Simply comical

February 28, 2007

This has to be a political photographer’s dream…

From a BBC News article:

Israeli newspapers have printed photos of Defense Minister Amir Peretz trying to watch military manoeuvres through binoculars with the lens caps still on.

According to the photographer, Mr Peretz looked through the capped binoculars three times, nodding as Gen Ashkenazi explained what was in view.

He’s the Defense Minister. Surely he’s used binoculars before. Hell, any sports fan who’s had bad seats could figure this out…

Humor from The Onion

February 28, 2007

If you’ve never seen The Onion, it is a hilarious weekly news satire magazine. For a while a long time ago I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, which is one of the editorial homes of the Onion. It would be distributed free (revenues generated by ads) every Thursday. Like all satire, sometimes it misses, but sometimes it is gold.

Here is a recent one that cracked me up (warning: hilarious bad language, particularly in the photograph). I still laugh out loud when I read this.

March Madness Coming Soon…

February 27, 2007

March Madness baby. The best sporting event of the year. Unpredictable. Single elimination. Hugely emotional. Lots of games. And of course, gambling.

Wait a minute, didn’t I say previously that I don’t really gamble? True, very true. But there’s something about an NCAA basketball pool (there’s an exception to every rule). And it’s not really about the money, it’s just fun.

So once again I will be hosting a pool. The rules are the same as every year (detailed below). I use CBS Sportsline. The URL is:

The group password is fish.

The rules are as follows:

$10 to play

50% to the winner

30% for 2nd place

20% for 3rd place

I will collect money via PayPal. PayPal charges a small fee, so I’ll ask for something like $10.58. Don’t worry about payment up front. I’ll make the requests after people have signed up. I’ve been informed that PayPal frowns on this sort of thing, so you’ll probably get a request for payment for something like “pet grooming”. If you are in the NY office or will see me in person you can pay cash.

The pool is weighted for picking upsets. Points are determined by multiplying the seed of the winner by the round value:

1st round: 1 point

2nd round: 2 points

3rd round: 4 points

4th round: 8 points

Semi Final: 16 points

Final: 32 points

So if a 12 seed wins in the second round it’s worth 24 points. But getting the final four right is worth a lot of points also, so you can’t just go upset crazy. Typically you need to get the ultimate winner right. This is, in my opinion, by far the most interesting way to run a pool.

That’s it. Invite your friends. Wake the neighbors and phone the kids. It’s all about bragging rights. The great thing about an NCAA pool is that it’s so unpredictable that someone who knows nothing about hoops often wins. My favorite betting strategy for someone who didn’t follow hoops involved comparing the mascots and picking the one that would win in a fight (sorry Maryland fans).

The madness begins soon…

Parenting Fun

February 26, 2007

Here’s a story that will sound familiar to any parent.

On Saturday, Danielle had a birthday party to go to at a local gymnastics place. They do good parties, the kids run around a lot and have a good time. And since Danielle just learned to swim we took her to the YMCA (which is next door) for some swimming right afterwards.

So gymnastics followed by swimming. Then we get her dressed, she gets in her stroller because she’s tired and sure enough she falls right asleep.

A mid-afternoon nap on a Saturday is a rare event. We know we’ll pay for it later, but any parent knows you must seize the opportunity. So we go for an early dinner. An adult meal, conversation, drinks the whole deal. What luxury. OK, fine, it’s 4:00 in the afternoon, so hardly optimal. But you take what you can get.

So we’re finishing some sushi, sake (for my wife) and beer (for me) and Danielle starts to wake up. What’s the first thing she does? Throws up. Right in the restaurant (which is thankfully empty other than us – who eats at 4:00?). It turns out there’s a bug going around in Danielle’s school (and all her schoolmates were at the party). So she basically pukes the rest of the day. But it’s a brief bug and she’s ok the next day. She even makes it to another birthday party the next day (it’s apparently birthday season in her school).

It seems to me that this captures parenting in a nutshell. Plenty of kid-type fun in the parties, very occasional adult fun whenever you can sneak it in, and the occasional puke. And despite the puke, the whole thing is a blast…

Luggage found, life is good

February 22, 2007

After getting no word on my luggage yesterday, today I discovered that they did find it and they put it on last night’s flight. It will get delivered tonight. Imagine my relief.

In my previous post, I forgot to mention the other bad thing that happened at Kennedy airport. At the Jamaica airport we bought some gifts for some friends and of course Danielle wanted something. There was a small version of those wave souvenirs, the plastic things filled with two different color liquids that look like waves when you tilt them.

During the long wait for our luggage, Danielle was half asleep and wanted to be carried. At one point she dropped this wave thing on the floor. So I just picked it up and put it in my back pocket so I could carry her. What I didn’t realize was that it had cracked.

Now I have no idea what they actually fill these things with, but clearly one of the colors has to be something other than water. Hmm, oil and water don’t mix, perhaps it’s oil based. So I’m standing there holding Danielle, when I start to smell something like lighter fluid. I’m thinking that I’m getting a whiff of airplane fuel from outside. But then I realize that my back pocket is wet.

This is officially way too late. At this point my pants are drenched with something that really smells bad. So the hour that I spent waiting to find out that our luggage was lost was a very smelly hour. Thankfully lighter fluid (or whatever it is) dries pretty quickly so at least my pants dried up.

But it took two washings to get the smell out…

Danielle learns to swim

February 21, 2007

Our vacation started and ended poorly at Kennedy airport, but Jamaica was great. The beginning was the problem that I feared, the storm. We boarded the plane and thought we were in good shape, only to get an announcement that the weather was too bad to take off and that we had to wait on the plane at the gate. So we did. For two hours. Then they had us deplane, but asked us to stay close in case they got an open window to take off.

I had enough time to leave security, hit McDonald’s, come back in and feed Danielle before we boarded again. Add another hour on the plane waiting to be de-iced, and we finally took off, about 6 hours late. But at least we made it.

The place was great and the weather was as well. We frankly didn’t do much (nothing wrong with that). The pool and the beach were our primary destinations. I was hoping that this would be the time that Danielle would finally learn to swim (with a life vest) on her own. She loves the water, but has always been very clingy if she’s in water over her head, even with a vest. So I was hoping that six days would do it.

It finally happened on day four. She met a new friend, Griffin, who was 3 1/2. He could swim with a vest so she finally gave it a shot. First just going a few feet. But by the next day, she was all over the pool. Here is the formerly clingy girl (in the center of the picture – that’s me way to the left):

She pretty much did nothing but swim after that. Of course, all that swimming is tiring work, so this is what she typically looked like around mid-afternoon:

And of course there was other fun. She learned to catch a Frisbee (ok, one out of about 20 times):

And of course there was dancing…

The resort was great, though it got a bit crowded towards the end. So many kids are on vacation for President’s day week that the place was totally jammed. But overall it was an excellent pool, beach, and relaxing vacation. There was plenty of jerk chicken and Red Stripe beer (the local beer – frankly just average, but you want a lighter beer when it’s that hot).

The trip ended poorly at Kennedy airport as one of our bags didn’t make the trip with us. They are still looking for it at this point. That was no fun, waiting around the airport late at night with a very sleepy four year old.

But overall a very successful and relaxing vacation.

Restaurant Signs

February 12, 2007

There’s a guy in Pennsylvania who owns a restaurant with a big sign out front. Instead of advertising the daily specials, he decided to post his political opinions (kind of a low-tech blog). While I agree with few of the sentiments, this one cracked me up:

2 Presidential Candidates

Each will blow over 125 Mil

For a job that pays 400000 yr

Must have great dental plan

He’s pretty anti-immigrant, which I am not. But this sign is pretty funny:

This is America

Why must we press 1

To proceed in English

It’s kind of like red-neck Haiku.

If you want to see more (bad language warning)