Friday, June 29, 2007

This is what I really really want

The Spice Girls are back!! Woo!! I'm fired up!! Time for Girl Power!!

It's hard not to get excited when they've thrown together this magnificent web page to support their forthcoming world tour.

For those too lazy to click over (and I would encourage everyone to do so just to see the latest in awesome web development), the page contains the following announcement:

Hey everybody!! We’re back!! Can you believe it!!

We’ve come together for an exclusive World Tour and this is the only place to register your details online! Just click the link below, choose which city you want to see us in, and fill in your information. Who knows if this will ever happen again, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity! To make it fair, we will randomly pick who gets to buy tickets. This is a chance for you, our real fans to come and see us — the last chance to dance!

Girl Power is back and stronger than ever. What are you waiting for.....

Lots of love

It's a personal pet peeve of mine whenever anyone portrays phony enthusiasm through the written word by using multiple exclamation points.

Be that as it may, those "real fans" out there can get involved with random ticket selection. That sounds promising.

I also enjoy how "Girl Power is back and stronger than ever" yet "who knows" if they'll bother to tour again.

There's a seventh grader in his basement giggling that he created this entire fake reunion tour. Kudos, good sir. Perhaps we'll run into each other Buenos Aires if we are both so fortunate to win the lucky Spice Girls lotto!!

Photo from The BBC

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Beethoven would be proud

Because I took so long in catching up on my newspapers, I can't find the link to the actual story. Instead, you'll just have to believe me that it came from the money section of Monday, June 18th's USA Today. As part of a recurring feature, the publication is making up various top 25 lists to celebrate their 25 years in the business. Sometimes they are uninteresting (top 25 cars - the crapmobile, whose "service engine soon" light is now flickering, did not make the list) and sometimes they are Wolfen V worthy.

Solely because I'm too lazy and have other stuff to do today, I'm only going to take a peek at the top 10. There are 15 others, but I pay 75 cents a day to get these hard hitting stories. I'm not going to give them to you for free. I mean, I usually pick out the most interesting thing and then write a witty commentary on it. How much can you want?

Here's the actual lead-in so you may be able to get a slippery grasp on the vague criteria used in compiling this one person's purely subjective list:

In 1982, ABBA disbanded, Public Enemy formed and Ozzy Osbourne bit off a bat's head. In the 25 years since, music has undergone cataclysmic changes. USA TODAY's Edna Gundersen picks 25 top milestones; share your choices at (Drew's note: Or

1.) Napster (1999)

Unlike many #1's that are weak, I back this one 100%. Napster was a revolution in the way people consumed music. A concert on the other side of the country could be bootlegged and playing on a computer thousands of miles away just hours after the original show finished. Never before had songs been so easily shared and digested. Lucky enough to have lived at this time in history, I was a full participant in the Napster days, a time we will never live through again thanks to legislation that closed the narrow window of confusion on what is or isn't legal. The Napster network spawned several spin-offs and multiple lawsuits while giving bands and songs exposure unlike anything ever seen. I miss the free-for-all.

2.) Live Aid (1985)

Despite my musical background, I don't have much to say about Live Aid having no recollection of the event that occurred while I was 4. It seems like a massive undertaking and unique in its reach to help humanity. I like happy things. It can stay at 2.

3.) Michael Jackson on MTV (1983)

#3 is a supergroup that I'm not entirely sure should be tied together. The advent of MTV is not on USA Today's list at all, and Michael Jackson also makes no further appearances. In 1983, MTV was a baby taking it's first steps, and it happily embraced Michael Jackson-mania. I don't know that either would not have been able to exist without the other, but they used each other to the max and created an unstoppable force that propelled each to their individual greatness.

4.) N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton (1988)

Call me old and stereotypical, but rap music is bad, loud, and for hoodlums. (No, it's not a mislink, it made me laugh so much the first time, I forced into another hyperlink.)

5.) Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

Ah, now we are talking. The birth of grunge and modern rock. Kurt Cobain's troop of lethargic looking punks released this first track from their Nevermind album and the music landscape was forever changed. Other bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were the roots behind Nirvana's upsurge, while other aspects of life such as the trendy and comfy flannel shirt rose to prominence. Several years later, Violent Rhythmic Cadence would win best amateur radio show in the country playing many of Nirvana's hits, including Smells Like Teen Spirit.

6.) iPods and iTunes (2001)

#6 still has time to shoot higher, unlike many others on the list. What Napster started, iTunes seemingly finished. iTunes remains the only truly successful digital outlet of music that everyone agrees is legal. It remade Apple's image, and paved the way for other new gadgets like the iPhone that just so happens to launch today. Time is still shaping the impact of the i-everything.

7.) Radiohead (1997)

I admit right off the bat that I have never gotten into Radiohead's music and therefore would not even have placed them on the top 25. The year listed, 1997, would seemingly refer to the released of their most critically acclaimed album, OK Computer. It sold just 1.9 million units in the U.S., which while nothing to laugh at, is not exactly top 25 worthy. I have to believe "The CD (1983)" (#13 on the list) deserves higher placement than Radiohead. Additionally, Madonna (#16) and American Idol (#21) do not make the top 10 while Radiohead does. Either has had a longer, larger splash than Thom Yorke. Blah.

8.) N'Sync (2000)

Truly N'Sync is a time capsule who at one time were the hottest - I mean that in multiple instances - thing on the market. Composed of what are now a Sexyback, a ballroom dancer, a gay guy, and two anonymous fellas, N'Sync turned to gold whatever they touched. A fixture on pop charts and TRL, N'Sync wiped the floor with other wannabes like 98 Degrees and the Backstreet Boys.

9.) Purple Rain (1984)

Prince is from Minnesota.

10.) SoundScan (1991)

Here's another revolution that's hard to rank in amongst bands and albums. Prior to 1991, counting album sales was largely a crap shoot. It's kind of amazing that it took so long to develop a meaningful way to count how many records a band sold. Now we can make fun of our cultural icons' inability to recognize tracks from known multi-platinum discs.

Photo from Midi-Classics

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Get them while they are hot

Feeling guilty about depressing everyone with that whole Chris Benoit thing, I wanted to bring you an afternoon post that let's you know that Summit League wallpapers are now available. Now you too can have the Eli the Eagle brighten your computer screen. 4 "different" (simply grey versus black background and one without the logos) are there to choose from, but really how can you not go with the one featuring that angry and fighting UMKC kangaroo?

Photo from (don't forget, it's .org and

Chris Benoit

I go and complain about the lead story being a civics-challenged Vice President and in return I get a murder suicide involving a professional wrestler I've followed for almost 15 years. I'm not going to complain anymore.

In my younger days, I was an avid professional wrestling fan. For about ten years, I watched every Monday Night Raw, read all the websites, and occasionally spent those allowance dollars on pay-per-view. In the last five years or so, I have not kept up the crazy pace of those youthful days, but I still know most of the characters and a few of the plot points. During all of that time, Chris Benoit has been around.

He was never as flashy as the guys that are commonly known like Hulk Hogan or The Rock. I recall on multiple occasions those charismatic guys would always "get under the skin" of Benoit by saying he was "boring" or had "no personality." The story lines always portrayed him as the no nonsense, rarely talking bad ass who let his in ring performance do the talking.

Benoit was one of, it not the best, technical wrestler ever. While other guys did practice those funny catch phrases, Benoit would make sure his moves were crisper and more convincing than anyone else. His in ring acting was the best, and it's why he was one of my favorites. As mentioned, I don't follow WWE much anymore, but I will say that I was pleased when I heard a few years ago, they finally let him win the big title.

Then he joins the ranks of guys like Mr. Perfect, The British Bulldog, The Big Bossman, Ravishing Rick Rude, Owen Heart, and Brian Pillman as another pro wrestler to die before 45. Illegal drugs and various other weird circumstances are still coming to the forefront, and I still can't say exactly how I feel about the situation.

The man killed his wife and child, which is unfathomable. Yet, when you watch a guy on TV every single week for ten years, you know you don't get to know him, but you feel like you have. I don't have that disgust for a guy who did kill his family that I would have if it were just some John Doe on the news. It's more of a sinking feeling where I wonder what in the world happened to this guy that's spent hours upon hours in front of me. It makes it just that much more tragic.

Dave Meltzer, a fairly well known wrestling columnist who has been around forever, aptly described it:

"You always rooted for him, because he was a good guy and he overcame the odds. It's like if you watched 'Rocky,' and in the end it comes out that Rocky killed his wife and his son."

The good guy I always liked turned around and screwed up his personal life where it came to this. It's a weird, weird deal.

Photo from The Wolverine's Den

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

All that stuff we learned in civics class was worthwhile after all

Vice President Dick Cheney apparently likes to mess with people. I like to mess with people, too, but usually I make sure to be on the right side before I start with antics.

The first news story in yesterday's USA Today (the front page is typically filled with features that could run on any given day - a clever trick I use myself) found it's way onto page 2 with the headline "Lawmaker challenges Cheney on executive order."

Now usually I bypass political stories because I find them boring and depressing. This one is both boring and depressing but also holds that special something that makes it worthy of a blog subtitled "imbalance of intelligence."

Cheney is pretending to be a part of the legislative branch of government. That's cute, but c'mon seriously, you're really part of the executive branch. You know, the one with the guy whose ticket you ran on in 2000 and 2004. The President, George W. Bush who is the executive branch.

The confusion stems from Cheney's role of President of the Senate, which he feels makes him a member of the legislative branch. Ok, that's all very good and an important part of the Vice President's job, but really? The Vice President doesn't regularly attend Senate meetings and only votes in the event of a 50-50 tie. As you might imagine, that doesn't happen very often. Not like say, working with the White House which would be an every day type of thing.

The sad part of the story is that this is even a story. This debate might make a respectable high school essay, but the most widely circulated newspaper (sorry, Eli) in the country is making this the lead news story? Politicians and presumably important people are spending valuable time and money making this an event? Ugh.

So why does it matter?

The dispute stems from Cheney's refusal to file annual reports with an office of the National Archive detailing the number of documents his office either has classified or declassified.

Wow. This argument is about Cheney unwilling to count some paperwork. Not hand it over or declassify anything. Merely, this dispute comes about due to the Vice President's unwillingness to say how many of each he has.

Why should he have to file this report? Because President Bush made an executive order in 2003 requiring stats such as these be reported to the National Archives. Cheney's own ticket made it mandatory! It's not as if some meaningless law from the 1800s was being dredged up to cause trouble. In fact, Cheney has even submitted this same information two years prior. He just recently changed his mind on his standing.

Cheney's spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride:

"He can either deal with the serious issues facing our country or create more partisan politics."

Or we could avoid this whole debacle if he just counted the paperwork and not make it an issue. He made it one by playing dumb about civics!

A claim by Cheney's aides [said] that the vice president's office does not consider itself an entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information.'"

And here's why I can't read political articles. The vice president - the man who is one step away from becoming the most powerful person in the world - isn't a part of the executive branch and never comes into contact with any classified information. Wow. Wow. Wow.

Mrs. Depreo where are you now?

Photo from Encyclopedia Britannica

Monday, June 25, 2007

Buy a prom dress, get a wedding dress FREE

While waiting for the Vatican's next Ten Commandments, I must move on and cover other topics. To start the week, I'm going to tackle the incredibly creepy story of the forty year old coach and sixteen year old student.

That's right, Brenton Wuchae, 40, married Windy Hager, 16.

Gross. Every person I have ever known named Brenton has been absolutely disgusting. (1)

So how does something like this happen?

There's no rational reasoning here. It's pure insanity. This debacle began when Brenton coached Windy, then a freshman, in track and field. It begs the question if Windy's name was derived from her fleetness of foot, fleetness of rear gases, or fleeting parental minds as it pertained to the naming decision. Regardless, the student-teacher, coach-player relationship evolved to the point where they were sending text messages at 2am, discussing, no doubt, cross country running techniques.

Once mom and dad grew concerned with this questionable contact, they contacted the principal. The school board threw up their arms and said that they no longer had contact at school and what happened outside the grounds were uncontrollable. I'm not sure I buy that. Sure, Mr. Smith does cocaine on the weekend - when not soliciting child pornography - but hey, that's outside of school so who cares, right?

The oddest part of the story is that the parents of dear Windy actually signed off on consent forms for the marriage to happen. Remember, this was after they sought the assistance of the school board, pastors, friends, and family to make the contact stop. It's not as if they had a change of heart, they simply gave up.

Meanwhile, the Hagers say Windy withdrew, refusing to speak to them until she asked them to sign a consent form so that she and her coach — a man more than twice her age — could get married.

"Signing those consent forms was the hardest thing I did in my whole life, but we had to move on, it was going to kill us all," [Windy's father] said.

Sure. Windy's a lost cause, so let's cut our losses and focus on Junior. Nice touch. Interesting that the dad thought the withdrawn Windy was going "to kill" the family, yet this alternative somehow seemed like the better option. The dreaded 16 year old, "I hate you" is no doubt chilling, but I can't believe that it's enough to say ok, let's allow a pedophile to have at you, my daughter.

The twenty-four year difference in age is troubling and to put it in perspective, Becky pointed out that it's the equivalent of either one of us marrying a current one year old infant. While we both find babies cute, we do not find them semicolon/close parentheses cute.


Photo from Above the Law: Legal Tabloid

(Also interesting, and this is on the photo link site, Judge Judy makes more money than all nine Supreme Court Justices combined. Who knew?)

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Pope drives 55 and so should you

I love being a Catholic. We get great things like Mary, crucifixes, and good works that are all stellar foundations for our faith. But when it comes to Catholicism you have to think of the Pope. And driving.

Perhaps inspired by a Pope Mobile incident a few days ago where some wacko decided to jump over a barricade, the Vatican has decided to rework one of the greatest pillars in the history of religion. No longer will the faithful have images of a bearded and sandaled man carrying down two tablets of God's law when they think of The Ten Commandments. Rather, we all can reflect on them while we are cruising down the interstate, for the papacy has issued the Ten Commandments of Driving.

1. You shall not kill.

Rising up four spots from last Ten Commandments, "you shall not kill" is the big mover of the millennium capturing the top spot.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

If I had a dime for every driver I saw out there seeking to do mortal harm, I'd be a rich man.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

Perhaps an asterisk denoting "uprightness" of the middle finger is not the meaning here in commandment #3.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

"Need" here is used loosely which seemingly includes everything from a 9-1-1 call to a gentle beeping of the horn to remind grandma to accelerate once the light turns green.

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

No need for confession here. The crapmobile Saturn I drive boasts neither power or domination.

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

If you ever wondered how a Catholic higher up would eloquently write "don't drink and drive," you are now satisfied.

7. Support the families of accident victims.

Continuation: Because if you do not, you will be obligated to support the families through spiraling lawsuits that will drain your savings.

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

I have never been in an accident, but the first time I do, I will ask the other party when they would care to undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness as our cars are being towed away.

9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

Clearly, this references ducks having sex on Highway 65.

10. Feel responsible toward others.

Much like JR's top ten lists over at The Trampoline Bear, I feel as if they threw in the towel here on the finale. This one is vague and would comfortably fit into any list from responsible driving to brain surgery to playing putt putt.

Photo from

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Baseball amusement

Occasionally I don't post about Bob Barker, and when I don't it tends to be about a goofy story or baseball. I have a goofy story all set to go and will be tomorrow's post, but today two baseball stories moved me.

The first involves Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder, Elijah Dukes. Admittedly, I had never heard of the guy until opening day when he hit a home run against the mighty New York Yankees. He did it again the next day, too. Since then, he's been fairly miserable batting .190 on the season (a mere 4 hits since May 27th will do that to you). And yet, I cannot escape the enigma that is Elijah Dukes. It's probably because he's an idiot.

Deadspin follows these types of things marvelously with an irreverent, condescending tone I only wish I could achieve. Dukes previously was arrested for domestic battery and shortly thereafter, had to bust out mathematic formulas to prove that the woman he had consensual sex with some time ago, was just old enough to ward off that pesky statutory rape charge that was being mumbled about.

As you might have ascertained, not only is Dukes not good at baseball, he's really not that good at life either. His intelligence was most notably lacking when he decided to call up talk radio and talk bad about his ex-wife or whomever it was he decided to beat up. I mean, why not bring this stuff up again?

"I know if I stayed with her I'd physically be in prison because she provoked me by hitting me. She done hit me across the head with a picture frame and everything. I hate that because I told my kids I would never go back to jail for no domestic violence."

#1) "I'd physically be in prison."
As opposed to spiritually?

#2) "She provoked me by hitting me."
At 6'2" 220 lbs and a professional athlete, I have to believe it was within Dukes' power to rise above the situation.

#3) "She done hit me."
You are ignorant.

#4) "With a picture frame and everything."
An enormous gamut that would no doubt include a flail and other medieval weaponry.

#5) "I hate that."
Hater in da house!

#6) "I would never go back to jail for no domestic violence."
Did I mention you are ignorant?

Now the other baseball story, while less a commentary on pathetic human beings, still causes a shake of the head.

Houston Astros pitcher Brad Lidge used to be awesome. The guy was unhittable until Albert Pujols cracked him in the 2005 postseason. Since then, he's never been the same. His ERA ballooned 3 runs in the season following the Pujols blast. This season, he blew his first save opportunity and then gave up 5 base runners in 2/3 of an inning his next time out. Understandably, Astros manager Phil Garner demoted him from his closer role and gave him mop up duty.

Lidge did not care for this.

"I'm definitely upset about losing my role after throwing in two games, after throwing in one save situation," Lidge told The Houston Chronicle. "Garner made the decision, and I will of course stand by it. He's my manager, and I'll do whatever he wants me to do. But that being said, I'm pretty ticked off about it. I guess the only thing I can do is use it as motivation."

While a master of the English language (at least compared to Elijah Dukes), Lidge was still "ticked." Admirably, he did use this as motivation and pitched fairly well mopping up meaningless games to the point where he regained his closer job.

He responded by blowing his first save opportunity.

Then he got hurt.

And now no one knows when he'll return.

How am I supposed to manage this?

Photo from

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A return and a final farewell

For more than a week now, you web surfers have been clicking on Wolfden V with disappointment. The festive Disneyland grand entrance mocked you. Drew must be away gallivanting through Mickey Mouse land while I sit dejectedly awaiting his return. And for sure it was grand time. Proof!

Even the random woman with arms folded on the right side of the photo was enjoying herself (presumably).

While the trip was a delightful respite from the mundane, I cannot say that it was all fun and games. As may have been mentioned on occasion, I was not taking this Bob Barker retirement well and while in California, the final original program of The Price Is Right aired on CBS. Now, it had always been an unrealized dream of mine to win fame and fortune on the program. I honed my skills watching an unreasonable amount of retail games. In fact, I think I scared my mother when I knew what game the contestant was going to play simply based on what part of the stage Bob escorted the contestant towards.

My first trip out to Los Angeles to visit my parents came last fall. The show was on hiatus while I was there with taping resuming two hours after my flight departed LAX. A devastating swing and a miss as I would get no closer to my coveted glory.

This, my second trip, came too late as the final tapings has already taken place. My opportunity to visit with Bob Barker had come and gone. Or so I thought.

On a day that was not spent lining Walt Disney's pockets, the clan took a trip to Hollywood to do touristy things like eat at the Disney Soda Fountain, gawk at the Walk of Fame, and take pictures of hand prints in the cement. At the conclusion of which, we opted for a tour through Hollywood and the surrounding Beverly Hills area. The tour promised dazzling views, insightful historical facts, and famous movie star homes.

The very first famous home we saw? Bob Barker's.

I didn't intend to seek out the man's house and in my defense none of the Wolf party had any foreknowledge of the houses that we would drive by. Regardless, I passed from "pathetic fan" to "scary stalker" quite quickly (and comfortably). Needless to say, the above photo is the retirement haven of the greatest game show host in history.

But, no our day did not end there. My evolution on the Bob Barker obsessed scale would frighteningly take another step forward.

The tour guide, an actor who apparently is the bailiff on Boston Legal and the best man in some wedding on Desperate Housewives among other credits, wrapped up the two hour adventure and turned back toward the Kodak Theater where the fun began. On the way back, we encountered tremendous traffic caused by a blocked off road. We would later find out that the closure was due to the red carpet roll out for the epic event of the Daytime Emmy

I would be lying if I said that I was any more than remotely aware that there was even such an awards show. Regardless, we found it all rather exciting that the red carpet was unrolled and television stars in their Hollywood best were parading before our very eyes. My mother was especially delighted at the various soap opera actors and actresses waving at the crowd, smiling and happy.

I knew pretty much no one of this crowd (vaguely recognized a few of the people on The Young and the Restless solely from that being the show that is on after The Price Is Right with the TV sometimes left on while I do other things). However, I did recognize some of the non-soap opera crowd. Oscar the Grouch and Elmo were among the first through. Dr. Phil, Ellen DeGeneres, Rachel Ray, Tyra Banks (no fewer than two people adjusted her hair and dress after every step), and even Jerry Springer. The latter actually returned a wave from my wife, which while very cool was still a little bizarre to have witnessed. Alex Trebek came in too, and I began to wonder if I might have my day yet. And yes, yes I did.

For the white haired blur you see in the above photo is the legend himself. Escorted by three of his Barker's Beauties, Bob Barker marched into the Kodak Theater before my very eyes. Later that evening he would collect his 19th (!) Emmy Award and several standing ovations. Thwarted from appearing on his show, I delighted in this appearance on the very day of the final Price Is Right airing. My life is now complete.

I could use one of those new car's they hand out on the show, but otherwise complete.

Photos from Mama and Papa Wolfman

Monday, June 11, 2007

See you next week

Photo from


In a time when Gary Sheffield makes racist allegations against Major League Baseball, African-American David Price of Vanderbilt is the first overall selection in the amateur draft.

Far more odd, David Price believes that David Justice is "the greatest baseball player of all time."

Steve Kerr, the Phoenix Suns brand new General Manager's first order of business? Answer: "I'm going to shop (Steve) Nash immediately."

2004 American League Rookie of the Year, Angel Berroa, is in the minor leagues.

Springfield, Minnesota went out of their way to say that The Simpsons don't live there.

50,000 pounds of peanuts can save a television show.

T.R. Knight is back next season on Grey's Anatomy, but Isiah Washington is not.

In a time where the Iraq War is going to determine the next President of the United State, cable news coverage shifted from the removal of Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to break the Paris Hilton is going back to jail story.

The London 2012 Olympic logo.

I suddenly have an urge to get connected and see what's happening in the city of Dallas. My sister is the reason why.

G-8 Protesters.

Since 1982, Eddie Murphy is the undisputed king of the summer box office starring in movies (Shreks/Beverly Hills Cop/Coming to America) that have grossed 2.89 billion inflation adjusted dollars, defeating Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones), Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible/War of the Worlds) and Tom Hanks (everything).

The Cleveland Indians have turned to Valpo for prospects.

The bright colors contained in those bouncy balls captivated more or your attention than anything else in this post.

Photo from

Friday, June 8, 2007

An interesting new phenomenon

I remember way back when Internet maps consisted of bulking graphics and big X's that marked the spot. Now a days, I get a satellite image and can see who is standing on the corner that I need to turn at. Most, myself included, find these changes quite nifty, but a few unexpected wrinkles have developed in this newest development in navigation.

A website called Roofads wants to develop your business with well placed sky advertisements. The company has been strategically developing its market near major airports for the last twenty-five years. Citing the millions of passengers that fly in and out of O'Hare, J.F.K., and Minneapolis-St. Paul among others, Roofads helps those local entrepreneurs who happen to be beneath frequented flight paths let those passengers know wants on the ground. Furthermore, Roofads is certified in California and "uses the highest quality elastometric paint and digitally produced vinyl sheets available," which I have to believe are both huge pluses.

Now, of course, the Google and Mapquest maps that use the high zooming satellite technology will allow Roofads a whole new market. I can paint broadcast my love for the Cleveland Indians on my townhouse rooftop and with the help of Roofads and their high quality elastometric paint, the whole world can zoom in and see Chief Wahoo. A USA Today article in Tuesday's Life section offered a few other examples of this new fad. In Long Island, New York, a man went with the personal and intimate marriage proposal with the dreaded short keyboard strokes painting "WILL U MARRY ME" on his rooftop. (I would be unwed right now if I had taken this particular method of proposal. Likewise, if someone asked me to marry them using the letter "u" instead of the word "you," I would absolutely decline.)

Google is taking the navigation assistance one step further by offering "street view," which involves thousands upon thousands of images taken by Google guys who have driven around major cities. The street view allows computer dorks like you and I to feel as if we are driving through the streets of San Francisco. A CNN article, though, cites an "ick factor" with this new street view. What if you are caught on camera while the Google guys are taking their pictures for later upload? In an analysis in said article one gentleman was picking his nose, another was passed out in a dumpster, and co-eds at Stanford University are now saved on-line as sunbathing at a particular location on campus. Certainly, no one wants to be forever immortalized as being that nose picker on the corner of Elm Street and Oak Drive. Google counters that it was in plain view of someone on public streets and therefore falls outside the spectrum of expected privacy and they are furthermore working on updating their street view images more and more frequently.

Until then, I would encourage everyone, while on your post-work walk, to make sure there is not a strange van with a camera before removing that wedgie.

Photo from Giulio Motta

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A final live blogging of Bob Barker

Yesterday, Bob Barker filmed his final episode of The Price Is Right, which is to air a week from tomorrow. Unfortunately, due to a work schedule that is not conducive to PIR watching, today will be my final opportunity to catch a new episode of my beloved show. As a result, I have decided to repeat the "How to win at Price Is Right" gimmick from a month ago.

Prize: Home Gym
Player 1: 1100
Player 2: 2000
Player 3: 1800
Player 4: 2001
Actual price: 2599

Strong bidding from everyone. They must have read my previous blog entry on how to bid.

Game: 1/2 Off

By accurately guessing which of two prizes are half off, you can increase your chances at winning $10,000. The woman contestant played decently (c'mon, a pet shaver at only $20?) and narrowed it down to a 1 in 4 chance. She picked box number 3, which is foolish since we all know the money is in box number 6. (Which was my actual guess, proving that even when luck comes into it, I'm a better player than these peons on the TV.)

Prize: Home Theater Sound System
Player 1: 999
Player 2: 1000
Player 3: 1200
Player 4: 1
Actual price: 1030

Not good bidding this go around. Player 1 invited player 2 to go over the top by selecting one number below a nice round number. Player 2 could easily have been cut off with an 1100 bid, and yet still managed his way on stage. No matter the numerical odds, it's tough to beat good bidding. Player 4 should get honorable mention by taking 998 numbers.

Game: Make Your Move

There are three prizes whose prices are all run together. You separate out which numbers begin to which prize. The wild card is that the big prize was some futuristic golf cart, which no one could possibly know how to price. The good news is that a shredder is definitely $59 and the chafing dish is definitely $799 thereby telling the contestant by default that the electric golf mobile is $7,995. The contestant was ignorant, fortunately he relied on a somewhat intelligent crowd to achieve victory.

Prize: Cabinet
Player 1: 750
Player 2: 900
Player 3: 1400
Player 4: 1150
Actual price: 1050

Everyone was doing swell until player 4 biffed it up. Player 4 could easily have taken 901 and taken the maximum amount of numbers including the 1150 he wanted. Instead, he bid right in the middle and cost himself the opportunity to win his way on stage.

Game: Let 'Em Roll

Eh. It's a car game involving dice. The only skill involved is knowing whether some drug store products are higher or lower than item before it, thereby earning more dice rolls in an attempt to win the car. The contestant easily maneuvered her way through the weak skills assessment (detergent less than vitamins which is more than skin cream) to earn the maximum 3 rolls. She needed only one as she rolled five cars on the five die to win the car in a moment that Bob is calling a historic moment as the first (and probably only) time a contestant won the car on a single roll. Yay luck!

(Note: I bet the guy who bid 1150 on the last go around is kicking himself for losing out on a car for his foolish pricing guess)

Spin the Big Wheel:

Spinner 1: 65
Spinner 2: 60 + 50 = Bust
Spinner 3: 95 (Winner!)

Prize: His/Her Golf Equipment
Player 1: 1200
Player 2: 2095
Player 3: 1351
Player 4: 1
Actual price: 998

Solid bidding. I like it win the $1 bid is rewarded with victory. All is well.

Game: Barker's Bargain Bar

Simplistic game in which the contestant picks which of two prizes is the bigger bargain based upon two prices the show has put in front of them. 50-50 chance game that the contestant lost. No sofa and no piano for you!

Prize: LCD TV with built in DVD player
Player 1: 1000
Player 2: 800
Player 3: 1541
Player 4: 1600
Actual price: 1399

Player 4 is doing his best to tick me off by not wisely bidding. It wouldn't have mattered as the wise bid, based on his line of thinking price-wise, would have been 1542. Otherwise, another surprisingly strong show of bidding.

Game: Cover-Up

This game is incredibly difficult to explain so I'm not even going to try. The player lost, and I spent the time she was looking into the audience to see if tornadoes are going to rip the roof off my store while I'm working this afternoon. The answer looks to be yes.

Prize: Trampoline
Player 1: 1300
Player 2: 750
Player 3: 800
Player 4: 600
Actual price: 828

Player 4 has once again screwed it up. Not only did he miss out on a chance to win the car earlier, his consistently poor bidding will keep him in contestant's row the entire show. Shameful.

Game: Squeeze Play
39124 are all run together. The contestant must pick which of the three middle numbers to remove in order to make the price of the bed that he is trying to win. He removed the "9" and he should have removed the "1" to create a price of 3,924. He had a one in three shot, and he swung and missed. Kind of like me. Darn that slow pitch softball. Deceptively elusive.

Spin the Big Wheel:
Spinner 1: 25 + 25 = 50
Spinner 2: 85
Spinner 3: 10 + 85 = 95 (Winner!)

Final Showcase Showdown:
Showcase 1: Trip to Italy/Sailboat. The bid was 27,000. A bit high? (Actual price: 22,869)
Showcase 2: Dining Room/Hot Tub. The bid was 14,130. Sounds close to me. (Actual price: 17,831) Winner!!

As has likely been ascertained from several Bob Barker related posts, I will miss the Price Is Right. Bob will, too:

"How many 83-year-old men get up every morning knowing that they're going to have a standing ovation sometime during the day?"

Photo from KOMO-TV

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Jericho fans sure are passionate

No, unfortunately, I refer not to WWE superstar Chris Jericho. Instead, I refer to the cancelled CBS television show and its rabid following.

The network apparently has been impressed by the display of viewer passion, which included the delivery of 50,000 pounds of peanuts to its New York offices. In the season finale, a character replies "Nuts!" to a demand that the beleaguered town of Jericho surrender.

Where does one find 25 tons of peanuts? I have to imagine shipping costs are astronomical for such a delivery. Not to mention the financial indentation into some one's pocket. I haven't seen the show, but that's an awful lot of time, money, and effort to save it.

Aw, who am I kidding? I would do the same thing if The Office were cancelled. It would probably take 50,000 Dwight bobble heads to save the show.

Photo from

Totally missed this

Jenna Fischer, Pam Beesly in The Office, busted up her spine. I realize she's not a huge celebrity or on the cover of every tabloid, but she fractured her freaking back in a fall down a flight of stairs. I realize that we all need to know Paris Hilton's every bowel movement in prison, but c'mon a little coverage for the lead actress in TV's best comedy?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Vroom vroom goes the Saturn

We have crap-mobile results! Very exciting!

Wiper Blades: $29.90
Engine Coolant Temp Sensor: $12.71
Intake Mainfold Gasket: $42.85
Coolant Temp Sensor Connector: $18.38
Coolant: $19.90

Brakes Clean and Adjust: $37.99
Engine Coolant Temp Sensor: $87.03
Intake Manifold Gasket: $406.14
Engine Performance Diagnostics: $95.00
Replace ECT Connector: $29.01
Hazardous Materials: $3.00

Grand Total: $815.77

JR, c'mon down!

Now, the good news is that I did not pay $815.77, but the bad news is that none of those repairs actually solved the crank turning when the breaks are applied, which probably would have pushed things over $1,000. A nice little warranty paid for $633.03 of the damages, but it still stung to go in for an oil change and come away paying triple digits. That and I'm fairly certain that they made up this "intake manifold gasket" thingy, and then they lazily threw together some concoction called an "ECT connector."

Photo from Maxim Auto Sales who is trying to pawn off the car in the picture to an unsuspecting yokel

An exciting game with fabulous prizes!

A wonderfully fun time for all those affiliated with Goodyear Tires, I am expecting a phone call any moment this morning. For last evening I took my beloved Saturn into their shop. Now, as has been documented before, these nice people manage to take a $20.00 oil change into a three digit bonanza. This time, though, I need more than an oil change. In fact, I need three additional things done to my car at a cost that is likely to equal Carl Pavano's contract.

1.) Oil change. This should be simple and $20.

2.) New windshield wipers. Currently, the rubber has split from the arm and when the blade moves across the windshield, there is a tail wagging wildly behind. This fix probably won't be too much, though I can see them upgrading to a super duper magic awesome blades that are costly and unneeded.

3.) The noise under the hood that sounds like a crank turning when the breaks are applied. This one scares me. This has potential for disaster with costs soaring rapidly with labor when they "can't seem to find" the root of the problem.

4.) The cigarette lighter no longer provides power. Of all the issues, I think this one is the most serious and potentially most expensive to correct. I heard talk of "electrical diagnostic," which I'm pretty sure is code for "cha-ching." But, this cost might be most controllable as it's a non-essential part of the car as I can suffer through having no car charger or no IPod if it means I can keep the already spiraling costs in check.

Total: ???

I'm going to play Price Is Right rules here where the closest bidder without going over wins. I'm estimating $421.13.

Photo from Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning

Friday, June 1, 2007

Wells Fargo excelling at that personal touch

With Becky and I being two twenty-something young-ins just starting off in the world, financial institutions salivate over our delicious demographic. With low incomes and high desires, credit card companies and banks want to grab us early and for a long long time.

Wells Fargo happens to be one of the financial institutions we belong to, and they recently sent us a mailing the shows just how much they value us.

Dear Parent of Rebecca Bird,

Remember that first tooth, the first step, the first day of school, the first really bad haircut?

As a parent, you've been there through all the stages - the good, and the not-so-good.
Now, you can take your child to The Next Stage with a Wells Fargo Federal PLUS Loan for Parents!

I may not be with you next week if the authorities find out that I share a bed with an unmarried 2nd grader. So glad to know that an institution to which we belong believes my wife is 8 years old, in need of her parents for lunch money, teething, and probably bald.

Photo from City of Thornton