Monday, April 30, 2007

Which one is not your image of a terrorist?

While I realize that there are awful people in many places and of different races, I suppose that I did not realize how my own personal stereotypes had been forming. Even with the horrors of Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing, I still looked at this picture of five gentlemen found guilty in Britian of Al-Qaeda happenings and couldn't help but revert back to my Sesame Street upbringing and sing, "One of the things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong."

I blame 24. And of course the media.

(The last dig was made necessary by virtue of his talking all through a highlight that wasn't his and ruining my enjoyment of the Cleveland Indians' latest victory.)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bad luck for this Irish man

I'm currently heading out to a wedding and won't be back all day. Miami just avoided Brady Quinn like I avoid a CVS and the immediate talk is that Quinn is now destined to sink way far deep.

As a Cleveland Browns fan, I sent an e-mail to a friend that outlined my preference for how I wanted them to spend the #3 overall pick.

1.) Jamarcus Russel - Off the board as the obvious #1
2.) Adrian Peterson - I'm not crazy about Jamal Lewis, but I understand why they didn't go running back
3.) Everyone else - OT Joe Thomas falls into this category
4.) Brady Quinn.

I got my wish, and apparently there were a lot more people with that type of draft order than I thought. Here's a silly thought. What if Quinn does indeed slide past the bulk of these midway first rounders since they all have a franchise quarterback? The Browns have the third pick in the second round and could package that and a little something else and still get Quinn. Wouldn't that be a coup?

Well, off to the wedding. Maybe Quinn will be drafted by the time I get home.

This day belongs to this man.

And his stylish, Sportscenter shades. Monday, he returns to the cryo-freeze.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thanks, agent, for this great gig

This man is Richard Gere, and in the picture above is engaged in an obscene act. At least that's what a judge in India thinks.

The judge watched a video recording of Gere kissing Shetty and found him guilty of violating Indian laws against public obscenity...Gere can be sent to jail for up to three months or fined or both for the crime if he is arrested. He is not in India now but can be held if he visits the country again.

The woman in the photo is Shilpa Shetty who is the winner of the prestigious version of Britain's Big Brother. Ends up they were attending an AIDS awareness hoopla-dealy, and Gere found himself unable to communicate with the audience since he didn't speak Hindi. The best way to do so, apparently, was to reenact a scene from his movie, "Shall We Dance." Whether the judge watched footage of the kiss or the movie is unknown, though I have to believe it is the former as he probably would have sentenced more harshly if he had seen the film in its entirety.

The important thing here is that Indian citizens are taking this all in stride.

Groups of men had burned and kicked straw effigies of Gere and Shetty in sporadic protests across the country after newspapers published the picture of the kiss on their front pages and TV channels aired visuals of the event.

Hey, I'm no big Richard Gere fan, but straw effigies? That's an awful lot of effort on a day off.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Very diverse must see TV

So how is it that The Office is roughly the 50th highest rated show on television and Grey's Anatomy is the top show? The Office regularly offers comical delight, with tonight's episode featuring a marvelous press conference gone wrong in front of the best of Scranton, Pennsylvania's media. Grey's Anatomy regularly offers tense moments, with tonight's episode featuring some Amazon fish swimming up some guy's penis nearly killing him.

So again I ask, how in the world are these shows at opposite ends of the Top 50 television shows today?

Statistical answers and another Chris Sabo reference

Catcher A: .323 AVG, 2HRs, 14 RBIs, 15 runs
Catcher B: .238 AVG, 1 HRs, 6 RBIs, 7 runs

Catcher A is Los Angeles Dodger Russell Martin. In spite of having looked up his statistics for this post, I'm fairly certain that I still have not heard of him. He did play in 121 games last year, hitting .282 in the process. Catcher B is the more established, and must be great because he plays in New York, Paul Lo Duca.

First Baseman A: .329 AVG, 6HRs, 20 RBIs, 12 runs
First Baseman B: .214 AVG, 3 HRs, 15 RBIs, 9 runs

First baseman A is San Diego Padres emerging star Adrian Gonzalez. He's in the process of following up his 2006 season in which he quietly hit 26 homers to become one of the Padres' best bats. Mr. B happens to be Chicago White Sox superstar Paul Konerko. I'm revoking the "super" and now only referring to him as a star.

Second Baseman A: .333 AVG, 7 HRs, 16 RBIs, 14 runs
Second Baseman B: .243 AVG, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 12 runs

Ian Kinsler is the stud second baseman with the big pop. I regrettably asked Ed, "Who the hell is this Kinsler guy that Yahoo auto drafted for me?" I suppose I did not complete my homework on that one. The other second baseman was first round VUFSA selection Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles. He is not as good.

Third Baseman A: .385 AVG, 14 HRs, 34 RBIs, 26 runs
Third Baseman B: .233 AVG, 1 HR, 8 RBIS, 9 runs

Third baseman A was actually a trick question, as it's the entire Cincinnati Reds offense. Or Alex Rodriguez. Eli gets the nod with a Chris Sabo reference (goggles!), but in reality the struggling the 3B is second year sensation and also a VUFSA first round pick, Ryan Zimmerman of the really awful Montreal Nationals.

Shortstop A: .298 AVG, 7 HRs, 14 RBIs, 19 runs
Shortstop B: .338 AVG, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 11 runs

Philly shortstop Jimmy Rollins had the big pop as player A (and added another homer since the original post was typed) in an otherwise inept offense. Miguel Tejada has six fewer homers and 6 fewer RBIs than Rollins.

Outfielder A: .295 AVG, 5 HR, 11 RBIs, 10 runs
Outfielder B: .149 AVG, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 14 runs
("A" is in the National League; "B" is in the American League)

Josh Hamilton the drug addict no longer is tearing it up in Cincy as outfielder A. Gary Sheffield the broken down guy with the huge swing is outfielder B.

Starting Pitcher A: 3-0, 0.62 ERA, 19 Ks, 0.93 WHIP, 29 Innings
Starting Pitcher B: 1-2, 5.00 ERA, 12Ks, 1.15 WHIP, 27 Innings
(Both National League Pitchers)

Atlanta Brave Tim Hudson is off to the sweltering start, probably thinking he is still in Oakland. Ben Sheets who definitely realizes he's in Milwaukee has tanked after an opening day clinic.

Relief Pitcher A: 0-0, 1.80 ERA, 13 Ks, 7 saves
Relief Pitcher B: 1-2, 7.11 ERA, 7 Ks, 0 saves
(Both American League Closers)

"Awesome" Al Reyes of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays has the best WHIP among all MLB closers. He's also second in the league in saves with 8, a remarkable achievement considering in his eleven year career, he had 6 combined career saves. Mariano Rivera is among the many issues with the might New York Yankees, still looking for that first save of the season.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Some early season statistic fun!

For anyone who wants to play, here are some statistics for some surprising (?) players this season. Without looking it up, how many can you get?

Stats are valid through Tuesday's games and answers will be posted some time on Thursday.

Catcher A: .323 AVG, 2HRs, 14 RBIs, 15 runs
Catcher B: .238 AVG, 1 HRs, 6 RBIs, 7 runs

First Baseman A: .329 AVG, 6HRs, 20 RBIs, 12 runs
First Baseman B: .214 AVG, 3 HRs, 15 RBIs, 9 runs

Second Baseman A: .333 AVG, 7 HRs, 16 RBIs, 14 runs
Second Baseman B: .243 AVG, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 12 runs

Third Baseman A: .385 AVG, 14 HRs, 34 RBIs, 26 runs
Third Baseman B: .233 AVG, 1 HR, 8 RBIS, 9 runs

Shortstop A: .298 AVG, 7 HRs, 14 RBIs, 19 runs
Shortstop B: .338 AVG, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 11 runs

Outfielder A: .295 AVG, 5 HR, 11 RBIs, 10 runs
Outfielder B: .149 AVG, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 14 runs
("A" is in the National League; "B" is in the American League)

Starting Pitcher A: 3-0, 0.62 ERA, 19 Ks, 0.93 WHIP, 29 Innings
Starting Pitcher B: 1-2, 5.00 ERA, 12Ks, 1.15 WHIP, 27 Innings
(Both National League Pitchers)

Relief Pitcher A: 0-0, 1.80 ERA, 13 Ks, 7 saves
Relief Pitcher B: 1-2, 7.11 ERA, 7 Ks, 0 saves
(Both American League Closers)


Ever wonder what the former governor of Alaska is up to? Probably not, but I'm going to tell you how Walter Hickel passes his time anyway.

He's hanging out over in Moscow coming up with fantastic ideas. He is hoping to remove the terrible traffic congestion in western Alaska and eastern Siberia. No, really he is.

Die-hard supporters are renewing their push for the audacious plan -- a $65 billion highway project that would link two of the world's most inhospitable regions by burrowing under a stretch of water connecting the Pacific with the Arctic Ocean.

Connecting two of the world's "most inhospitable" regions strikes me as being high on the priority list for eskimos longing for a return of pangea, but probably no one else. Not only is this highway tunnel going to be three times longer than the Chunnel that connects England and France, it's going to contain a railroad connection, too.

[It] raises the prospect of some tantalizingly exotic routes -- train riders could catch the London-Moscow-Washington express, conference organizers suggested.

Because who wouldn't want to take this direct route from London to DC? I mean it's probably only going to take weeks to make that commute. And for those thinking of the vacation possibilities, I hear that Siberia is real nice in January.

Winter temperatures there routinely hit minus 94 F.

But what about the price? Answer: a cool $120 million dollars. And that's not a penny toward the actual construction. That $120 million is simply for a "feasibility study." Not to worry, though, because those pro-tunnel people are convinced that project will turn a profit in a mere 30 years. That, of course, would be if the construction goes swimmingly and doesn't have any delays. Since construction delays never happen.

A Russian member of government did talk some sense into these crazed engineers. In fact, Maxim Bystrov made up my new favorite word for this tunnel idea.

"As a ministry employee I am used to working with figures and used to working with projects that have an economic and financial base. The word 'prozhekt' has a negative meaning in Russian. I want this 'prozhekt' to turn into a 'project."'

Monday, April 23, 2007

If only the public could read and follow directions

Yesterday, I conducted an experiment afternoon on the way home. On my commute home, there is a section of the highway that merges together forcing the speeding a'holes in the right lane to jam their way into the remaining left lane. Every day it causes a tremendous back up because the right laners zoom ahead and jump in front of the left laners. It is aggravating.

And so, I decided that from the very moment break lights hit a solid mile and a half from where the source of the problem was, I would create ample room to let as many people into my left lane as possible. It was up to six car lengths at one point, which is more than generous for any one truly interested in abiding by the approximately 4,000 signs over a two mile span that scream "THE RIGHT LANE IS ENDING MORON SO GET OVER."

I figured I would catch some people who thought they would be able to get over later or perhaps some out of towners who despite the ample notification were unaware that they should merge in advance. The experiment was to conclude at the end of the stretch. Once the gap was closed it was closed for good, and no one was allowed in.

This stipulation was due to my generosity having limits. With my recent schedule consisting of 15.5 hour open-to-close shift Sunday, 5 hours of sleep, then followed up with a 10 hour shift beginning at 6:45am Monday morning, I was admittedly ornery. Combined with the fact that my commute home began late because an interview was late did not help. For, I have a 60mph commute if I leave at 4pm, with the miles per hour dropping by 1 every minute after 4pm. Having had to leave at 4:45pm, a full 45 minutes after I wanted, I was destined for a 15mph drive home. Thus, I was feeling, shall we say, chipper.

As the mile and a half wound to a close, I had had exactly 0 cars take advantage of the space allowed. I can't say I was stunned, but I did expect to catch a few people. As we approached the ending of the right lane, I closed the generous gap. The green mini van who was in the right lane wanted over, but it wasn't going to happen. The lady was either going to hit me or drive off the highway. I honestly would have been ok with either, all the while hoping for the latter. But there was no room, and she had to come to a stop. Yes, that little stop that those a'hole right laners had caused us sign-abiding left laners to endure for the previous mile and a half was now rippling back and aggravating those that should take public transportation.

Best of all, the car behind me wouldn't allow Mrs. Mini Van over either. We created a beautiful seal off. Truly it was a small victory but a victory nonetheless.

One of us sings better than the other

While in the midst of a lengthy Walgreens shift, a nice, elderly lady last evening told me that I looked like Josh Groban.

She might also have been shopping for eye drops.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A revelation and then the color green

I finally have figured out where this blog is going. It was a subconscious evolution but one that is now obvious to me. I felt sports were too limited and better covered. So while I dabble with what's on my mind occasionally, this site offers next to nothing in the way of sports. I enjoy covering various TV shows and occasionally movies as seen by Tuesday's post, but this is no "what's hot and happening" blog either. And while everyone loves stupid criminal coverage, it's a safe bet that Jay Leno maintains a safe lead over me in this avenue, too.

So what then has Wolfden V become? Perhaps if I began labeling each post with a blue, red, green, or purple tab it might jump out at you as it recently did to me. I love the USA Today. I read every day's newspaper and even in the event that I get backed up a few days, a stack forms waiting for me to catch up (much to my wife's dismay). Each section of the paper appeals to me, and over time has manifested in a variety of blog topics that does not much differ from what I consume from the USA Today.

With that in mind, there's plenty of purple (life) and red (sports) coverage here on a regular basis, including the previous few posts. I occasionally jump to blue (news) for items such as Don Imus, but due to a whack job out in Virgina there's nothing but morbid and awful news to cover. As such, I feel it's time to embrace the green (money) section - a part of the paper that I have only dabbled in.

I decided to drift over to CNN Money, which frequently offers quality retirement writings, and examine an article by Carolyn Bigda. The starting point comes in the form of a letter from a 38 year old man who has spent his entire fiscal life spending and not saving.

"My instinct is if I want something I'll just go and get it...Up until now my life's really been about recreation."

The man naively believes that he can fix 15+ years of bad spending habits in two years where he will fiscally mature at age 40. The author happily points out that he has failed miserably thus far, and while it's fixable, this "I can always fix it later, so screw right now" approach is going to sting after while.

Those early-adult years offer the richest potential for growth: Invest $10,000 at age 30, and by retirement it will grow to more than $100,000, assuming a 7 percent annual rate of return. Wait 10 years and you'll have only half as much.

So not only has the guy dug himself a hole with the $40,000 in credit card debt he's carrying into his 40s, he has wasted away the most valuable years to have savings snowball. The small steps involves a $350 to $400 a month commitment to pay off that 40k. Instead of paying a credit card company some double digit a month cut on the interest, wouldn't it be preferable if that chunk of change was going into a saving, IRA, or 401(k) plan where you would not only keep that original dough, but turn it into more money through investing and/or interest?

Bigda suggests, as many personal finance writers and experts do, that young people take their retirement savings out first. Especially if done through an employer, that money comes out of paychecks pretax, meaning it will go further as taxes are not taken out of that cut of the check, and the temptation to spend the money need never exist as it is already deducted from the paycheck. Taking the time to set up the account and coming to terms that you really can live without that extra few percent is the hard part. Reaping the benefits in retirement is the fun part.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Does this surprise anyone?

From an article on NFL draft prospects over at

Dr. Mike

Seattle Mariners superstar Felix Hernandez left Wednesday's game after facing just five batters due to an apparent elbow injury. His coach, "Dr." Mike Hargrove, offered the following:

"A gut feeling? Felix is going to be OK. But I have nothing to base it on.'' -- M's manager Mike Hargrove.

And this is why we do not speculate on injuries.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Draft Overload

I've spent multiple posts loathing the month of February and loving the month of March for its respective sports relevance. Now deep in month of April, I am again pondering what this month means for us sports fanatics. Granted my sports consumption is disproportionally shaped by what ESPN throws at me, but I feel as if the network and to a degree sports fans in general who ultimately shape this programming, are missing the ball.

For two of the major (ok, one is really minor) sports, the playoffs are either just underway or less than a week from it. The NHL is skating through the first round and the NBA's season wraps up on Wednesday.

Baseball is just under way and despite a few fans already lamenting their season as lost, the fresh spring hope abounds for the majority of teams. The first wave of injuries (Soriano, Ryan, Carpenter) have hit teams and now comes the always interesting answer to how to fill the holes, whether through trades or minor leaguers about to come of age.

Yet for this excitement at both the end and beginning of major seasons, the dominant topic of conversation and subject of ample coverage are the NFL and NBA drafts. I remember way back when the drafts happened, we all read in the newspaper who we got, and we moved on from there. Now, Mel Kiper has his own ESPN 3 dedicated to his every move, and has their draft projector for the NBA that has Greg Oden going to a different team every time you play so as to satisfy each clubs' fans.

As for the NFL, I really only pay attention to projections on who the Cleveland Browns are going to select for obvious reasons. I shouldn't even do that as I get worked up about Brady Quinn reuniting with Charlie Weis and passing on Adrian Peterson. But then I think back to what happens every single year. The projections are right about a tenth of the time. Come draft day, trades are made, GMs not possibly as intelligent as the TV people make divergent decisions than were expected, and all the hype that surrounds a certain player quiets as he falls two whole spots from a team that had to have him. Many of these players will fill holes on their new teams, and some will be superstars that will shape the future of the sport. For most though, the 15 minutes of coverage heaped upon them on draft day will be the last meaningful exposure they ever have. ESPN and the media in general are so giddy, though, about getting in on the ground floor to have coverage on "the next Peyton Manning" that the entire event is overblown to make the day(s) seem like the definitive moment for all teams for the next season.

Over in the NBA, their draft, too, is getting much attention. Some of it on the college side and some of it on the pro side. Thanks in no small part to the epic buzz generated by LeBron James' skip from high school to college, everyone, likewise, wants in early on the next big thing. Nevermind all the disasters, just one good player out of the whole draft is worth this crazy coverage. This year, we happen to have two such phenoms on our hands in the form of Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. Their declaring for the NBA draft is certainly news worthy and for that I do not criticize. Just combined with all other things draft, it's cumulatively overwhelming. Now we've got teams playing to lose so as to have a better opportunity at these newly eligible draftees. Debate rages over the ethics of playing to lose to have a better chance at winning in the future and while I see valid points on both sides of that conversation, I think I'd rather talk about the playoffs (or baseball) than Ryan Gomes and the hapless Celtics plan to fit Oden in Boston's green and white.

I guess I wish back for those days in my childhood. Days when I had to walk seven miles uphill both ways, through the snow, and over the river to get to school. Days when the draft was a one day event and we waited to see what the new guy could do to help the team and fit in. Days, not months, worth of draft day build up was sufficient for everyone. In the meantime, I will suffer through this tired exercise of who should take who by consuming the rest of my orange juice and heading off to Walgreens.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Movie Review: Blades of Glory

While not part of my previous post, another entertaining activity partaken in this weekend was the consumption of Will Ferrell's latest movie, Blades of Glory. Now in it's third week of release, the show still pulled in a respectable 14.1 million dollars, $10 of which originated at the 12:25pm showing Thursday afternoon in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. The popularity of the movie is losing some steam as a result of its exposure and proven by an otherwise empty theater save a round man in a Bucky shirt and an attractive, skinny fellow who consumed more popcorn than that Bucky dude.

The plot consists of two ice skaters Jon Heder and Will Ferrell having completely different styles that leads them to a shared gold medal. Unfortunately, they have to stand on the same small podium sharing the spotlight, resulting in a comical brawl. A committee headed by Boy Meets World's Mr. Feeney kicks them out of the sport leading us all to long for an update on Cory and Topanga.

Both Heder and Ferrell's lives fall apart away from the world of professional ice skating. Only one man has the skills and drive to bring them back from their depression: Coach! That's right, Hayden Fox exploits a rulebook loophole that permits Heder and Ferrell back into the world of ice skating. The former enemies must overcome hate and division, not quite on the Jackie Robinson 60 years ago level, to come together and skate pairs. The male/male pairing leads to slew of homosexual innuendo that JR did not find funny, probably because he was sitting next to another man in an empty movie theater.

All goes well until the incumbent ice skating pair champions, the evil Van Waldenberg brother sister duo, plot to take down Heder and Ferrell. Somehow Pam from The Office, ever pleasant and delightful, is related to these hostile skaters and provides the love triangle tension that was bound to arise at some point in the film. She seems to have no lingering feelings for Jim (or Roy for that matter) as seen by her aggressive dating techniques including but not limited to snow cones and lingerie.

In all, the film is about what you would expect from the Will Ferrell genre. It probably will get snubbed come Oscar nominations but will establish fun one liners such as "Stranger Danger!" and "What the hell?" that are more funny when drunk.

I give it 3 wolf howls out of 5.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Whirlwind Weekend

Frequently I find myself seeking out stories or events to write about when I come here to Wolfden V. Then there are other times when I have 27 different ideas. After a whirlwind weekend, the latter is true at this particular juncture.

A Compass Pointe reunion took place here in Minnesota with my fellow roomies coming up from Kansas City and Milwaukee. I remember portions of their visit better than others. Images of Twins baseball, bowling alleys, and Wendy's frosties are most vivid in my mind. Some of these highlights of the past three days are written here in as entertaining a manner as possible so as to not bore the other 4 readers of this web page.

-Carl Crawford's base running blunder will forever be with me. Ends up the Twins/Devil Rays split their four game series at the Metrodome, but Tampa Bay almost certainly should have taken 3 of 4, a respectable feet considering the Twins are the defending AL Central Champs and Tampa is terrible. But, Crawford manage to run the Devil Rays into a loss in the 9th inning of Thursday's game by arriving at third base only to find Ben Zobrist already standing there. Both became panic stricken and ran in opposite directions allowing Minnesota to clear the base paths.

-Justin Morneau made Crawford's night worse. In the bottom half of the ninth inning, Justin Morneau led off with a homerun giving the Twinkies the victory. The ball just barely cleared the fence and, ironically, Carl Crawford's glove. Much celebration ensued.

-A formal presentation of Tori Hunter's gold glove actually kicked off the Thursday night festivities. Kirby Puckett's son threw out the first pitch to Hunter who showed off those fielding skills by promptly dropping the 30 mile an hour ceremonial toss. Egh.

-Two nights later Johan Santana's Cy Young was the pregame focus. His wife and two young daughters threw out the first pitch to Santana. After his wife threw a dead on strike (with bounce!), the youngest daughter decided she also needed to participate. She chased after the baseball which daddy gave her. She felt the need to show off her arm, and the toddler chucked the ball approximately 2 feet in the wrong direction. 25,000 people in the Metrodome in unison chuckled and said, "awwww." After the game, the Devil Rays signed her to a 2 year, 1.1 million dollar developmental deal.

-Elsewhere in sports, Tim Duncan was ejected from his Sunday game while sitting on the bench. I'm not entirely sure the whole situation, but referee Joey Crawford does not believe in "sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt." Chuckling on the sidelines, Duncan picked up his second technical by a feisty Crawford.

"He looked at me and said, 'Do you want to fight? Do you want to fight?"' Duncan said. "If he wants to fight, we can fight. I don't have any problem with him, but we can do it if he wants to. I have no reason why in the middle of a game he would yell at me, 'Do you want to fight?"'

Duncan probably isn't as completely squeaky clean innocent as his comments would allow, but I'm pretty sure that if I'm Joey Crawford, "fight" isn't in my vocabulary with a 6'11" 260 lbs professional athlete.

-Despite this fun NBA story, it's not even my favorite one from the weekend. That would belong to my hometown Minnesota Timberwolves whose futility is fascinating. Ricky Davis went crazy, scoring 42 points and dishing out 5 assists. He was so good in leading Minnesota that they back slapped Golden State in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Warriors by 27, 42-15. And yet, they lost. Not only did they lose, they were blown out. 121-108. Which of course means that Minnesota was losing by 40 at one point. 40!! Unbelievable.

-I am the best bowler in the history of Blainbrook Bowl. Recording an all-time personal best of 144, I embarrassed those who tried to defeat the mighty Wolfman. Not only this, but I accomplished this feat while 90% crippled in my right arm thanks to throwing totes into a Walgreens truck by myself the previous afternoon (Ed will attest to the level of difficulty here, especially considering my frail frame). There is a partial chance that consumption of alcohol later in the evening may have blurred some memories in this instance, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case.

-JR enjoys a bizarre combination of Raisin Nut Brand, Caffeine Free Pepsi, and Captain Morgan. In high quantities.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

How to win at The Price Is Right

I have always enjoyed the marvelous program that is The Price Is Right. It was the highlight of sick days while back in grade school and is now the portion of the day I schedule around when I have a weekday off from Walgreens. The show is marvelous with Bob Barker and his 150 year old body pulling off the same tricks day after day and week after week. The man has done nothing new in over thirty-five years and yet he is wildly popular (and rightfully so).

Yet for the show's massive longevity, very few people play the show's 80 some odd games well. As a student of the show and now with a background in retailing, I find that I succeed more than I fail when playing at home. In the event that any of you should ever find yourself in Los Angeles and a taping of this wonderful game show, perhaps these tips could make the difference between a new car and a gigantic tuba ushering you off stage after a poor performance.

Phase #1)
To win your way on stage, you need to bid well on an item. Person #1 and person #2 should bid as closely to the actual value of the prize as possible. Person #3 should try to exploit any huge holes in between bidder #1 and #2. Person #4 should win every bid with either bidding $1 or going with the highest bid + $1. Person #4 usually irritates me with a stupid bid right in the middle of the cluster instead of doing the smart thing and taking all the numbers higher or lower than the cluster.

Bid #1 Camping gear
Person #1 650 (winner, 821 actual price)
Person #2 525
Person #3 625
Person #4 626

Awful bidding. Person #1 and person #2 did a fine job of guessing fairly accurate prices. #3 bid terribly by going in between them and only acquiring numbers 625-650. That's a narrow window, and as such lost miserably. Person #4 also wasted a bid by acquiring even fewer numbers. She should have either taken $1 or the much wiser bid and the one that would have won, $651.

Game #1)
Flip flop
This game requires no skill. There are three possible prices with the contestant guessing which one he thinks is correct. The bidder did so and won a small golf cart thingy. Not sure what the practical purpose of a futuristic golf cart is, but he won it. Good for him.

Bid #2 Fire pit set
Person #1 1200
Person #2 925
Person #3 575 (winner 699)
Person #4 1

Better bidding this time with everyone grabbing a fair share of numbers. Person 4 did the wise thing by going to the extremes. Unfortunately, it was a bad extreme and she lost. Good effort though.

Game #2) Switcheroo
Not a great game as this one, too, is based on more luck than skill. The key in games such as this one that have a set time limit to match as many correct prices as possible is to move with speed. Audience assistance is worthless as everyone is screaming wildly and no one knows anything as it's a luck based game. Just do your own thing and do it quickly. Contestant won small prices but not anything worthwhile.

Bid #3 Weird looking chair
Person #1 650
Person #2 655 (1475 winning bid)
Person #3 450
Person #4 1

Once again awful bidding with person #2 totally not deserving to win. Person #3 should have exploited this terrible bid with one around $700 or $750 so as to minimize person #2's numbers and still tempting #4 to go low. Person #4 did go low, which while taking the extreme was a wise move, prizes on this show generally are in the 700-1200 range and going high with a bid of $656 would have guaranteed victory.

Game 3) Balance Game
A game where there is a 50-50 chance of winning and again requires no skill. Either the truck is $19,427 or $16,427. A perfect game for someone bidding as stupid as person #2 just did. As expected, though, she lost anyway.

Spinning the Wheel:
The object is to get $1.00 with one spin or a combination of two spins without going over. Person number 1 should stop with anything greater than 60 cents so as to put pressure on the next two to have to beat him/her. Anything lower than 60 cents should be defeated, anything higher and your chances of busting are too high. Person number 2 should do what it takes to beat person number 1 but not get crazy or greedy in an effort to get $1.00 or increase a lead. Person #3 needs no thought but just go in and spin and win.

Person #1 spins: 20 cents + 55 cents = 75 cents
Person #2 spins: 60 cents + 85 cents = bust
Person #3 spins: 95 cents (win)

All went as it should with the final spinner having the greatest advantage and with a good spin exploited it for the victory.

Bid #4 - Game Room
Person #1 2500
Person #2 1500
Person #3 1600
Person #4 2499

The worst bidding yet. Person #4 pissed away the last bid by going $1 under person #1. Awful, awful, awful. This person is stupid. Ends up every one overbid and we have to do it again. It would have been avoided if person #4 went with $1 but this was well beyond person #4's mental abilities.

Person #1 650
Person #2 1000 (*Perfect Bid)
Person #3 1100
Person #4 999

Person #4 once again blew it by stupidly bidding 1 dollar less than an already established bid. This person does not deserve to be on the show. A perfectly good place on contestant's row is wasted. I'm very upset about this. Everyone else did well in their estimations.

Game #4 Clock Game
Finally a skill game in which you guess the price of a product and Bob tells you higher or lower. You have 30 seconds to guess two products. It's a game that should be won every time. Smart bidding by consistently guessing quickly and smartly. The contestant did neither and still won. That shows why this game should be won every time.

Bid 5 Bikes
Person #1 850
Person #2 750
Person #3 995
Person #4 1 (710 actual price)

Outstanding bidding, especially by number 4.

Game 5 High Low Game
A game where you have to know something about everyday drugstore products. You must separate six products into two groups, the three highest priced items and the three lowest priced items. Not very difficult to do if you spend 50 hours a week in a Walgreens, but is more challenging if you are very old and do little shopping. This particular contestant did well and won a bedroom set for her ability to divide and conquer.

Bid 6 Floor Clock
Person #1 $1200
Person #2 $1275
Person #3 $1300
Person #4 $1425

If person #4 was serious about taking the high road, she should have bid $1301. Instead she lost out on 125 numbers. Not that it mattered as everyone overbid anyway.

Person #1 $799
Person #2 $800
Person #3 $830 ($1,035 winning price)
Person #4 $1

Person #4 bid wisely, but her past transgressions were too much to overcome and she should have gone high.

Game #6 That's Too Much
The game is always for a car and is rarely won. The contestant is shown a series of increasing prices and must yell "that's too much" once the ascending prices have just passed the actual price of the car. As stated, no one ever wins and neither did this chap. So sorry.

Wheel spinning #2:
Person #1 spins: 25 cents + 15 cents = 40 cents
Person #2 spins: 35 cents + 40 cents = 75 cents
Person #3 spins: 50 cents + 30 cents = 80 cents (Winner!)

Showcase Showdown!
A very careful bidding exercise where you need only worry about one other person and the dreaded overbid. As such the best strategy here is to bid about $2,000 less than what you think the actual price is so as to avoid overbidding and becoming disqualified. The only time you need heed the other player's bid is if they are obviously over. A safe bid is $1 and will guarantee a wide array of treasure.

Person #1 bids $19,777 on doughnuts for a year, a computer, and car (Overbid)
Person #2 bids $13,500 on living room set, spa, trip to Puerto Vallarta (Off by $10,986...Winner!)

Does this really happen over change? Yes. Yes, it does.

Outside of the service clerk speaking with the news when he really shouldn't be (and if he does "pissed" really isn't good terminology), I found this newstory interesting. Not sure where or when it happened, but I think it provides a small snopsysis of what I do for a living.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Imus and the Ho-Bag Scandal

The already getting tiresome story of radio personality Don Imus (picture #2) insulting the Rutgers women's basketball team has all the ingredients of a classic Wolfden V post. Let's run down the checklist:

-Someone in the public spotlight saying something stupid. Check.
-Those insulted foolishly flail about making a story out of something that would otherwise go away. Check.
-Greater themes of social and gender equity being drawn out of a spur of the moment, inconclusive piece of information. Check.
-Newscasts offering ample coverage of otherwise anonymous folk. Check.
-Most importantly, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson offering perspective. Check minus. The only bit of Jesse Jackson I can thus far find is this image of him (picture #1) marching with a sign having nothing to do with this controversy or support of the Rutgers team. No, it's promoting his Rainbow Push Coalition. Thanks Jesse, for once again offering absolutely nothing except the ambiguous reminder to "keep hope alive!"

So this all started with the widly (?) popular Don Imus offering his expert insight on women basketball runners-ups Rutgers Scarlet Knights. He called them all "nappy-headed hos." I'm not entirely sure what that means. Being the not-at-all responsible journalist that I am on this blog, I decided to look up "nappy." One definition said it was a small shallow dish and yet another said "kinky." A Yahoo picture search of "ho bag" offers luggage (picture #3), which also goes with theme of odd meanings to this whole phrase. Imus picked a funny derogatory word. I'm led to believe that it does have some racial degradation implication, so we'll go with that.

In the grand scheme of things, I'm fairly confident this would have all gone away as I can't imagine that Don Imus is regularly on the radar of Rutgers basketball. No, instead we decided to make a scene about this with Imus apologizing to anyone who will listen and news shows tripping over themselves to get coverage of the story. Al Sharpton had Imus on his radio show, which is probably listened to by even fewer people than Imus's program.

In the excerpt I heard, Sharpton took advantage of having Imus on his program to grill him. About the disrespect? No, of course not. Sharpton was mad that Imus had said that Sharpton had no right to call for Imus' firing. Imus denied ever saying that and said that Sharpton was entitled to his opinion. Sharpton, continuing to hear what he wanted to hear, replied, "So you believe you should be fired, then?" At the end of the exchange, Imus actually came out way ahead simply because he sat next to Paula Abdul, er, Al Sharpton's blubbering.

So then what of the Rutgers' team? They decided to hold a press conference to discuss feelings. Essence Carson, a junior, said, "We haven’t done anything to deserve this controversy, and yet it has taken a toll on us mentally and physically."

Physically? Really? Vomiting induced by insensitive remarks, perhaps?

Coach C. Vivian Stringer added, "[The players] are articulate, they are gifted. They are God’s representatives in every sense of the word.”

I'm sure they are articulate and gifted. They are in college, after all. But they are God's representatives of what? Forget "every sense of the word," how about one sense of the word? How is this related to Imus?

In an interview with NBC newscaster Brian Williams, Stringer also said that she would trade the national championship to make the world a better place with a happy outcome and educated populace after this situation. One problem. While a happy thought, she doesn't have the national championship to trade.

Mike and Mike in the Morning decided (for some reason) to get Stuart Scott's opinion on the matter. His ramblings referenced a dislike of blue eyed, blond haired women and his pride of choice in haircut. He wrapped up by wisely utilizing the example of Snoop Dogg and his "music" in saying that only black people can say bad things about black people. Huh?

In all, it's one of those situations where everyone gets so emotionally charged that nothing is making sense anymore. Was Imus over the line? Absolutely. Do people say oddball things once they get offended? Definitely. Is Don Imus an attractive man? Incredibly.

Monday, April 9, 2007

These guys make more than I do

Every year, I enjoy reviewing the salaries for Major League Baseball players because it reveals some grossly overpaid and underpaid people. It's amazing how the diverse payrolls can yield such wildly different results on the field. Below are the highest paid players on their teams and the player I consider the best bargain comparatively speaking.

Arizona Diamondbacks:
Randy Johnson (9.1 mil) versus Brandon Webb (4.5 mil)

Atlanta Braves:
Mike Hampton (14.5 mil) versus Brian McCann (440 k)

Baltimore Orioles:
Migel Tejada (13.8 mil) versus Chris Ray (420 k)

Boston Red Sox:
Manny Ramirez (17 mil) verus Jonathan Papelbon (425 k)

Chicago Cubs:
Derek Lee (13.2 mil) versus Rich Hill (400 k)

Chicago White Sox:
Jim Thome (14.8 mil) versus Bobby Jenks (400 k)

Cincinnati Reds:
Adam Dunn (10.5 mil) versus Brandon Phillips (408 k)

Cleveland Indians:
C.C. Sabathia (8.7 mil) versus Grady Sizemore (916 k)

Colorado Rockies:
Todd Helton (16.6 mil) versus Matt Holliday (4.4 mil)

Detroit Tigers:
Magglio Ordonez (13.2 mil) versus Joel Zumaya (410 k)

Florida Marlins:
Miguel Cabrera (7.4 mil) versus Mike Jacobs/Josh Willingham (380 k)

Houston Astros:
Lance Berkman (14.5 mil) versus Morgan Ensberg (4.5 mil)

Kansas City Royals:
Mike Sweeney (11 mil) versus Luke Hudson (422 k)

LA Angels:
Bartolo Colon (16 mil) versus Ervin Santana (425 k)

LA Dodgers:
Jason Schmidt (15.7 mil) versus Takashi Saito (1 mil)

Milwaukee Brewers:
Ben Sheets (11.1 mil) versus Prince Fielder (415 k)

Minnesota Twins:
Johan Santana (13 mil) versus Boof Bonser (398 k)

NY Mets:
Carlos Delgado (14.5 mil) versus John Maine (391 k)

NY Yankees:
Jason Giambi (23.4 mil) versus Chien-Ming Wang (489 k)

Oakland A's:
Jason Kendall (12.8 mil) versus Nick Swisher (400 k)

Philadelphia Phillies:
Pat Burrell (13.2 mil) versus Cole Hamels (400 k)

Pittsburgh Pirates:
Jack Wilson (5.4 mil) versus Ian Snell (408 k)

St. Louis Cardinals:
Albert Pujols (12.9 mil) versus Adam Wainwright (410 k)

San Diego Padres:
Greg Maddux (10 mil) versus Jake Peavy (4.7 mil)

San Francisco Giants:
Barry Bonds (15.5 mil) versus Matt Cain (650 k)

Seattle Mariners:
Richie Sexson (15.5 mil) versus Felix Hernandez (420 k)

Tampa Bay Devil Rays:
Carl Crawford (4.1 mil) versus B.J. Upton (386 k)

Texas Rangers:
Kevin Millwood (9.8 mil) versus Brandon McCarthy (396 k)

Toronto Blue Jays:
AJ Burnett (13.2 mil) versus Lyle Overbay (1.3 mil)

Washington Nationals:
Nick Johnson (5.5 mil) versus Ryan Zimmerman (400 k)

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Happy Easter

At daybreak on the first day of the week the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.

They said to them, "Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day."

And they remembered his words. Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles, but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them.

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone; then he went home amazed at what had happened.

Luke 24:1-12

Friday, April 6, 2007

A silky smooth laundry thief

A fantastic light-hearted story that I enjoy bringing to light as part of the "imbalance of intelligence" moniker.

Pullman, Washington police have had their hands full after breaking a theft ring led, operated, and executed by a single man. Garth M. Flaherty has been a busy individual. He's been busy swiping underwear. Yes, underwear.

According to the officials, Flaherty stole as many as 1,500 panties and bras from apartment laundry rooms since last summer.

That's an insane amount of women's underwear. But they break it down even more.

[Officials] say the evidence fills five garbage bags weighing 93 pounds.

93 pounds! This man was serious about his ladies' undergarments.

Chris Tennant [of the police] said many times people think of the traditional college panty raid. "That's really not what we're talking about here."

Perhaps my college experience at Valpo was not complete as I never participated in said "traditional college panty raid." I would imagine that 5 trash bags filled over several months would move it beyond the college prank level. That and the thief was not in college. But the important thing is that the stolen goods can be returned to their owners, right?

As for the bras and panties retrieved in Pullman, they will be held as evidence until after the case is complete. After that, it's unclear what Police will do with them, Tennant said. "Would you really want them back?" he asked.

No, I suppose not.

He faces 12 felony second-degree burglary charges and one first-degree burglary charge.

Not to mention a stolen crocodile.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Finally, The Office

That this blog has little to no focus is no secret. I've skipped from personal experiences to oddball news stories to sports events. It's still a work in progress, and it's a slice of what interests and bothers me on a regular basis, which I guess in it's truest form is what a blog is supposed to be. With that said, it is sort of amazing that something I'm so passionate about has made just one blog appearance in the form of a hat in paradise.

Tonight, The Office returns with original programming for the first time in what I believe is 9 months. The greatest show on Earth returns, finally.

The NBC has put forth feeble attempts to quench the thirst of The Office fanatical. A few weeks back they threw in a couple deleted scenes into previously aired episodes. That was fine, but nothing that altered any story lines or offered any profound insight. Certainly in a show as good as The Office their deleted scenes are better than most regular programming, but a few thirty second snippets aren't going to satisfy.

Last week, the network gimmick was a marathon of episodes hosted by Toby, one of the show's characters. By "hosting" we really mean he sits in character and offers funny (but not "Office funny") thoughts about life in Scranton, PA. Again, no truly new material and nothing that couldn't be missed.

But tonight, we have a brand new show. Not only that, it's a one hour brand new show. The last time The Office expanded from 30 minutes to one full hour, viewers were rewarded with probably the best show of the season in A Benihana Christmas. Given another hour with the promotional tease being "don't miss the first 2 and a half minutes," I don't see how this can't be a wonderful, wonderful evening.

Oh wait, yes I do. I will be working and will miss all of this. In fact, I work Friday morning very early to unload our weekly truck marking a fun turn around in which I will get home about 11pm and leave home about 6am the next day. That's seven hours, most of which is usually reserved for sleep but you better believe I'm spending an hour of it to catch up on the best show on TV before hitting the sack.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

This isn't something that happens every day

In full disclosure, I care very little for women's basketball outside of my beloved Valparaiso Crusaders. In fact, if not for the masterful job done by their coach Keith Freeman, I probably would not follow any basketball of any kind. The WNBA is not my cup of tea, which is why I find it odd that I feel compelled to say something about the overwhelming achievement last evening.

In the NCAA Championship Game last night, the Tennessee Volunteers under head coach Pat Summit won the national championship by virtue of a 59-46 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The win gave the Volunteers their seventh title, which is a crazy number of wins. Some had focused on Tennessee "finally" getting over the hump after making five Final Fours since 1998 without coming away with the crown. Geez, five Final Fours in nine years? That seems awfully nit picky to me.

In all, Pat Summit has made it to the title game twelve times. 12. That's two more than John Wooden when he coached UCLA in a time when men's basketball was watered down with a smaller tournament. That's five more than the next closest active college coach (Mike Krzyzewski 7) and seven more than the next closest women's basketball coach ( Geno Auriemma 5, Leon Barmore 5).

While the numbers are clearly outstanding, to take into account the consistently dominating work done by Tennessee is worth mentioning. To make twelve title games, you'd have to have, at minimum, three outstanding recruiting classes. The Florida Gators men's team with their back-to-back victories are leading debates about one of the best college teams ever. Imagine if Billy Donovan maximized the opportunities allotted to him by this class and made the title game every year that Joakim Noah and the goofs were in school, making four title games. Donovan would have to recruit that top tier class two more times, and win his way into the championship game every year of that class's availability. That's unheard of.

I suppose it's something to talk about, but as I listen to Mike and Mike in the Morning, they are debating whether Pat Summit could coach the men's side and bring that level of success and command the respect on the guy's court. I find it hard to get caught up in that discussion not 12 hours removed from what is a remarkable level of success and unprecedented championship caliber play. The dominating performance of a tremendous program and highly successful coach should be story enough.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Greatest Day in Sports

The happy times of sports are upon us. I spent a good part of my Monday off watching baseball, and it was refreshing to get back to America's pasttime. Some thoughts on day 1 of 162.

-I did happen to see the mayor of Cincinnati throw out the first pitch live to celebrity catcher (and member of the 1990 World Series Champion Reds) Eric Davis. Eric, who by the way looks to be in great shape and could have taken the field, would have been better off staying in his seat as the mayor missed the plate by, and this is no exaggeration, 30 feet. See above. I nearly spit out the special Opening Day chocolate milk I made for myself in a delicious laugh at the poor mayor's expense. It was the worst first pitch in the history of first pitches and truly embarassing for a grown man. He will not win reelection.

-Cubs fans better hope that Alfonso Soriano improves from his first plate appearance. He swung at the first pitch and missed (good lead off hitter). Then he swung and missed again. And finally he hit a dribbler to the pitcher. Not a lot of bang for the buck in at bat number one.

-Matt Murton has a gun out there in left. Woo-wee. I lost count after the eighth hop on a throw somewhat to third base somewhat to home plate.

-So Adam Dunn can hit a ball very far. It looks as if we have another typical Dunn year on our hands: 45 homers with a .200 batting average.

-Gil Meche outpitched Curt Schilling. That makes me smile.

-Also making me smile: Grady Sizemore taking Jose Contreras' second pitch of the season and driving it over the fence.

-Cleveland Indians 12. Chicago White Sox 5. The Indians are in first place in the AL Central and will now likely go wire to wire.

-Fantastic outing from Ben Sheets. Milwaukee fans have to be ecstatic. Now put him back in the bubble and only let him out in four days.

-After everything that has happened, I find it amazing that Carl Pavano, even under the injury filled circumstances that led to it, started Opening Day for the New York Yankees. And he performed just as you would imagine Carl Pavano would.

-Darin Erstad leads the American League in home runs. Didn't think you'd ever see those words put together now did you?

-As for that little college basketball game last evening, I don't know of any game where I've seen a team make more big shots than did Florida. They did not miss and every semblance of a Buckeye comeback quickly was squashed by yet another three point make. Noah may be an ass, but he backed it up and for that I give kudos. Whatever kudos actually are. He can have them.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Zack Morris for President

As is my morning ritual, I awoke to CNN's Robin and Company newscast. I'm not entirely sure why I watch it as, outside of the weather guy, everyone is terrible. I suppose I watch it because the local newscast is inexplicably worse, but I digress.

The first story irritated me right off the bat, which is good in that it wakes me up but bad because, well, it irritates me. Their lead story let us know that Hillary Clinton has already broken records in raising 33 million dollars in 3 months and that John Edwards has amassed 14 million for the respective Presidential campaigns. This is not a commentary about either one of those two candidates but rather a frustrating rant that the process sucks. Call me a purist but I find it crappy that you have to be rich to be in charge of a democracy. Furthermore, I know that the unending campaign commercials and future coverage of these campaigns that this money will fuel is far less noble an expense than putting some of that money towards, say, anything that these candidates stand for such as education or defense or whatever.

So after Robin rubbed me the wrong way, she led into a story about the British sailors being held hostage. Scratch that, President Bush called them hostages which has England crazy saying they aren't hostages. But really they are because they are there against their will, but no one wants to use a word that might rub someone the wrong way.

Seriously? Word usage? The leaders of the world are arguing over their use of the vernacular? Cripes, I thought my job of keeping plastic Easter eggs well stocked was a fairly unimportant task.

Ok, enough of this Robin and Company stuff, let's flip over to the now started Today Show. Matt Lauer as some political/world affair analyst discussing these captive British sailors.

Lauer: "So if Iran wanted to show itself as being a reasonable nation - one willing to deal in diplomacy and not violence then Iran would have already let them go?"

Analyst: "Correct. But they don't work like that. They want something. And they are assholes."

Ok, so I added that last line, but it would have been truthful and more interesting.

That's it, no more national news. I'm acting like a 70 year old watching programming, which I have to believe is a direct product from spending 45+ hours a week with this segment of the population. I know I'm getting old when my answer to most every international issue is "bomb the crap out of them." Time to get back my youth. I'm flipping to TBS.

Some months ago I made a critical discovery. TBS airs two full hours of the classic Save By the Bell program each weekday morning. On days when the news is so frustrating or repetitive, I flip to Zack Morris and the gang to take me through my morning. There's no arguing over word usage or campaign treasure chests. No, this is a world where Zack manages to lose and regain the girl in 22 minutes time. The man led a high school life that included (but is not limited to) being a key member of the basketball team and glee club, founding a rock band, and discovering oil on school property. This morning, he happened to find himself at a beach resort during which time he managed to find a way to wrestle a way the resort owner's daughter from a wealthy Boston frat boy. Oh yes, Zack did this while waiting tables and reconciling the girl and her father. The man is fantastic.

If Zack Morris ran the country, we would all be better off. He is charismatic, charming and a go-getter. In under half an hour, he could solve any critical issue and still have time to woo Kelly Kapowski. Most of all, we'd have a happy ending every time. There would be no hostage crisis. There would be no wasted funds. No, we'd have a 24-7 beach party where everyone is good at volleyball and the biggest issue at hand was Mr. Tuttle's pop quiz.