Ethan Albright vs. John Madden

This is quite possibly the funniest thing that I’ve read all year. It’s a fictitious letter by Redskins long-snapper Ethan Albright to John Madden concerning the fact that Albright is the lowest overall rated player in the Madden 07 video game.

I have received the impression that you feel that I am lacking in the agility category. I should consider a walk through my living room where I don’t crash trough a wall or kick over furniture a resounding success. My agility rating on your game is 33. It makes it sound like I just topple over if I start walking too fast. Ted Washington is rated a 40 in agility. He is listed at 365 pounds. If Ted Washington tied a white lady up and made her wear a metal bikini, he’d look just like Jabba the Hut.

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I was rated with a throwing power of 17 and accuracy of 16. Orlando Pace is has a 22 power and 17 accuracy rating. Did someone at EA really put time into figuring out that Orlando Pace edges out Ethan Albright in both throwing power and accuracy? I will challenge him any day. My horrible passer ratings are of greatest misfortune to my son, Red Beard Jr. The poor boy is not only hideously ugly and covered by freakishly large freckles. He also has to suffer through playing catch with me and my senile-elderly-woman-type passer ratings. A session of tossing the pigskin usually consists of me missing my son by thirty yards in sporadic directions.

Your 80s Moment of Zen

As we were watching the Ohio State-Iowa game, it came to the mine and a friend’s attention that Leigh Ann didn’t know who Jim McMahon was. As one might expect, the conversation quickly digressed to the Bears’ Super Bowl Shuffle.

That led us to this gem on YouTube. Wow. All the cheesiness of the 80s encapsulated in one video. White guys that have no business rapping (probably paving the way for Vanilla Ice). Amazingly bad choreography. A referee whistle to beep out profanity. Admittedly, I hadn’t thought about this video in well over a decade, but this is five minutes of pure gold.


Not to be outdone, the 86 Raiders made their own contribution to the rap world which features performances from Fox Pregame’s Howie Long and Detriot Lions’ GM Matt Millen. Now, if only I could find a video of the Ickey Shuffle, my 80s NFL stroll down memory lane would be complete :).


Five Things I Don’t Get the Appeal Of

If you can explain any of these to me, please leave a comment.

  1. Watching Regular Season Baseball: Really, what’s the point? 162 games per team…are you kidding me? Other than a few games in September, the MLB regular season’s only function is to generate stats for Fantasy Baseball players and bean counters who want to compare Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds. Even people I know who follow baseball religiously generally do so via checking scores on their cell phones rather than actually watching a game. And, if keeping up with sports’ longest foreplay isn’t enough the individual games consist of very little action. On average, the ball is in play for about 10 minutes over the course of a 3 hour game. Compare this with football (I’d estimate about 45 minutes of play), basketball (48 minutes), hockey (60 minutes), and soccer (90 minutes!).
  2. YouTube Users Talking into the Camera: I like to check out the top videos on YouTube every few days just to keep up with the online zeitgeist and inevitably there’s these videos of people talking into a camera that get a tone of views. First, I read about Brookers in a Wall Street Journal article about Web 2.0 all-stars. I watched like half a video and determined it was crap. Then, I checked out the two most subscribed channels of all time: lonelygirl15 and geriatric1927. It’s like when you’re in public and someone just starts talking loudly on their cell phone so everyone knows the details of their life even though you’d rather not hear it. I just don’t get it.
  3. Dane Cook: He’s the most popular comic on iTunes (other than maybe Dave Chappelle) with his Comedy Central Stand-Up and a couple of podcasts (Danecast and Tourgasm). So, I watched his stand-up show on YouTube and I’m really clueless about why he’s so popular. He’s really obnoxious and not that funny. He reminds me of that person from high school who thinks they’re a lot funnier than they really are. Like the ratio of funny things said to things he says that he things is funny is something like 1:10. Now imagine that kid got his only Comedy Central show and cult following. If you find the name Tourgasm a stroke of comedic genius, then you’ll enjoy Dan Cook. If you find it obnoxious and not that funny, then you’ll probably share my opinion of him.
  4. Missing White Girls: If I had more time, it would be interested to go through the CNN homepage on the Wayback Machine and track the gender and race of every missing person who’s picture appeared on it. Here’s a tip, if ever a guy or minority that you knows goes missing, then before reporting it to anyone, photoshop their picture so they look like a white girl. Then, you’re guaranteed that the national media will launch 24 hour news coverage of the case. Why? I have no clue. Well, actually I do have a clue…ratings. I just don’t understand why so many people care so much about missing white girls when there’s virtually zero probability that they’ll have any effect on helping find the girl and there’s probably a slew of people that go missing every week that you never hear about.
  5. MySpace: I’ve written about this in detail before, but I keep thinking that one day the light will come on and I’ll see how this site can enrich my life. Hasn’t happened yet.

Jack Bauer Facts

To follow-up the Bruce Schneier Facts, someone pointed me to Jack Bauer Facts (Wikipedia Entry for Jack Bauer). Some of my favorites:

  • When a convicted terrorist was sentenced to face Jack Bauer, he appealed to have the sentence reduced to death.
  • The city of Los Angeles once named a street after Jack Bauer in gratitude for his saving the city several times. They had to rename it after people kept dying when they tried to cross the street. No one crosses Jack Bauer and lives.
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  • The 2007 budget for the US Military covers Jack Bauer, two pistols and four billion rounds of ammunition.
  • If Jack Bauer was in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Nina Meyers, and he had a gun with 2 bullets, he’d shoot Nina twice.
  • Jack Bauer’s calender goes from March 31st to April 2nd, no one fools Jack Bauer.
  • Jack Bauer once forgot where he put his keys. He then spent the next half-hour torturing himself until he gave up the location of the keys.
  • There have been no terrorist attacks in United States since Jack Bauer has appeared on television.
  • Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas.

Bruce Schneier Facts

This is just uber-geeky. In the spirit of Churck Norris facts, the author has given us facts about computer security guru Bruce Schneier. I find it hilarious. Some of my favorites:

  • Bruce Schneier was only allowed to view the Kryptos sculpture at Langley for 1 second, in order not to spoil the fun other cryptographers. It was 0.9 seconds too much.
  • A mystery wrapped in an Enigma is no more puzzling to Bruce Schneier than a mystery wrapped in ROT-13.
  • When he was three, Bruce Schneier built an Enigma machine out of Legos.
  • The nuclear launch codes held by the President of the United States are secured by an unbreakable system: a plain brown envelope with a picture of Bruce Schneier on the flap.
  • Bruce Schneier can solve NP-Complete problems in NlogN time.
  • Bruce Schneier once found the inverse of a trapdoor function counting only on the fingers of one hand.
  • Bruce Schneier knows Alice and Bob’s shared secret.
  • Most people use passwords. Some people use passphrases. Bruce Schneier uses an epic passpoem, detailing the life and works of seven mythical Norse heroes.
  • Bruce Schneier’s secure handshake is so strong, you won’t be able to exchange keys with anyone else for days.
  • Bruce Schneier’s tears can burn holes through an OpenBSD firewall. Lucky for us, Bruce Schneier never cries.
  • SSL is invulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. Unless that man is Bruce Schneier.
  • Bruce Schneier fully discloses his own vulnerabilities: none.
  • Bruce Schneier once broke AES using nothing but six feet of rusty barbed wire, a toothpick, and the front axle from a 1962 Ford Falcon.
  • Bruce Schneier can change most random distributions. With his fists.
  • Sweeping NSA reforms will soon require all employees to grow a Bruce Schneier beard.

Go Ahead and Be Evil, Google

Here’s a funny article that imagines what products could Google bring to the market if they decided to abandon their “Don’t Be Evil” motto.

Google Murder

Why pay top dollar for a professional hit man when an amateur will do it for a few bucks and a good alibi? Google could leverage the technology behind Google Answers to match amateur killers with those looking to eliminate a business rival or key witness. While high-end assassins have all sorts of overhead and pass the costs on to you, Google Murder could match you up with sociopaths who were thinking of going on a rampage anyway, and who would be willing to shoot up the office building or motel of your choosing for a reasonable fee.

Smug Alert

I saw the South Park episode this week entitled Smug Alert! (Wikipedia episode summary). Hilarious. Basically, one of the characters gets a hybrid car and immediately becomes “smug”. He thinks he’s better than everyone else and starts always talking with his eyes closed. When he decides South Park is too backwards for him, he decides to move to the most smug city ever…San Francisco. There, he meets fellow hybrid owners who also talk with their eyes closed and, every time they fart, immediately start sniffing to get a whiff of their own flatulence.

So, this got me thinking about smugness. So, I decided to make a Top Ten list of Smug Activities in my life. Here it goes (note…this is all in good jest…no offense intended :)):

  1. Use Gmail: Once you get use to the nearly 3GB of storage, tagging, POP3 downloading, advanced filtering options, and robust search, it’s difficult to understand why so many people continue using other webmails as their primary email (e.g., Hotmail, Yahoo!). While the learning curve for Gmail may be a bit steeper, once you’re familiarized with it, you truly feel like you’re using the next generation webmail system while everyone else is stuck in the past. Plus, it allows you to use any of your existing email accounts via Gmail.
  2. Own IKEA Furniture: You just walk into an IKEA and immediately you’ll be immersed in smugness. Most of them even serve it in their cafeteria. I can just feel the smug crawling through my body every time I put my shopping cart on one of their “shopping cart escalators”. If another earthquake strikes San Francisco, I have a feeling that something like 90% of the IKEA furniture in the world will be destroyed.
  3. Don’t Have Cable Television: OK, there’s degrees of smugness here because we do own a TV. The next level of smugness is those people who don’t even own a TV. Somehow they always manage to inject that fact in about every other conversation you have with them. But even not having cable emits its own smugness as if to say, “I have more entertaining things to do then watch five episodes of Sportscenter every day.”
  4. Have a Sam’s Club Membership: Oh, you can definitely smell smug on someone’s breath anytime they say, “Oh, I can go by Sam’s Club to get that.” There are few things in life that cost $35/year that provide as much smug as that little card. I don’t know whether it’s the fact that you have to show your card to even enter the store, that you have the privilege of escorting one lowly non-Sam’s Club member each visit, or the fact that I can buy a pack of 50 bars of soap and save a dime per bar, but something definitely increases my smug quotient by keeping that Sam’s Club card in my wallet.
  5. Use Linux: I don’t know if smug or zealot is the better description for Linux users. I use it at work most of the time and have a dual boot laptop at home, but pretty much exclusively use Windows there (Red Hat/Fedora Core at work and Ubuntu at home). There’s definitely some smugness involved when you know that while other people are merely doubling clicking and icon to install a program, you can wget a file, untar it, make it from source, and then update your environment variables to run it. And those are the easy installs :). This is another bullet point that involves degrees of smugness as Mac users take the cake. Good gosh these people love making you aware of the fact that they’re running OS X and not that inferior Windows XP. Sometimes you just want to take their universal binary and slap them upside the head with it. Again, if San Francisco were destroyed by an earthquake, I’m confident that 90% of the Macs in existence would be gone.
  6. Recycle: And I don’t mean we merely separate our trash into bins for someone to come pick up. Oh no, we actually drive our stuff to the recycle center every week or two and place it in the appropriate bins. How can you not be smug when you’re saving the world for your grandkids while all the non-recyclers would be perfectly content to have future generations live in a post-apocalyptic, Terminator 2-like society? It’s all about the children, people.
  7. Have a Blog: OK, just say the word “blog”. It has to be one of the ten smugest words in existence. You almost naturally close your eyes with smug as the word just emanates out of your mouth If I were a non-blogger, I have know doubt that I’d want to punch someone in the face every time they mentioned blogging about some topic. Never has merely typing on your keyboard been so smug.
  8. Own an iPod: The official color of those headphones that come with iPods is known as “smug white”. You can’t help but get a smug look on your face every time you see someone with a portable CD player. There’s definitely a smugness involved when you’re walking down the street and see all the non-earbud wearing people “basking in their thoughts” while you, on the other hand, can continuously fill your brain with NSYNC from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. Oh, and the smugness extends beyond the mere iPod to accessories. We have two protective shieldings for our iPod. For some reason that can only be a smug-related symptom, all of a sudden protecting the paint job on your iPod becomes more important than the one on your car.
  9. Use Public Transportation: Oh yes, I get to work every day without the use of a car. While others may emit earth-killing carbon dioxide while battling traffic, I can sit back and read leisurely as I enjoy my bus ride into campus (all the while saving the earth). If I’m feeling extra smug, I can even listen to my iPod while I ride public transportation! Again, there’s level of smugness involved here since we do own a car which we use a fair amount on the weekends. To reach the highest level of smug, we’d have to either get rid of the car totally or buy a hybrid.
  10. Don’t Own a Cell Phone: You can’t help but be smug about the fact that you’ve found some way to live without this modern device when it has became a necessity for so many others’ very survival. Next time you hear someone’s cellphone go off at an inopportune time, look around and notice the people with a smug grin on their face. These are the non-cell phone owners (everyone else is probably digging in their pockets and purses to make sure that their’s doesn’t go off next). There’s that smugness in knowing that you don’t waste precious moments of your life finding a witty ringtone for each friend that is entertaining to, oh, about one person on earth…you, the cellphone owner. If anyone else does happen to bask in your ringtone creativity, it will definitely lose all charm when they’ve heard it for the fiftieth time.

And, here’s a list of stuff that I don’t do but find to be smug:

  1. Eat Organic Foods: Another one that involves levels of smugness. There’s vegetarians and then there’s the ultimate smug-o-nators, vegans. All the health benefits your getting from eating these foods is negated by the build-up of smug that occurs in your body as a result.
  2. Flying First Class: You can’t help but notice the smug look as these people board the plan first and then stare at you as you walk down the aisle as if to say, “Poor schmucks in economy.” I’ve heard in most planes, the emergency masks will drop down if too much smug is coming from the first class section of the plane.
  3. Only Getting Your News from One Source: Whether it’s the New York Times or Fox News, you can’t help but notice the smugness emanating from those who have to name their sole news source every time the tell you a piece of info and make darn sure that you know they’re more enlightened than all the rest of us mere mortals who do not trust one organization for all the news.
  4. Listen to NPR: Speaking of news sources, here’s the government funded smug. Normally, you don’t preface every nugget of knowledge with the citation from which you learned that information. Except for NPR listeners. If they tell you something that was heard on NPR, without fail they’ll cite NPR as the source in the conversation. San Francisco is known for their historically high smug level since so many cars are tuned to NPR during the commute.
  5. Go to Krannert Events: This is the arts center at UIUC that has one of the highest concentrations of smug on campus. You just can’t say you’re going to one of the plays or concerts at Krannert without breathing smug onto all your listeners. Pretty much any “fun” activity that requires you to wear a tie is immediately suspect for high smug potential.

And, my final list is the most smug celebrities and athletes. I’m sure I’m forgetting some obvious ones, but these are the ones that came to me off the top of my head:

  1. George Clooney: Hi, I’m George Clooney. I am so smug that I was featured in the South Park episode on the topic. I would basically like flip a bid middle finger towards Middle America to let them know that Hollywood is in fact better than them. We gave an Academy Award to an African-American, Hattie McDaniel, in 1939. Please disregard the fact that it was for playing a stereotypical slave role in a movie that glorifies the slave owning South. If America was only smart enough to let Hollywood run the country, we would be much better off and have much more smug.
  2. Kobe Bryant: Hi, I’m Kobe Bryant. I’m living proof that one can do no wrong if one has enough money. If someone accuses you of rape, just pay them to settle out of court and buy your wife a five karat ring. Problem solved. My smugness on court is so strong that many times it overwhelms opponents to the point that they can’t stop me. I really wish that they would just let me play one-on-five in the NBA because I don’t need my teammates anyway and a lot of times they just clog up the lane when I could be scoring more points.
  3. Tom Cruise: Hi, I’m Tom Cruise. Not only am I an actor, but my brainwashing by Scientology has made me a health care expert far beyond those “doctors” that spend a decade of their life studying medicine. Though many people may think medication is required to cure smug, really all that is needed is to give more money to the Church of Scientology. Smugness, depression, and any other number of disorders can be cured by this simple approach.
  4. Barry Bonds: Hi, I’m Barry Bonds. Even the people of San Francisco consider me to be smug. Many of the steroids I use are laced with smug to keep me performing at the highest level. Babe Ruth? I “wiped him out”. Media, teammates, coaches? Overrated. Just give me my steroids, a bat, a ball, and a wall to hit it over and I’m set.
  5. Sean Penn: Hi, I’m Sean Penn. Because I starred in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, I am better than you and far more qualified to make political statements. Because of the utmost importance that Fast Times gave my career, I am now qualified to serve as the unofficial US ambassador to Iraq and Iran. And, because of the infinite wisdom afforded to me by virtue of my Fast Times role, I am now not only qualified to criticize anything our government does, but also above any criticism or parody that others may throw my way. This is why it was absolutely vital that I take time to write an inflammatory letter to a pair of comedy writers that parodying me in Team America. Do these jerks not know I starred in Fast Time at Ridgemont High?! I am orders of magnitude better than them (and all of you) because of it.
  6. Bill O’Reilly: Hi, I’m Bill O’Reilly. Amazingly, I’ve never been wrong a single time in my life. In fact, I typically catch my own flatulence in a jar and sell it on eBay for $1000. When I have to crap, nothing but solid 24-karat gold turds come out. If you don’t agree that mankind is lucky to have a specimen like me, then I’ll tell you what you can do with your loofah and falafel. My aura of smug covers the set of the O’Reilly Factor. I particularly like to invite people to be on my show where I have complete control and then make fun of them when they refuse. Would I ever go be on an Air America show? Heck no. That would require me to operate in an environment where I don’t have 100% control. My head might explode or something. My set, my rules. I particularly like the one that I have where all staff members must build a shrine to me and spend at least an hour a day meditating about how lucky they are to get to be near me on a daily basis.

Please leave comments if you can think of any other smug activities and/or celebrities/athletes. Or, let me know items on these lists with which you especially agree or disagree.

Dover, Pennsylvania Better Look Out

If Pat Robertson has a vendetta against Dover, Pennsylvania, they should be extra scared now. Not only did God leave their city in response to school board election, but thanks to his “Age-Defying Shake”, it looks like Pat now has the physical superpowers to single-handedly wipe the city out of existence:

Did you know that Pat Robertson, through rigorous training, leg-pressed 2,000 pounds!

Evidently, when he’s not advocating the assassination of foreign leaders or blaming America for 9/11, he’s now found time to build super human strength thanks to his shakes. Clay Travis from CBS Sportsline puts this feat in perspective:

There is no way on earth Robertson leg presses 2,000 pounds. That would mean a 76-year-old man broke the all-time Florida State University leg press record by 665 pounds over Dan Kendra. 665 pounds. Further, when he set the record, they had to modify the leg press machine to fit 1,335 pounds of weight. Plus, Kendra’s capillaries in his eyes burst. Burst. Where in the world did Robertson even find a machine that could hold 2,000 pounds at one time? And how does he still have vision?

Best Joke I’ve Heard in a While

The CIA is looking to hire a new assassin for their department. After going through the initial screening, they narrow the field to three candidates: two guys and a woman. The CIA invites each of the applicants to their facility for one final test before they are offered the job.

The first guy shows up and the CIA leads him down a dark hall in the depths on Langley to a sparse room. Inside, the guy finds his wife sitting in a chair in the room. The CIA agents give him a gun and say, “To prove that you can follow orders in this job without question, you must show us that you can assassinate your wife.” The guy is shocked and tells them he can’t do it…he’s just not up to the job. So, they excuse him and bring in the next guy.

Again, with this guy they lead him to the same room where he too finds his wife in a chair and the CIA agents give him the same instructions. This guy agrees to do fulfill the task, so they give him the gun and leave the room. After a few minutes, they don’t hear anything and finally the guy comes out of the room and his wife is still alive. He informs them that he tried to pull the trigger, but he just couldn’t do it. So, they excuse him and bring in the final applicant, the lady.

They lead her to the same room where she finds her husband sitting in a chair in the room. The CIA agents give her the instructions that she kill her husband and she agrees. So, they give her the gun and leave the room. They wait a few seconds and all of a sudden hear 13 shots fired followed by a loud struggle with lots of shouting. Finally, after a few minutes, the lady emerges from the room and tells the agents, “You didn’t tell that the gun was filled with blanks…I had to take the chair and beat him to death.”

Apple Pwns Little Girl

Before Steve Jobs starts running Disney, he might want to figure out how corporations should deal with those little rug rats that we call kids.

When 9-year-old Shea O’Gorman and her third-grade class began learning about writing business and formal letters, she thought who better to write to than the chief executive of the company that makes her iPod nano.

In her letter to Mr. Jobs, little Shea offered her ideas on how the company could improve on its iPod digital music players, such as adding song lyrics so listeners can sing along to their tunes.

To the dismay of Shea and her family, the letter wasn’t from Mr. Jobs. It was from Mark Aaker, Senior Council of the company’s Law Department, telling the third-grader that Apple doesn’t accept unsolicited ideas, so she should not send them her suggestions and if she wants to know why, she could read their legal policy posted on the Internet.

Apple is also reported to have held a meeting this past Wednesday in which it discussed ways that it could amend its corporate policy when dealing with children.

Why Are US Airlines Going Bankrupt?

I don’t think you could find one quote to sum it up better than my pilot did upon landing in Chicago:

Our on time arrival apparently caught the gate agent completely by surprise. We have called and they said they’re on their way.

Coolest Judge Ever

What’s that, Your Honor? Did you just quote Billy Madison in your opinion?

Or, in the words of the competition judge to Adam Sandler’s title character in the movie “Billy Madison,” after Billy Madison had responded to a question with an answer that sounded superficially reasonable but lacked any substance,

“Mr Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. ”

Deciphering motions like the one presented here wastes valuable chamber staff time, and invites this sort of footnote.