A Peeve

I don't like it when books and songs rhyme one word to itself. I hadn't thought too much about this before, but yeah, bothersome.

For example, the Beyonce song "Irreplaceable." "To the left, everything you own in the box to the left." (Actually, I can kind of forgive this since the second line is just clarifying the first.) But in the chorus, "I could have another you in a minute, Matter of fact, he'll be here in a minute". Really? There wasn't some better lyric that could have been included?

I have to take issue with Goodnight Moon too. There's one passage where you say "Goodnight moon" followed immediately by "Goodnight cow jumping over the moon". It's really the only clumsy part of the book.

Ok, rant done.

  

The next Jose Canseco

Two sports predictions:

First, that in the next 10-20 years, the NFL will be dramatically different from the game/institution that we know today, due to (long-overdue) attention to brain trauma. Concussions will be viewed the way we now view asbestos, where the blithe and dangerous attitude of times gone by will be unfathomable.

Secondly, that Tim Donaghy will eventually be viewed in the same light as Jose Canseco, and that's meant very complimentarily. Canseco was once a 'roided-up crackpot who spouted off random and crazy accusations but in the intervening decade or two has been proving correct on pretty much all counts. As for Donaghy, I present you this:

I worked a Knicks game in Madison Square Garden with him on February 26, 2007. New York shot an astounding 39 free throws that night to Miami's paltry eight. It seemed like Stafford was working for the Knicks, calling fouls on Miami like crazy. Isiah Thomas was coaching the Knicks, and after New York's four-point victory, a guy from the Knicks came to our locker room looking for Stafford, who was in the shower. He told us that Thomas sent him to retrieve Stafford's home address; apparently, Stafford had asked the coach before the game for some autographed sneakers and jerseys for his kids. Suddenly, it all made sense.

Okay, no big deal, a ref gave away one game in exchange for some stuff from a Hall-of-Famer, right? Check this out:

In the pregame meeting prior to Game 6, the league office sent down word that certain calls-calls that would have benefitted the Lakers — were being missed by the referees. This was the type of not-so-subtle information that I and other referees were left to interpret. After receiving the dispatch, Bavetta openly talked about the fact that the league wanted a Game 7.

"If we give the benefit of the calls to the team that's down in the series, nobody's going to complain. The series will be even at three apiece, and then the better team can win Game 7," Bavetta stated.

I mean, wow. Not even the Godfather himself (NBA Commish David Stern) will be able to cover this up, even if he sues both Amazon.com and Random House.

P.S. I have spent the last couple hours trying to figure out whether this is an april fools prank or not, given deadspin's spotty history. But I think this is legit, it just makes too much sense.

  

I hope it's full of stars, sir.

Arthur C. Clarke passed away.

The quote I borrowed from in the title above is further explained here.

I read a good bit of sci-fi growing up, and Clarke's work was really influential to me. I cut my teeth on the Asimov catalogue, as I'm sure many of y'all out there in blog-land did (and I still enjoy re-reading a few of his really top-notch short stories). That being said, I really felt I had arrived when I wrapped my mind around some of Clarke's works, which often felt more intellectually rigorous.

For those of you who only know him through 2001 (film and/or book), I'd encourage you to check out some of his other works, particularly Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood's End, one of my absolute all-time sci-fi favorites.

  

The Mouse That Roared -- and a stream of consciousness

The recent issues with Iran have made me wonder more than a little bit if they're trying to pick a fight so that we'll march in and make things better. Just imagine a speech to their people once we leave, "You may think you want more person freedoms, but look how horribly the [big devil] Americans did. You'd much rather have a strict Islamic state, wouldn't you?"

That made me think of The Mouse that Roared by Leonard Wibberley. If you haven't read it, it's about a tiny little country with monetary issues in post-WWII Europe who decides that the way to fortune is to declare war on the US, lose, and then get tons of support. In the end, they accidentally win and much hilarity ensues. It was a great read in middle school.

Anyway, I bought the book from amazon and now they point out other books that would match similar searches. This brings me to The Mouse that Roared by Dwayne Murray Sr. An electrician from New York who now dabbles in thriller novels. The interesting thing here is that Amazon now lists out "Statistically Improbable Phrases" for books. Basically, they're phrases that should be more or less unique to a given author, clever turns of phrase unique to the book. Dwayne Murray Sr. apparently used the phrase "bully club" several times in his book while no other work of fiction contains that phrase. It kind of makes me wonder what exactly it is... is it a club for bullies to join so they can sit around and discuss proper bullying methods? a club specifically designed to stop a bully in his tracks? or, is it, as I fear, a repeated error in the book because the author doesn't know what a billy-club is. That answer doesn't bode well for the book as a whole.

  

"How to Be One of the Distinguished Alumni"

...A new self-help guide due out this April by none other than yours truly, author of the popular recent works, "How To Not Break the Evaporator" and "Yeah, I Think That Might Explode". 🙂 Highlights from this new release include:

 1) Arrive a day early for your presentation to enjoy another night in the swanky on-campus apartment normally reserved for visiting professors and artist-in-residence types.

 2) Enjoy a day of meeting with familiar faces and catching up on all things, punctuated by free lunch at the faculty club with current students, the presentation you're ostensibly there to give, and dinner with faculty that evening. Bonus! Pick up helpful job search and career advice from sources both likely and unlikely along the way.

 3) Enjoy additional night in swanky apartment before catching flight back home. Time everything right to include visits with other friends and such in the area while visting alma mater.

...and the list goes on!

 Yeah, so it's been a good trip so far. Meeting with more professors until 3 PM, then it's talk prep time, SPS meeting with Sigma Pi Sigma inductions, followed by my talk at 4 PM, which I finished the PowerPoint for this morning while visiting the nanotech class taught by my friend from Rice, Jen, who's now a prof here. Visiting with former profs has been great, and several of them have already given me enough free career advice to remind me that the mentoring relationship never really ends...

  

Do you know today is the day?

Jodi Picoult's "Nineteen Minutes" won't even be published until March 6. Students at Hanover High School were among three schools in New Hampshire and Massachusetts given advance copies to study. In the novel, an ostracized teen living in Sterling, N.H. -- a wealthy, Upper Valley college town on the Vermont border -- goes on a school shooting rampage, killing 10 people in 19 minutes.

This "Sterling" town shares many things in common with Hanover: Sterling has Sterling College, and its neighbor towns are called Lebanon and Norwich. So some people think it may inspire a real shooting. In the novel the high school shooting happens today@_@. Tim (the professor) said the school principal sent an email this noon saying everything is OK, except 18% students didn't show up. I guess today is really an exciting day for those high school kids...

  

July 21

The official release date of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", 7th and final in the series.  Woo-hoo!  I was hoping it would roughly coincide with the release of the movie version of book 5.  Just hope I have money to buy a copy by then.