Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fear the Flying Octopus Juice

Apparently, the NHL is incapable of cracking down on charging, boarding, blade-stomping, and head-hunting. But fear not, they're protecting the players from that most hazardous of hazards during the playoffs, and by that, I mean flying octopus juice.

For anyone who somehow is not aware, fans of the Detroit Red Wings enjoy a rather quaint custom of hurling octopuses (octopi? spell-check seems to think octopuses) onto the ice to intimidate opposing players. I think the logic is, "we're an old enough team to have odd traditions dating back to the early days of the league, fear us!" The eight legs of the octopus symbolize the number of playoff wins required in the old, smaller NHL to claim Lord Stanley's cup (today you need some kind of strange mutant octopus with 16 legs... or maybe just solder two of them together, I don't know). Whatever the logic is, its fun to know that some enterprising young miscreant smuggled a 20 pound bundle of slime and blubber into the arena (probably in his pants) for the sole purpose of hurling it on the ice. Then Al Sobotka, the head ice keeper at the Joe, comes out to pick it up and triumphantly fling it around over his head as he removes it from the ice. Good times for all.

Apparently though, opposition players have been horrifically maimed and injured by flying octopus juice as the critter twirls through the air. So now, facing league imposed $10000 fines, Al must meekly sit and watch as the linesmen (or more often, opposing players) deal with our eight-legged friends (somehow, this $10000 fine does not apply to Avalanche players that throw the things back into the crowd... the NHL never really did like it when people tried to watch their games though, that's why they show them on VS).

Anyway, the seven or so remaining NHL fans are saddened and have banded together to inundate the league with what is certain to be a stampede of petitions (half-a-dozen, by now, I'll bet). You can have you voice heard too (well, not voice, since it's text based... and not yours, because it's a form letter... but you're an activist! dammit! You will be heard!)

Sign the Free Al for the Playoffs Petition.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sarcastic Weasel Rises Above the Radar (Crap!)

The Sarcastic Weasel strives to remain below the radar of the omnipotent scourge of the interweb known as The Google. My main tool for maintaining my low-profile is bland content... bland content and unoriginal information are my TWO main tools: bland content, unoriginal information, and stale jokes (95% of readers of this blog can already see where this joke is going).

Unfortunately, with my recent post/plea-for-help regarding survival for peons on a merchant-marine manned vessel seemed to rise above the level of mediocrity and and uselessness you've come to expect from me as it has been cited on the gCaptain blog (you might want to use your browser's "find" function to... er... locatify it). I attribute this minorly regrettable event to the fact that the actual substance of the post was provided by Ish, hence the unusually less-crappy nature of the content. Also, the all-seeing eye of The Google never sleeps.

I do apologize for this lapse and will return strong (that is, weak) with some reviews of movies you've seen a long, long time ago, some lame, lazy postings, and then possibly go dark for a few weeks in the event that I am forced to drop out of society in order to advance the boundaries of human knowledge (slightly).

Monday, April 28, 2008

Out Out!! You Demons of Stupidity!!

For the past... I don't know... forever years the Sarcastic Weasel has faithfully read the daily free Dilbert strip presented on I've caught every on for at least the past five years. I did not subscribe to the email list because I hate subscribing to things. Also, if I visit their site, they can pretend like I'm looking at their ads (No one looks at the S.W.'s ads... *sniffle*). I don't read it in the paper as, being someone not living in the freaking stone age, I don't get my news on a dead tree.

But, about a week ago, changed their layout and got all Flashy and awful. The site is ugly, the archives are nigh unnavigable, and the page is busy and sad.

Today I noticed that I really haven't gone to read the thing in a couple of days and, instead of going and checking the archive, I just came here to blog. Furthermore, I don't really know if I'll bother to go back. The layout is that horrible. Scott, fix your damn website, it's a disgrace. And in the words of Saint Dogbert, "OUT OUT!! You Demons of Stupidity!!"

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Creeping Evil, War Kittens, and the Common Cold

So after successfully avoiding catching a cold this winter despite sharing an office with two guys who seemed to be sick all year, and after avoiding the flu despite working with one person and sleeping with another person who had said flu, now that it's nearly May, I thought this would be the ideal time to get sick... so I did.

Anyway, under the care of the Official Wife of the Sarcastic Weasel, I plan to be on my feet again by tomorrow (Oh, Nyquil, you are so wonderful and terrible).

In the mean time, I'll post a Capitol One commercial that makes me laugh. Mind you, this is not an endorsement of Capital One, just the ad... and its war kittens ("War-Kittuns?!"). Actually, Capitol One seems to be one of the more evil major issuer of credit cards. But since they have war kittens, they can be on my blog... just this once.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Earworms Ahoy!

Consider visiting the original source for better resolution and looping madness.

Number 1:

Number 2:

Definition of earworm.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Outsourced Review: H&K EFGB (Catholicised)

Since I haven't seen it (yet), I think though that this:

is the best possible review source for this kind of movie.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How To Survive At Sea (Ish Willing)

Today's post is going to be a pretty lazy one from my point of view, but hopefully interesting as well. I plan to take advantage of Ish's generosity and ego and ask him (when he sees the post) to fill in the bulk of the post in the comments section.

As stated before, the Sarcastic Weasel has a cruise in his future. Obviously not a fun cruise with show girls, all-you-can-eat buffets, and wave pools, but a cruise on an ONR owned vessel to do some vibrational monitoring using wireless sensing devices.

What I am hoping that Ish will provide, is a handy survival guide for someone of no rank or status (i.e. a grad student) who will be on a Merchant Marine run vessel for a week (or slightly longer). There are things I need to know like, what is the hierarchy, who should I definitely not piss off (besides everyone), what sort of bribes the crew are susceptible to (or do bribes make one appear weak), what kind of unwritten rules should I be aware of, what terminology should I brush up on, is scotch allowed on board, and with relatively light duties, just how the hell does one pass the time for 7-9 days in a big metal box?

Depending in Ish's schedule, level of apathy, and computer access, hopefully, the fun part of this post will arrive soon.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Move in the Right Direction

Hasek out, Osgood in.

Sometimes the Interweb Doesn't Suck

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Red Wings Flush Another Post Season Down the Toilet

Well, the Wings are busy choking again. I'm not surprised... well, not very.

Friday, they need to have Stewart scratched and Hasek as a backup, otherwise they'll be golfing very soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

PHD Comics: Two Strikes in a Row

The guy has moved on to be an instructor now, why then does it seem like he's still living my life?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Time for a "Stranger" Movie

OK, not really, but it's fun to think about the prospect of a Stranger in a Strange Land movie that doesn't suck. What are the odds? Well, considering the mess made of every previous R.A.H. film project (with the possible exception of Destination Moon which wasn't terrible, just boring), poor... piss poor. But, Stranger in a Strange Land could be a really terrific movie... in the right hands.

First off, the story is a fairy tale. It even begins with the phrase "Once upon a time..." The film would have to begin with a narrated segment if only to get those words in, then anyone who takes it too seriously can't claim that they weren't warned. Having narration at the beginning actually solves one of the other particular problems which is, how to present the events of "His Maculate Conception" in a compact and entertaining manner. For this, I'm seeing a fairy-tale style cartoon depicting the events of the first mission to Mars (the one that ends with an illegitimate child in the care of Martians and the rest of the crew dead). The narrator would relate the official, heroic account of how the crew was selected and how they performed leaving the disappearance of the ship a mystery. The visuals would depict the sordid truth leaving no mystery whatsoever what happened. That would take three minutes or so and allow the film to launch into the real action.

All right, I'm distracting myself from the fun part of this post, which is deciding who I would cast in the movie. Obviously, I have both infinite influence to get people to be in the thing and infinite money to pay actors. While I'm at it, I'm also the King of France... no somewhere nice... Romania. Here's my list, please feel free to tell me what an idiot I am. Also, try to guess who I'll have directing it (the answer will be given in the comments section at an arbitrary time interval later).

Michael Valentine Smith: Johnny Depp (He's already proven he can be the meek withdrawn Mike from the early stages of the book, and the over the top cult-figure from the later stages... and I think this guy was raised by aliens anyway.)
Jubal Harshaw: Patrick Stewart (come on, this one is inevitable)
Gillian Boardman: Reese Witherspoon (must look like a more wholesome version of Dawn Ardent)
Dawn Ardent: Heather Graham (must look like a trashier version of Gillian Boardman)
Ben Caxton: Aaron Eckhart (Got more money? Try Edward Norton.)
Captain van Tromp: Christopher Walken (He, he, he.)
Dr. Mahmoud: Alexander Siddig (Again, another Star Trek alum who's perfect)
Dr. Sven Nelson: Karl Urban (random pick here)
Secretary-General Joseph Douglas: Kurtwood Smith (For Star Trek fans, the big news conference would have to feature Douglas saying, “This president is not above the law”)
Anne: Nichole Kidman (the blonde version... needs a certain ice-princessness)
Miriam: Kristin Davis (make Miriam the brunette, I think she'd have great chemistry with Sid... he's already dating Kim Cattrall)
Dorcas: Diane Lane (make Dorcas the redhead)
Larry: Alan Tudyk
Duke: David Morse
Patricia Paiwonski: Jamie Lee Curtis
The “Reverend” Foster/Foster’s Ghost: Malcolm McDowell
Bishop Digby/Digby’s Ghost: Nathan Fillion
Senator Tom Boone: Robert Duvall (Maybe looking too much like Kurtwood Smith might be a problem)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Truth in Advertising

So essentially, I have been working in a climate controlled, basement dump for the past... few months I guess. Ever since I've started here, the University has been unable to solve the flooding problem in the part of the basement where my office is located. This fact is very ironic considering which department I work for. So our floors have been torn up and look like total crap for quite some time (so much so that students and faculty talk very derisively about us when they come to use the classrooms that are located here).

In addition, thanks to a very generous alumni donation, every graduate student office in the College of Engineering is having their antiquated and frightening office furniture replaced by new, high-quality furniture from a very reputable maker (that happens to be owned by said alum). Every office except our block, because of the flooding.

Now, this is fine. I know my current station in life. My occupation is categorized as "indentured servant" and it's really an accurate description. But for the past semester, I have been forced to endure the following mockery, posted throughout our office block:

Which is clearly a lie because this project will never be completed.

Thanks to the Sarcastic Weasel's "Truth in Advertising" campaign however, the signs have been rectified and the mockery ended. Thanks to me, we can all sleep peacefully in our beds, not because the situation will be remedied, but because we can all be honest about its indefinite duration.

Bad Kitty

I find Pearls Before Swine to be good, but rarely do I find it to be bloggably good. But there's something about the kitty...

Kitty Intro:
He's so cute!

Oh no! He's a terrorist!

Bad Kitty.

Why are cats always evil in cartoons? Was I the only one who wanted Sylvester to eat the smug, smarmy, snot of a canary?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's the Same! Everywhere, It's the Same!

Latest from PHD Comics. I've never quite identified with any fictional universe so much before in my life. So sad. So, so sad.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Movie Review: The Science of Sleep

I was going to begin this review with some hyperbolic and misleading statements about the unprecedented effect this movie had on me, namely that it was the first time I've ever paid money to watch a movie and been unable to finish it. Then I remembered that Natural Bork Killers had the same effect on me, so Nyah.

I was really quite excited to watch The Science of Sleep. After watching the stunningly great Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and being enthralled by the story, the visual tricks, and the finest, most naturalistic performance from Jim Carrey in the history of... well, Jim Carrey, I thought Michel Gondry's next major film would really be something to look forward to. Sure, Eternal Sunshine had Charlie Kaufman attached to it, but I wasn't yet entirely sold on Kaufman's brilliance. Being John Malkovitch was great, true, but that might have been Spike Jonze's work, and for me, the only brilliance that Adaptation showed, was that Kauffman is a brilliant self promoter (I mean come on, how many other script writers are anywhere near as well known as the guy who put himself and his imaginary twin into a major motion picture?). No, I was willing to give Gondry plenty of credit of making a really great science fiction movie (the best of the decade, so far) and wanted badly to see his next film (not badly enough to rent it in a timely manner, mind you, I'm a grad student, give me a flippin' break).

The truth about the Science of Sleep is that it's a mess. It's a horrible, breathtakingly boring, mess of a movie. The movie is full of very clever imagery and the dream sequences are as close to matching the feel of a real dream as anything I've ever seen on film, I'll give him that. But there was no story there. The film is nominally about the life and dreams of a loser, Stephane, with a bad job, no real talent, and a crush on his new neighbor. He can't seem to keep reality and fantasy seperate in his life. Those are fine things for a movie. But when the story is anemic, we aren't given a reason to care about Stephane (or anyone else, for that matter), and it's very difficult for the viewer to tell what is supposed to be real and what is in Stephane's mind, there's no reason for me, the viewer to tune in. The whole work is self-indulgent, as though there was no one giving Gondry any kind of reality check about what might be interesting to people, what worked, what didn't. It's like a parody of a film-school senior thesis, but with a bigger budget. In fact, here, let me save you some time. Watch this clip, it's like the Science of Sleep, but it sucks on purpose:

Clip is from the woefully short-lived show: The Critic, but you should know that.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Terrible but Yet Aweful at the Same Time

When I was 17, it was a very good Kirk.

Exclusive footage proving that Shatner will indeed be in the next Star Trek film!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Annual Humiliation

Now that I've saved the NHL, it's time to undercut all of the excellent points that I made by demonstrating just how horribly I can predict the winners of the NHL Playoffs. It's a bit of a tradition, I pick teams to win, they do horribly, I thank God that I'm not a gambler.
So, here it goes:

Montreal v. Boston
Every year the S.W. watches Montreal in the regular season and is very impressed by what he sees. Every year he picks them to do something good in the post season. Every year he looks like an idiot. This year, with Saku Koivu out and facing a Claude Julien coached Boston team that flew under the radar, the S.W. is going to do it again and pick Montreal for this round. I never seem to learn.

Pittsburgh v. Ottawa
Man, what the heck happened to Ottawa after October? Can they rally? The S.W. really thinks Crosby is an over-hyped whiner and that Malkin lacks the grit to do well in the playoffs, but the Senators need to make a major turnaround at the most difficult time of year to pull this one out. Pittsburgh.

Washington v. Philly
The Flyers are another team that started great and became roadkill later in the season. Apparently you don't play as well when you can't send all of the opposition players off the ice on stretchers. Washington barely made the playoffs from the pathetic SE division, but the late acquisition of Federov and Huet with Ovechkin's play down the stretch (Ovechkin seeming to be the real deal, unlike Sid the Whiner) makes them a team I wouldn't particularly want to play. Washington

New Jersey v. New York (Rangers)
Neither of these teams strikes me as particularly special this year. I'm going to give it to New York, just because Sean Avery is such a prick, he'll probably disrupt N.J. just enough to make a difference.

Detroit v. Nashville
Detroit is my team so I never see things objectively when it comes to them. They are the most talented team in the NHL, but heart and determination win Lord Stanley's cup. Can Babcock get them there? Judging by their play down the stretch, no he can't. That said, they should be able to get by Nashville, though I won't be shocked if they don't. Detroit.

San Jose v. Calgary
Every damn year those idiots at ESPN get together and anoint the Sharks as the inevitable Stanley Cup champions. Every year the Sharks embarrass themselves. This year though, I think it's their year. A stopped watch is right twice a day, you know... unless it's got an indicator for AM or PM, then it's only right once a day. San Jose.

Minneapolis v. Denver
Man, how many times do we have to see this match-up? On paper, the Avalanche are an amazing team. In person, not so much. Is it me or does the Wild field the exact same team of robots every year? Colorado will take this one, but it won't be pretty.

Anaheim v. Dallas
Man, this one was easy until Dallas got themselves a Brad Richards (everyone should get one). The Anaheim team, on paper, is a better team than the one that won the Cup last year. But will they have the jump and drive that allowed them to pummel nearly everyone? It really doesn't look like they do. The other big question is which version of Marty Turco will show up? Anaheim. I'm really iffy on this one.

Assuming I got the first round correct (HA!) the East will reseed as such:
Montreal v. New York (Rangers)
Man, why did I pick the Rangers? What was I thinking. I need to go into damage control mode here and pick Montreal. I can see the Habs ruining my bracket for yet another year.

Pittsburgh v. Washington
Sid the Kid versus Alexander the Great. The east obsessed sports media (those that are aware of hockey anyway) are going to love this one. It may be worth watching. Hard to say. Washington.

Detroit v. Denver
Ahh, for days gone by. The rivalry isn't what it used to me. The S.W. for one hates the Ducks way more at this point than he hates the Avalanche. Detroit doesn't get me all fired up this year, but I think they can beat a relatively uninspired Colorado team. Detroit.

San Jose v. Anaheim
See Round 1 analysis: I think San Jose has it this year. This would be a great match-up though.

Montreal v. Washington
How the hell did the Habs get here? I have to pick Washington to go to the finals to not pick Montreal? No wonder I always do so poorly on these things. Umm... do I think lead will spontaneously turn to gold or that the sun will rise in the west... Lets go with the lead to gold one: Washington.

Detroit v. San Jose
See Round 1 analysis. San Jose.

San Jose v. Washington
San Jose will win it all causing people in Boston to scratch their heads and say, "Didn't that Joe Thorton guy used to play for us?"

Want to play along? Post your picks (or a link to your picks) in the comments section. One point for every correct 1st round winner, 2 points for 2nd round winners, etc. Tie breaker: How many total goals will be scored in the Finals? S.W. goes with 29. The one with the most points wins the right to taunt the S.W. for months on end and perhaps other fabulous prizes.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Saving the NHL: Part 2

This is the second in a two-part series on saving the NHL. As mentioned in part-one, I'm not interesting in advancing ideas that will "save" the NHL for casual fans, increase TV ratings, or get back on a certain network that has terrible hockey coverage and charges for half of its poorly written, poorly thought out, and under-researched online articles. Instead, I have two modest and reasonable proposals to make the game better for dedicated fans such as myself. The first proposal is actually quite easy to implement and that is to protect the players. For the love of God, they're your product; protect them. The second improvement is much more difficult to implement, but is also necessary: TRAIN THE OFFICIALS.

I understand that the NHL is a very fast game. I understand that four guys in stripes cannot see everything that occurs on the ice when 12 guys are buzzing around. I also understand the people, players and officials, have bad days, but BY GOD! the officiating in the NHL is the worst in any major sport. I don't have time nor energy to list the problems with the officiating, but anyone who has watched a large number of NHL games over the past few years knows what I mean.

The NHL, in tinkering with the game to appeal to fair-weather fans, revises the rules a lot regularly, revises the definitions of various penalties: hooking, interference, goaltender interference, etc. Because the definitions keep changing, it is important that the rules be applied consistently. Consistency from game to game, from referee to referee, is a lot to ask, I know. But consistency from period to period would be nice. Both the S.W. and his lovely wife enjoy watching hockey, but due to S.W.'s unpaying job, money is tight to see games in person. Because we are Red Wings fans, upper bowl tickets are $50 a piece after the Ticketmaster anal-rape surcharge. I want that, when I pony up $100 for tickets, $15 for parking, and $12 for beer, I can feel comfortable that I will see a fair contest in which the hardest working team will win. When S.W. and his wife want last time, we watched a game in which was decided not by the play on the ice, but the incompetence of the referees. In the early part of the game, the Osgood put his glove over the puck to freeze it, the opposing forward did not try to play the puck, he kneed Osgood in the head to dislodge the puck. Fifteen seconds later, the puck was in the net. Later, down 3-2, the Wings have a tying goal waved off for phantom goaltender interference that was called based on Tomas Holmstrom's reputation rather than the actual situation in the game. Competent refereeing: 2-3 Redwings win, Actual refereeing: 3-2 Redwings loss.

When I watch an NFL contest, I am always amazed at how many times I watch instant replay of a play where I originally disagreed with the on-field call only to see that the ref got it exactly right at full speed. In the NHL, that almost NEVER happens. The referees are wrong so often, it is unreal how little use of instant replay they NHL makes. What really gets me is that NFL referees have day jobs; NHL refs are the supposed professionals.

To fix it:
1.) More training for referees.
2.) Financially penalize referees for calling reputation based penalties.
3.) Financially penalize referees for totally blown calls.
4.) Fire Dan O'Halleran.
5.) When replay clearly shows an obviously blown call, allow it to be revised.
6.) Allow fans to vote off referees American Idol style (well, maybe not, but something to make them accountable... sheesh!)

Actor and NRA president Charlton Heston Dead

Charlton Heston died this weekend so, everybody quick, you can take his guns away now!

(Disclosure: S.W. actually likes C.H. and the NRA, but funny is funny.)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saving the NHL: Part 1

There are a lot of theories about what's wrong with the NHL today: not enough fans, not enough goals, the utter impossibility of finding a game on basic cable (S.W. subscribes to Center Ice because S.W. has DirecTV), too much fighting, too little fighting, soccer like ties, the shoot-out, clutching and grabbing, goalie equipment too big, too many penalties, not enough penalties... I could keep going, but suffice it to say, there are a lot of theories.

The problem with most of these theories is that they are predicated upon the assumption that professional hockey should make whatever changes are necessary to appeal to the general sports fans and to the potential casual hockey fan in order to boost TV ratings, fill arenas, and get them back on that crap-hole network known as ESPN. As a more dedicated NHL fan, I am here to tell you this is a load of crap. Hockey has a smallish but loyal following and, outside of that following, is not well understood. People complain: "I can't follow the puck," "They're the only team sport with fighting, that means they're stupid goons," "Icing is too hard a concept to figure out," or my personal favorite, "There are too many rules." Compare the roughly 10 rules or so that professional hockey employs (generally to keep players safe) to the hundreds of subsections in the NFL playbook and you realize, people who do not now like the NHL, do not get it, and when it comes to fixing the NHL, their opinions don't count.

This brings me to the first of two issues that are really killing the NHL (tomorrow I will tackle the second). These issues don't annoy casual fans that might only want to see high-scoring, or hard-hitting, or big-brawling games; they are the issues that are killing the game for devoted fans such as the S.W. and they are the things that have the potential to drive home for me the fact that I am wasting my scant recreational time I, watching grown men play a kids' game (normally, I can live quite happily denying this fact).

The first issue has been alluded to in a prior post by the S.W. and recently by Ish. But to state it clearly: league discipline within the NHL is a complete and utter joke: a waste and a farce. It makes a mockery of the very concept of discipline, it makes a mockery of fans who would like to see a hard-fought, but clean contest, and it will soon get a player killed, this I guarantee. Hockey, because of the sheer speed at which it is played, and the unforgiving nature of the playing arena, is horrifically dangerous. A player along the boards with his head down can get checked and have his neck broken in less than a second. The players carry and swing sticks, smack an incredibly hard chunk of rubber around at 90-100 mph, and strap metal blades to their feet and hurl themselves at each other on ice. Without respect for one another, the game is unacceptably dangerous as a recreational activity.

For years this mutual respect has been enforced through the unwritten code of conduct: take a run at an opponent's star or lay an especially dangerous hit on someone, very quickly someone bigger and meaner than you is going to approach you at high speed, pull your sweater over your head, and feed you your own teeth. It wasn't a perfect system, but it worked pretty well. Then we decided that the casual fan doesn't like the fighting, that he or she is turned off by it and go watch boxing instead, so we make fighting and instigating fights too expensive in terms of penalty minutes for any team not already too far behind to care. This doesn't mean that the code is dead, but it have been crippled.

With the fighting dynamic of the code muted, and many coaches (like that fat piss-ant, Marc Crawford) repeating to their players idiotic crap about finishing you checks no matter what and sending special "messages" to the other team, it is incumbent upon the league to enforce discipline themselves. Since the danger of pummeling has been alleviated, the danger of harsh fines and even harsher suspensions must be clear, present, and terrifying in order to protect our favorite players (and I have a lot of favorite players that play for every team in the league, even the Ducks-go Teemu). Since Brian Burke was head of League discipline, this brand of discipline has lessened, not increased. Players made dirty hits that take out other players for months and received very minor suspensions: 2-3 games... bullshit. Since leaving his position as head of league discipline, Burke was G.M. of the Marc Crawford coached Canucks when Todd Bertuzzi broke Steve Moore's neck, certainly with the encouragement of Brad May, almost certainly with the encouragement of Crawford, and doubtless with the tacit approval of the GM. Now with the Ducks, Brian Burke has put together a team full of really terrific hockey players who also happen to be terrible human beings. His old favorites are there: Todd Bertuzzi and Brad May, and some new favorites like Chris Pronger. These are the players he likes; he would never seriously penalize their type of play.

With Colin Campbell at the helm, things are moving in the right direction (at a glacial pace) but penalties are still mild and inconsistent. If you are a less-skilled player with a history of unacceptably high risk behavior and deliberately stomp on the leg of another player with the blade of your skate, you can lose 30 games. I would have made it an entire season, but 30 is what Chris Simon got. If you are a marquee player, say for instance Chris Pronger, with a history of unacceptably high risk behavior and deliberately stomp on the leg of another player with the blade of your skate, you get an eight game suspension very conveniently sized to make you available for the playoffs. It's a joke. Do we care or not? If we can't care about something this fundamental: our ability to cheer for familiar faces and feel good about their chances of being whole and alive for next season, then I'm not sure if I can keep caring about the NHL.

Source: CBC, The Instagator Archives

Next time: The most incompetent officiating in pro sports.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Little Trip (Maybe)

It seems that the Air Force has been funding structural health monitoring (SHM) projects for quite a few years now and, in general, are pretty much happy with the faculty and universities that they currently employ. The word for the people who have been doing this work is, I believe, "entrenched." The Navy on the other hand, is relatively new to SHM and doesn't have the set preferences for certain groups, thus creating potential openings for younger faculty to move into (that's not to say that the people with Air Force munnies aren't jockeying here too).

Anyway, the upshot of this situation is that my humble research group is involved in a modest project to demonstrate the efficacy of wireless sensing on-board a naval vessel. Can microwave transmitters reliably shuttle data in the marine environment with machinery, bulkheads, seamen, and what-have-you? I think so, which is good because it's my job to demonstrate it convincingly enough that ONR will choose to bestow upon our group more precious fundin... that is, more opportunities for research, growth, and the advancement of human potential. I'm expecting good results.

The vessel that they are interested in monitoring is the experimental Sea Fighter, an all aluminum, twin-hulled behemoth designed to do 40 knots in relatively poor seas (Sea State 5 or 6) and nearly 60 knots in better seas. There's a crap-load of unclassified info about the thing out on the web:

The information in these sites lists the crew as being composed of Navy and Coast Guard personnel, but at this time, I believe that ordinary operation of the vessel is done with a Merchant Marine crew.

Anyway, in case the wireless monitoring system goes awry, I might spend a few days on the boat looking for good data (good data = rough weather). I do love boats and have never been motion sick in my life. Here's hoping my streak continues. Nothing about what I'm working on is classified. I'll be able to comment on and publish anything I do or learn. But I do feel a little odd posting online when and where a military vessel is supposed to be, so I won't. But, since smashing my body to bits on an aluminum bulkhead does sound like the S.W.'s idea of a good time, wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Motivation on the Upswing

According to this helpful graph:

I should be able to graduate in another 5 years or so. So, yay!

Also, it looks like I have some serious de-motivation in my near future. Hmm, I'd have to bet on Lenny to the one to cause it. A preemptive curse upon you, Lenny. No wonder I posted those pictures of you.

April First Blog Entry

Today is officially the single most moronic "holiday" on the calender. Yes, even dumber than National Date Nut Bread and Pardon Day (9/8). April Fool's Day grates on the Sarcastic Weasel's nerves like no other idiot concept... except perhaps multi-level marketing.

One might think that, given my strong discordian tendencies, my mild sadistic streak, and the fact that I am known in the blogosphere as the "Really Sarcastic Weasel" that I would embrace the practical jokes and pranking that accompany this inane day. But practical jokes have never really amused me; instead, they've always just pissed me off. The dishonesty that lies at the heart of any such practical joke is, I think, what really grates my nerves. To me, a thing is only funny if it is based on truth. In fact, a large part of the truly copious amount of sarcasm that the Sarcastic Weasel employs is just a way to state socially awkward truths (by telling intrinsically obvious falsehoods) in a way that is less socially unacceptable. I suspect that this is the root of much sarcasm. Obviously, within any community, total honesty between its members would lead very quickly to its demise thus necessitating the small fibs, lies of omission, and acts keeping your big mouth shut that prevent us from being considered anti-social, and/or being ostracized/pummeled on a daily basis. But the willful subversion of the truth (or what we believe to be the truth) for no benefit other than mischief undermines the very notion of truth, our society, and ourselves.

So, before you tell your co-workers that you accidentally erased their hard drive, or your "friend" that that you're moving to Nepal, or your spouse that you won the lottery, remember that, as a race, we human beings have many impediments to our ability to understand the universe. We have prejudices, irrational agendas, limited time, limited intellect, and limited memory. There may exist whole classes of things that we are not equipped to observe, directly or indirectly that we can never come to grips with. That doesn't mean that we have a right to abdicate our duty to the search for truth. There exist so many reasons for falsehood that, while ultimately poor reasons, do offer short-term practical gain, but so-called "practical" joke don't even offer that. Do not increase the obstacles that we face today. Use today to tear them down. Use today to be truthful... that will get a bigger response anyway.