evidence that implicated Blatter (and like I said, those indicted officials were going to sing like canaries) and would result in an indictment, then Blatter couldn't travel anywhere in the world where the U.S. had an extradition treaty.

Would it be messy for the U.S. to do that? Absolutely yes. And prosecution would be very messy. So they cut a deal with Blatter agreeing not to indict him in exchange for his resignation.

Alternate scenario: U.S. officials leaked information to major U.S. sponsors that conclusively demonstrated Blatter's involvement, and those sponsors threatened to withdraw their support if Blatter didn't resign.

It would great if this resulted in major changes for FIFA, but I'm reading a book right now titled Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers, and the parallels between the two are both uncanny and disturbing. The corruption is so deeply-rooted in both that it almost certainly doesn't matter who is in charge.

I highly, highly recommend the book, by the way.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Gridiron Solitaire #Unknown: New Card Art!

First off, let's have a look at the old card art:

These images fit in well with the nostalgia theme I wanted to use, but with revised, more modern-looking background screens, it was important for the cards to be revised as well.

These aren't absolutely final, but they're close. First, the new deck with no card numbers on the outside (the card number is on the jersey):

I am so happy with how these new cards look, and playing the game with a deck like this will be so much fun.

For people who want a more regular deck, there's a conventional deck with bigger numbers in the corners, like this:

Fredrik did something I really like, this is have the player image cover part of the number where it overlaps. It gives the card a 3D effect that is very striking.

I don't know how long it's going to take to roll out the entire decks. Fredrik is still finishing some things up, and the new cards have to be out at the same time as the new interface screens, so I have quite a bit of super boring work to do to put in the new background images.

I'm aiming for the end of July, before we leave for goalie camp. I hope.

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