Friday, February 02, 2007


This picture features the bravest student in the history of the Chicago Public School system. He probably also has a rocket arm and gets picked first before every game of touch football, the little glue-sniffer.

Go Bears!

Did you know that, at the start of every NFL season, more bets are placed on the Bears to win the Super Bowl than any other team? Every season. Doesn't matter how good the team is supposed to be - Chicagoans bet money on da Bears. We're crazy stupid like that. Same goes for the Cubs. We love a good long shot - especially if our team is that long shot.

This season the Bears started as 12-1 odds to win it all. Not terrible odds - but not the greatest, either. Didn't matter to the betting public. And now Chicagoans are betting on da Bears in record numbers. But what worries me is the line. The line on the Super Bowl opened at 7 and hasn't moved. All that action on the Bears and the line hasn't budged a point. Why do you suppose that is? Someone's covering all those bets without thinking twice about it. Leads me to believe someone's taking care of business on the inside. Watch for an unevenly called game. Or perhaps Sexy Rexy is on the bookie's payroll. More than a couple unforced errors at key points during the game could be a sign that something is up. 7 points is considered a pretty big spread. Is the Colts offense really that much better than the Bears D?

And here I thought DEFENSE wins championships. Last I checked, the Colts didn't have much of one. Something smells fishy to me here - and not in a good way. This game is going to be a lot closer than people think.

My prediction? Bears 97, Colts 3.

Unless Rex has a good game, of course, in which case we'll probably break 100.


A friend here at the office turned 40 today and was shocked when I informed him that he was beginning his 41st year here. He told me that factoring in the time he was in his mother's womb didn't count. I assured him I was not considering that time at all.

"Your birthday records the number of years you've COMPLETED," I explained, "Not the number of the year you are in."

"Come again?"

"When you turn 1, you're not starting your first're DONE with it. Your first birthday celebrates an entire tour of duty here. One full year completed. When you turn 40, you're celebrating having gone around the sun 40 full times. So you're actually ushering in your 41st year. You just kicked off year 41 of your life."

"So when I was 39..."

"On your 39th birthday you were actually beginning your 40th year."

He suddenly walked off muttering something under his breath and hasn't spoken to me since.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Looking for another timewaster?

Check out this Squares Game. You just move your center square around eating up a bunch of other squares - but watch out for the red squares. They're very BAD!

I've played it a number of times and topped out around 9,000 points and 100 squares. They claim the high for the site is over 18,000. Hard to even imagine!

It starts out pretty easy but gets progressively more difficult as the speed of incoming red squares increases. Plus, the size of your original black square gets bigger the more squares you consume! HINT: The circles give you special powers. If you get the invincible one, just start wiping the screen clean and ring up points fast!

I also dig the techno dance beat in the background. Really gets me fired up...


Do you know the origin of the name “Super Bowl”?

Don't lie. Nobody does. It’s just one of those words that’s been around forever and no one ever stops to wonder why. It’s the Super Bowl and that’s that. As far as most Americans are concerned, the term Super Bowl has been around since the signing of the Declaration of Independence and is written into our nation’s Constitution. We don’t question its origin because it’s not important. What’s important is what the Super Bowl stands for – a chance for Americans to worship two of their favorite false idols at once: sport and media. I can't wait to find a good spot in front of that enormous HDTV television and settle in for 5+ hours of extreme overeating and overhyped coverage.

Where traditional holidays are given to family, televised cultural events like the Super Bowl (and the Oscars to a lesser degree) provide a good excuse for gathering with friends. It’s like a second Thanksgiving – this time with junk food and drunk friends. Nevermind the turkey...could you pass that 7-layer taco dip! And who brought these mini beef roll thingies? They're incredible!

So where DID the term “Super Bowl” come from? Okay, I’ll tell you. A little closer, please – I don’t want everyone to hear this. It’s actually an off-the-cuff combination of words jokingly uttered by one of the original organizers. Here’s what happened.

Back in 1967 there were two football leagues, the National Football League and the American Football League. The former was the original league; the latter was an upstart rival. After 7 years, the upstart rival AFL became successful enough that people started wondering which league was better. So it was agreed upon that the champion of the National Football League would play the champion of the American Football League to settle things once and for all.

The Commissioner of the NFL, Pete Rozelle, suggested they call that game “The Big One.” A creative genius he was not. Nor was AFL Founder Lamar Hunt, who recently passed away. But it was Lamar's term that ultimately stuck. He claims he was thinking about all of those college football championship games that had been called "bowls" for years when he said: “This game is going to be like a ‘super’ bowl!”

And upon hearing those words together, everyone in the meeting just looked around at each other and agreed: “That name totally sucks, but let’s use it anyhow for now…until we can come up with something better.”

True story - even the last part. “Super Bowl” was intended to be a stop-gap name – a placeholder they’d use temporarily until they could work out something more meaningful. Super Bowl, after all, was kind of generic. Super? Bowl? Why not just call it the Uber Mega Ultimate Super Championship of the Universe? Because Super Bowl was alsmot perfect in its simplicity.

And so today, all these years later, we're still calling “the Big One” the Super Bowl. And a super day it is certain to be...

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I love this one. Two 11th graders in Southampton, Hampshire managed to pull off the ultimate school prank. Or perhaps I should say "pull out."

A couple years ago the unnamed duo sprayed weed killer on their school lawn in the shape of a monstrous penis. School staff since re-seeded the damaged area, but not before satellite photos memorialized their feat from space. The appendage can now be seen on Microsoft Virtual Earth and other satellite mapping programs.

Looks like the kids of Southampton High have a new "hang out."


Here's an amusing spoof of those Dateline "To Catch a Predator" shows. The end is the best part.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Are you familiar with the concept of rapture? I recently decided to familiarize myself with end of the world, and this was the word that kept coming up. Rapture. Rapture. Rapture. What's a rapture, I thought. So I looked it up.

Some dictionaries list rapture as a sensation of absolute ecstasy, like the rapture Chicagoans are likely to feel when the Bears upset the Colts on Sunday in Miami. Or the great Rapture certain to envelope America upon Bush's exit from la casa blanca. In theologian terms, however, the “Rapture” means something entirely different. It’s the term used to describe an upcoming event where Christians are taken by God to Heaven – which sounds like a pretty cool deal, except that a lot of folks aren’t invited to the big bash in the sky. Nope – a bunch of us are going to be spending eternity on the curb outside of the 7-11 - lost and without hope.

Voted out of the tribe in Heaven.

Curious? So was I. So I dug a little deeper. For those of you as ignorant about the fundamental tenets of Christianity as I am, here’s a frightening look at the end of the world as we know it.

According to Biblical prophecy, the Rapture is scheduled to occur 7 years before the end of this age. What age is “this” age? That is subject to interpretation, but let’s assume for our soul’s sake it’s the one we’re in now. The age of "now" I like to call it for simplicity's sake. So there’s a 7 year period at the END of this age…and at the end of those 7 years, Christ will be coming out of retirement for his long-anticipated encore performance. The big show is being billed as the “Second Coming,” and while Jesus was one groovy guy (by most modern accounts), his reunion tour is expected to be a complete catastrophe.

Literally. Yeah - by all accounts, when JC comes back, he's all business.

But let me back up for second and explain why Christ is coming out of retirement in the first place. In the interim 7 years between the Rapture and the Second Coming, there is the expected emergence of someone by the name of Antichrist. That would be our antagonist. I used to hear "Antichrist" and think of folks like Kim Jong-Il, Hugo Chavez, Hillary Clinton, and Pat Robertson. And my grandmother swears it's Paul Wolfowitz. But according to my sources, the real antichrist is going to be a charming, childless man from Europe. And he’s going to really start mixing shit up.

At the end of 7 years, the planet is going to be in such a state of disarray that Christ will enter stage center wearing a kung-fu robe. A Battle Royale ensues. I read that Don King is already promoting the event on his website, promising plenty of pay-per-view entertainment for the terrified masses. And the executives at FOX are even kicking around some programming concepts for when the Apocalypse is in full swing. Of note are two shows, the first one a reality TV show centered on a “band of brothels” trying to promote procreation in a world where sexual dysfunction and disinterest have become the norm. This one would be called ‘Armageddon Laid’. The second will feature a guy who turns McDonalds restaurants into churches in an effort to promote faith and community on a mass scale as only the best branded corporations of our time have managed. This show will be titled ‘Prophesize Me.”

No, not really. I shouldn't joke. This is serious stuff I’m talking about here! I only make light of the end of the world to bring it to your attention. Do I have your attention yet? No? Okay...let me try terrorizing you. While JC and this debonair European antichrist dude go Armageddon on each other, it is expected that a THIRD of the world’s population will be exterminated. That’s like 2.2 BILLION people! Do I have you attention now? Yeah – this Rapture thing is pretty intense.

Of course, my entire tongue-in-cheek description here is just the Cliff’s Notes version. And it's not even that accurate depending on who you ask. Most Christians don't even agree on what the Rapture will entail, or when it will come. For a more complete explanation, I recommend a good Protestant Bible (the Roman Catholics, I should note, don't call it Rapture at all). If you're too busy to look it up yourself, this is what you need to know about the end of the world:

Good, God-fearing Christians will be saved and the rest of humanity will suffer a great end.

Totally uncool if you ask me. What about the billions of people on this planet whose religious beliefs are contrary to the teachings of Christianity? There are a lot of genuinely good people in this world who don't believe a word of the Bible. Presuming there's any credence to the concept of Rapture, wouldn't they be worth saving?

I have a calculator at my desk and I did a little number crunching. There are roughly 6.5 billion people in the world. If a third of us are wiped out, that leaves 4.3 billion people left to start over again. The number of people expected to depart earth is roughly equivalent to the total number of Christians in the world. Is this a coincidence? Are we all guest starring in the final season of LOST? Here is the population of the world broken down into religious figures, pardon the pun.

1 Christianity: 2.1 billion (1.1 billion of which are Catholics)
2 Islam: 1.3 billion
3 Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
4 Hinduism: 900 million
5 Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
6 Buddhism: 376 million
7 Primal-indigenous: 300 million
8 African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
9 Sikhism: 23 million
10 Juche: 19 million
11 Spiritism: 15 million
12 Judaism: 14 million
13 Baha'i: 7 million
14 Jainism: 4.2 million
15 Shinto: 4 million
16 Cao Dai: 4 million
17 Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
18 Tenrikyo: 2 million
19 Neo-Paganism: 1 million
20 Unitarian-Universalism: 800,000
21 Rastafarianism: 600,000
22 Scientology: 500,000
23 Universal Way of the Jolly Llama: 1...but catching on fast!
There sure are a lot of different ideas out there! And most of these systems of belief are mutually exclusive by design. That is to say, to have one faith is to deny the faiths of others. Religion isn't a Chinese menu off of which you can mix and match different dishes to suit your spiritual taste. Not in theory, anyhow. Historically, people have been told that one discipline is the true discipline and everyone else is on the wrong path. There's a frightening rigidty to it. But in practice, there's a lot of customization going on today. Globalization has brought world's people closer together, exposing us to more ideas and different thought. More and more people are opening their minds to ask "what if"? So the lines in this pie chart aren't as solid as they appear - there's a lot of crossover going on as the colors start bleeding into one another.

Ask around and you'll find actual beliefs vary widely - often within congregations! There are over 2 billion Christians all lumped together in the largest piece of the pie, most of whom disagree with one another on some pretty basic ideas. with so many different messages out there, how is one to know which ones to listen to and which ones to tune out?

We tend to take religion and make it our own. We personalize it. We internalize it. We shape it to fit our lifestyle. It's spiritualism for the new millenium - and for one world. A best practices thing is happening here whereby ideas with merit stick, while those rooted in antiquity are phased out over time. Perhaps that is what is happening with Jihadist Islam today. A miniscule faction of militaristic muslims are discovering there's little worldwide support for their brand of extremism. Killing people who don't share in your beliefs is not among those religious practices civilization chooses to encourage. So they are meeting resistance and have been largely confined to desolate, dangerous places. They're fighting for their dying beliefs like a cornered animal...but the world's civilized people have collectively said "no" to terror. The global human organism understands that the cancer of violent religious fanaticism must be destroyed for the future success of the species.

But I digress...

What were we talking about? Oh yeah. Rapture! So let's get to the part you've been waiting for. WHEN IS THE END OF THE WORLD? Well, according to Rapture Ready, the website tracking our progress toward the end of the world, there’s a lot of disturbingly prophetic activity going on that would indicate the end of the world is nigh.

You can check out the Rapture Index here. Looks to me like we’re speeding toward the Rapture right now! The Rapture Index is a visual measure of world catastrophe intended to predict the Second Coming. It’s basically a snapshot of global strife that changes from day to day. As events in our world unfold, some good and some bad, the Index increases or decreases. And, believe it or not, according to the Rapture Index, we’re on an upswing right now that could be signaling the end of days.

According to my calendar, the end of the world is scheduled for late 2012. So that leaves us all a few more years to atone.

I'm no theologian. I'm actually the first one to admit I know VERY little about religion. But I honestly don't know about all of this biblical prophecy stuff. I tend to think the end of the world is going to be a lot swifter than any of us can fathom. And like an ant in the shadow of a footstep, we probably won't even know it's coming.

Except Chuck Norris, of course, who will ready and waiting.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Valentine's Day is right around the corner, so here's a timely link to some candy-related news. It's an update on the folks at Necco, the candymaker behind those little heart-shaped sugar bombs kids have been passing around for decades. There are 10 new phrases to look for this year, and they have a decidedly animalistic bent to them:


And I've also been working a few extensions of this theme for next year's batch:


Sunday, January 28, 2007


Here are some fantastic Photoshopped creations of imaginary future Mac products. My personal favorite is the iBrator. Sweet.

Graphic designers are colorful folks.