Friday, April 28, 2006


Okay class, close your books. We’re about to have a pop quiz!

Here are some questions ripped from the headlines. See how much you know about what's going on around the world.
For correct answers, click on the comments link below.

1.) Wii is:

A. Nintendo’s next generation game console
B. The name of China’s special ambassador to the U.S. whose actual job is to translate President Bush’s broken English into coherent English before it can be translated to Mandarin Chinese
C. The announced name of Brad and Angelina’s expected child
D. Text message shorthand for “What is it?”

2.) Congress wants to alleviate the pain at the gas pump by:

A. Cutting people checks worth $100
B. Enforce carpooling 3 days a week
C. Putting Social Security into a lockbox and investing it in oil futures
D. Grounding all cabs for a week

3.) The White House’s new Press Secretary:

A. Was President Bush’s college roommate at Yale
B. Invented Sudoku
C. Works at FOX News Channel
D. Wears a bullet-proof girdle

4.) Brett Favre announced this week:

A. He is retiring
B. He is half gay
C. He is not done losing to the Bears and will play another season for the Packers
D. There’s something about Mary

5.) 15 riot vans, 8 police cars, and dog sniffer units were recently dispatched at Heathrow International Airport to:

A. Apprehend a suspected suicide bomber
B. Search for Christina Aguilera’s lost lap dog
C. Subdue Snoop Dogg’s rioting posse
D. Catch a man smuggling pigeons infected with Asian Bird Flu

6.) Oil giant ConocoPhillips announced this week:

A. A surge in quarterly profits of 13%
B. Plans to open a bicycle building plant
C. “Holy shit, we’re rich!”
D. It placed the single largest order for cookies in the history of the Girl Scouts

7.) Iran’s official response to the United Nations regarding the threat of a Security Council resolution demanding a halt to Iran’s nuclear energy program:

A. “We fart in your general direction!”
B. “We won’t give a damn!”
C. “If you ask us deal or no deal, we say no deal!”
D. “We need more sources of energy. We are not Energizer Bunny.”

8.) Pro-immigration activists announced this week:

A. That if every undocumented worker in America agreed to push one car for one day, gas prices would drop by 200%.
B. They hope to completely shut down 6 major American cities.
C. A plan to section off half of Texas for illegal immigrants and call it Texaco.
D. That if undocumented workers aren’t given amnesty, they will make a mockery of the American Idol competition by collectively voting for Taylor Hicks.

9.) Dozens of memory disks stolen from a U.S. military base and reportedly loaded with military secrets were recently found:

A. For sale on eBay
B. On display at a bazaar in Afghanistan
C. In a Burger King bathroom in Hamburg, Germany
D. In an abandoned backpack on the New York subway

10.) This week, David Copperfield failed to escape:

A. Being robbed at gunpoint by Florida teenagers
B. A new Utah state tax on magicians
C. A burning ring of fire
D. Tax evasion charges


Here’s another fine submission. Check out the history of the world according to Hollywood. This site collects and plots out movie events on a hypothetical timeline so you can see what happened when.


The H-man turned 6 last weekend, and to celebrate Geri threw him a big family birthday bash at Timber Lanes bowling alley. Have you ever been to a bowling birthday party before? Bowling birthday parties are great because not only do kids love them, they give the adults something to do as well. Here’s how they work. For the first 20 minutes, all the kids scramble around the alley trying on different shoes and picking up different balls, getting completely worked up over the idea of throwing a ball for the purpose of knocking stuff down.

Some of the adults, I should note, become uncharacteristically manic as well.

Once we’re all assembled on our designated lanes, the kids commence fidgeting and fussing impatiently with the shoes they picked out, arguing over who will go first with which ball, and start sliding around on the slick wooden floor like Tom Cruise in Risky Business. After order is restored, and bowling order established, the real fun begins.

The young ones mill around the ball return waiting for their turn, playing with the blower and seeing how close they get their hands to the machinery inside before coaxing a stern warning from the parent gallery.

“Get your hands out of there or we’re going home right now! You’re not LISTENING to me! I said get your hands out of there! How are you going to tie your shoes when you’ve only got one arm?” No one actually says this, of course. Not out loud, anyhow.

One after the next, each pint-sized bowler stumbles and sways up to the fault line hefting a pink 8-pound orb and, in one clunky motion, shot puts it from the shoulder out onto the lane with a THUD that forces everyone in the group to turn their head and cough nervously. It actually looks like a group hernia check is being performed.

The following 2 minutes are spent watching the ball carom off the bumpers from gutter to gutter, drifting like a drunk, neon tumbleweed into space toward the pins at the other end. The bowler, meanwhile, does a little dance, lies down on the floor, spins around a little bit, fidgets a little more with his/her shoes, dances again and completely misses the ball clearing a path through the center of the pins on the other end. Everyone claps excitedly at the outcome, regardless of how many pins remain standing, and the kid skips back to the ball return grinning like school just let out for the summer.

Fast forward ahead one half hour. All the kids have abandoned the bowling lanes and are now chasing one another around the ball rack in a sugar-stoked frenzy while the adults are all huddled closely around the scoring table, high-fiving one another and enjoying a few relaxing frames of pin smashing fun. The jukebox jams Deep Purple, the bartender uncaps another round of cold ones, and everybody slips comfortably into a state of extended glee. It’s as close to perfect as life gets.

That’s the magic of bowling. It’s a power to which my grandfather has been testifying for the last 70 years. Field of Dreams had us believe that baseball was the one constant that brought us all together, standing tall through good times and bad. But baseball has seen its share of ups and downs over the years, while bowling has rolled steadily along in the undercurrent of American culture. I'd say it's probably our nation's most unheralded pastime. Maybe it’s time we give bowling some of the credit it deserves.

Yeah - I come from a long line of bowlers. In Chi-town, that's how we roll. Where else can you celebrate the fine art of striking out?

Monday, April 24, 2006


If you’re really into driving around looking for cheap gas, here’s a map of the U.S. with all of the average prices listed by county. Find out if you’re getting the shaft!

I've been looking for trends and I've noticed something rather disturbing. The blue states pay a lot more for gas than the red ones. They keep talking about how gas costs more in the heartland because it has to travel further inland, but that doesn't appear to be the case. In fact, by the look of this map, it appears the price of gas rises with the number of registered Democrats. Coincidence? States that voted for Bush skew far lower than those voting for Kerry/Gore. Further, guess where you'll find the cheapest gas in the country? Vice President Cheney’s home state of Wyoming, of course!

(To be fair, I feel obliged to consider the possibility that the price of gas may be higher in Democratic strongholds because local politicians are taxing the hell out of it!)

I personally think this is a big conspiracy masterminded by disgruntled American inventor Al Kamen, creator of the Segway, to drum up populist support for his (failed?) revolutionary urban transportation alternative.


Remember that trailer for The Shining that turned the horror classic into the feel-good picture of the year? Check out this trailer . It has the opposite effect, turning a Nora Ephron favorite into a summer scream.