April 2007 Archives

Without further ado, the 2007 pf.org All-Name NFL Draft Team:


QB: Isaiah Stanback, Washington, Cowboys. And he shall prophesy many touchdowns for the boys of cow.
RB: Ahmad Bradshaw, Marshall, Giants. If you’ve ever wondered what the love child of two former professional football players-turned-broadcasters would be named…
FB: Orenthal O’Neal, Arkansas State, Raiders. Last time there was a RB in the league named Orenthal, he did OK for himself.
WR: Legedu Naanee, Boise State, Chargers.
WR: Chansi Stucky, Clemson, Jets.
TE: Dante Rosario, Oregon, Panthers. Good at running underneath routes, though it helps if a guy named Virgil points the way.
OL: Tony Ugoh, Arkansas, Colts.
OL: Jermon Bushrod, Townson, Saints.
OL: Mike Otto, Purdue, Titans. Should be issued number 00 on principle alone.
OL: Mansfield Wrotto, Georgia Tech, Seahawks.
OC: Samson Satele, Hawaii, Dolphins. Will not cut his hair, apparently for good reason.


DT: Turk McBride, Tennessee, Chiefs.
DT: Tank Tyler, NC State, Chiefs. Any defensive line with a Turk and a Tank on it has to be good.
DE: CJ Ah You, Oklahoma, Bills. I know nothing about this guy, but I love his name.
DE: Ikaika Alma-Francis, Hawaii, Lions. There need to be more hyphenated last names in the league.
ILB: Desmond Bishop, California, Packers. Not to be confused with Bishop Desmond Tutu.
OLB: Dallas Sartz, USC, Redskins. How can a guy named “Dallas” possibly play for the Redskins?
OLB: Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma, Vikings. Like hyphenated last names, the league needs more guys named “Rufus”.
CB: Usama Young, Kent, Saints. For his sake, I hope that the search for OBL won’t suddenly refocus on New Orleans.
CB: William Gay, Louisville, Steelers. And now you’ll be able to buy that NFL jersey with “Gay” on the back, just like you’ve always wanted.
S: Eric Frampton, Washington State, Raiders. Eric celebrates interceptions by playing “Do You Feel Like We Do” and returns for touchdowns with “Baby, I Love Your Way.” In addition, play-by-play announcers are now required to announce big hits by saying “Frampton comes alive!”
S: Sabby Piscitelli, Oregon State, Buccaneers. Not to be confused with retired Argentinian tennis player Gabby Sabatini.

Special Teams:

RS: Syndric Steptoe, Arizona, Browns.

The draft also featured Manny Ramirez, Keith Jackson, Eric Wright, and Tony Gonzalez. It’s still unclear how Ramirez will handle playing left field during a pennant race and offensive line for the Lions at the same time, while Keith Jackson will not only announce Gatorade commercials but will star in them as well. Former Pro Bowl corner Eric Wright not only un-retired after not having played in the NFL for 17 years, but actually re-entered the draft instead of going through free agency; as for Tony Gonzalez, it’s going to be interesting to see him play TE for the Chiefs and WR for the Colts at the same time.

(Actually, Keith Jackson is, in real life, the son of former Eagles TE Keith Jackson, no relation to the broadcaster. And I can’t be the only guy out there who thought that the Chiefs should have drafted Anthony Gonzalez, eh?)

Tragically, Cal QB Joe Ayoob went undrafted.

links for 2007-04-29

links for 2007-04-28

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Apple, I'm Giving This One To You For Free

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When I was trying to describe what using the 24” iMac is like to some friends, I came up with “It’s the IMAX of iMacs!”.

So I'm Waiting...


For DHL to show up to deliver yet another AC adaptor for my laptop (which, if you’re wondering, is a Dell Inspiron 1150). This will be the fourth power adaptor that I’ve had. The first one (aka the one that came with the machine) had fraying insulation on the power cord. The second one just flat-out died — I plugged it in one day and it just stopped working. This one seems to have developed a loose connection somewhere.

My next laptop’s gonna be a MacBookPro, I think….

Previous adventures with my laptop: Battery Woes and How To Take Apart a Dell 1150.

links for 2007-04-25


I was once at a baseball game in Japan that featured back-to-back-to-back home runs… but I’ve never ever seen anything even remotely like the four homers-in-a-row that the Red Sox just launched. The really amazing thing was that none of the homers were cheap just-over-the-fence jobbies; the three that were launched to left all sailed over the monster seats over the left-field wall. Manny just crushed the first one to left-center (see photo), and that’s one of the deepest parts of the park.

I once saw Manny hit a ball into the upper deck in Yankee Stadium a few years ago; I’m pretty sure that the ball was still going up when it hit the stadium….

links for 2007-04-21

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links for 2007-04-20

links for 2007-04-18


As it turned out, while I did spend a ridiculous amount of time on airplanes and other forms of transportation on my recent jaunt (approximately 39 hours airborne, plus about 12 hours on trains), I got surprisingly little reading done whilst travelling—about 1/3 of the way into Moby Dick was about the extent of it.

Why? Well, I had failed to take in to account the fact that due to the circumstances of the trip (particularly on the back end), I managed to spend the vast majority of such time in transit sound asleep. Not the slumber that you see people enjoying in commercials for airlines, but rather the involuntary unconsciousness that just hits you like the proverbial ton of bricks; when fatigue simply overpowers volition.

Anyway, I was going back through some of the pictures from Vienna and it occurred to me that these long exposure shots from inside St. Stephen’s are really quite good. I might even print a few up.

links for 2007-04-17

links for 2007-04-16

I Know, It's Been A Long Time Coming


I know, it’s been a while. The thematic links are somewhat more esoteric this time around, I have to admit.

  1. What product garnered the famous review “No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.” upon its initial release?
  2. What was Kurt Vonnegut’s first published novel?
  3. “Tiny Bubbles” was what entertainer’s signature song?
  4. Cava is the Spanish version of what famous beverage?
  5. How do Syrah and Shiraz wines differ?
  6. Persepolis is located near what modern city?

Last week’s time’s answers:

  1. George Crumb’s chamber piece Vox Balaenae was inspired by what animal?
    The humpback whale.
  2. What is the name of the narrator of the novel Moby-Dick?
    This is a bit of a trick question, since while the first line of the novel is “Call me Ishmael”, it’s pretty obvious that it’s an allegorical name, and the narrator is only referred to by name once in the rest of the book.
  3. What do Billy Budd, The Love of The Last Tycoon, Turandot, The Silmarillion, and The Art of Fugue have in common?
    They were all unfinished at the time of their creator’s death and were all completed by other hands.
  4. The narrator of The Lovely Bones and the narrator of Desperate Housewives share what distinguishing characteristic?
    They’re both narrating from beyond the grave.
  5. What was actress Teri Hatcher’s first starring role?
    Lois in the television series “Lois & Clark”.
  6. What do Superman’s three major love interests have in common?
    They all have the initials “L.L.”

So It Goes

So I was in Munich last week on Good Friday, and we’re wandering along, and what should we run across but some Mongolian throat singers (particularly check out the throat singing that starts about 10 seconds from the end):

The admittedly crappy video was captured on my digital camera. My question is: does anyone know what instrument they’re playing? It has a very cello-like tonality, but it’s something that I’ve never seen before (and note the western-style f-holes in the sounding box).

Yes, I'm Back And Boy Are My Arms Tired

Yes, I’m back, and I’d like to thank Lady Crumpet and my father for stepping into the breach while I was gallivanting. And now that I’m back, here are a few quick bits:

Also, I’ve uploaded photos from Hong Kong, London, and Munich; the easiest way to view them en masse is via the Tabblo version (as linked above), but you can also hit the Flickr versions for a better look at the individual pictures: HKG, LDN, MUN. I’m still working on the Vienna pictures…

UPDATE: Vienna pictures are up in both Flickr and Tabblo formats.

That's all, folks

I’m about to be a travelin’ gal myself - leaving today for Chicago and bracing for the chill.

Safe return to you, Paul. See - I didn’t break the blog or embarrass your mom! ;) And thank you, Paul’s readers, for biding your time with me while the big guy has been away.

Learning new technology

Wonder what it was like when the printed book was first introduced? Perhaps medieval tech support went something like this.


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EMI’s digital music catalog, free of DRM restrictions, will now be available on iTunes for $1.29 a pop. The Beatles catalog, however, is not part of this deal. But what a marketing campaign that will be, whenever it happens.

So what do you think, PF.org readers? Is it worth paying a little more for song downloads that don’t come with such restrictions?

This interesting story was forwarded to me from China…sorry if it’s a little long

Garden Gnome Mystery Solved: Originally Chinese?

By Jia Baoyu, BeijingWireNews, Beijing, April 1, 2007

Count garden gnomes, along with paper, printing, gunpowder, and the compass among China’s enduring contributions to Western culture.

So says Dr. Bu Congming, professor of archeology and finance at the Urumqi Institute of Desert Exploration and Real Estate Development.

It is clear, he told Beijingwirenews in an exclusive telephone interview, that those pesky little critters with their red conical hats, beards and stunted stature, are models of Central Asian dwarves that were kept as house pets by wealthy families during China’s glorious Tang Dynasty over 1000 years ago.

“Keeping dwarves was quite fashionable even after the Tang”, Dr. Bu said.

Their pointy peaked caps, beards, belted tunics, large green or blue eyes and long noses were considered cute. The fad lasted all the way through the Mongol period, centuries later.

Professor Bu says he came to that realization when Dr. Xuan Zang, one of his colleagues at the Institute, found fragments of a letter written in Sogdian, an extinct Central Asia language, in a garbage pit at Dunhuang, the famous Silk Road oasis town in western China.

The author of the letter, apparently one of the dwarves, praised the household that kept him for providing delicious scraps of food.

But the dwarf complained that his masters laughed at his hat and beard, as well as his tiny legs. Sometimes he was so upset that he could not perform all of the circus stunts he had to perform for his keepers.

Dr. Bu says that the letter, along with many terracotta figures from the Tang Dynasty depicting such dwarves and other foreign peoples who came along the Silk Road, confirms the origin of the gnomic figures.

But how did the figures go west?

It is commonly thought that garden gnome figurines were first made in Germany in the 1800s as representations of trolls and other denizens of the demon-infested European woodlands to satisfy the vast Western demand for kitsch.

However, Dr. Bu suggests an alternative theory: the Mongols.

The great armies of the Khans liberated most of Eurasia during the so-called Dark Middle Ages in Europe.

Unfortunately they were unable to complete their “mission civilatrice” of spreading Asian values when they were suddenly recalled to their homeland following the death of one of the great Khans.

They had to leave their dwarves behind in the forests. Over time, the superstitious Europeans incorporated the abandoned creatures into their folklore.

Could there be diplomatic repercussions from Professor Bu’s discovery?

Officials in Beijing, while pleased about confirmation of yet another example of the reach of Chinese culture, have raised questions.

“It is beyond dispute”, charges Madam Sun Wukong of the cultural department of the Chinese foreign ministry, “that the images were stolen by the agents of imperialism!”

Mme. Sun threatens to take the matter up with the World Trade Organization as a “flagrant violation” of China’s intellectual property rights.

“The feelings of the entire Chinese people have been seriously abused and aroused by this blatant theft”, she declared. “Even if these dwarves were not of the Han race, we should acknowledge their minor accomplishments. The letter shows that even in feudal times their human rights were respected. As they would be today.”

Calls requesting comment to the Mongolian Department of Cultural Enlightenment in Ulan Bator, the World Trade Organization in Geneva and the German Embassy in Beijing were not returned.