I’m thankful for: Fantasy Football Update

I won!

I won the regular season at least. In our league the first 13 weeks are the regular season and weeks 14-16 are the playoffs. I won mainly because every random player I drafted on a whim turned out to be great. Notably, Michael Turner who became the heart soul and scoring center of my team. This is even better than it sounds because this is a keeper league, so I’ll go into next year with a strong core.

I haven’t had many super-strong weeks lately. There’s a good chance I won’t win it all in the end. And may I add, how do the Titans put 47 points on the board without throwing to Bo Scaiffe!? C’mon! Either way I’ll be very happy, I don’t think I’ve ever won any league like this.

What I’m not thankful for: No prize for the winner. Bragging rights are nice, but cash is even nicer!

Links o’ Interest

Star Trek movie trailer. I didn’t realize was Trekdom was so riled about this one. It’s the story of Kirk and Spock, with new actors playing them. Looks very good to me.

Cut and Paste

The chosen people

Funny, and wise

What creature is this warning about?

Bruce Lee playing ping pong. Incredible (but true?)

IQ by occupation

Real class: Car of teens hits and kills other driver. They won’t help, but order fast-food to delivery scene. Follow-up: he’s escaped custody.

There’s bed-head, then there’s space-head

Yes, this is a real book

Bad jobs: Cranial brick transporter

I just love the internet.

AC DC’s newest video is in Excel ASCII format. Very neat.

To err is human…

Dying 11-year old’s last wish, feed the homeless.

Patriots Update

I feel it’s time to give some kind of report card on my beloved Patriots. My problem is that I haven’t seen many games. Last year almost every Pats game was on national TV, this year there have been only two or three. It’s hard to get a read. But lack of knowledge has never stopped me yet so here we go.

  • Defense: We haven’t had a good secondary since the Law/Milloy days. Getting older every year, but they are still getting it done. Mayo’s a monster.
  • Offensive Line: These guys are the key. Early in the season they looked terrible. Cassel was having bad games because he couldn’t stand in the pocket for more than a second. Everyone looks bad when they are about to be sacked. As they have tightened up Cassel has looked better every game.
  • Cassell and the long ball: Cassel started off throwing only short passes. Why? In the games I watched, whenever he threw it more than 20 yards it was way off the mark. I mean, way off. He looked like I would. I’m not sure what has happened lately but all of a sudden he’s throwing long accurately. This has opened up the offense.
  • Using Moss: In the first half of the season he didn’t even try to throw to Moss. What a waste! Now that he’s going to him a lot, Moss is catching them a lot. Funny how that works.

So is Cassel the real deal? Clearly, he’s a good player. But is it him, or the system? I tend to agree with Tuesday Morning Quarterback, it’s mostly the system. Belichik looks better every day. And trade Brady? It’s worth asking I suppose, but it’s crazy. Cassel’s playing well, but a few games does not a hall-of-famer make. Let’s see how things stand at the end of the season and talk then.

Muttroxia: Best of 2006 and 2005

As 2008 begins to wrap up, let’s take a trip back a few years. This is my personal list of the best Muttroxia posts of the first couple years. Better to do this late than never. (Best of 2007 is here.)

Politics & Government:
My analysis of the 2004 Presidential Election. I still stand by it.

Analyzing food combinations at Romano’s and Waffle House, why you’re always in the slow lane, and reality TV talent shows. I work the numbers on a particularly bad editorial, decimate an NPR talking point, and work through the game theory of stock manipulation.

Sports & Games:
Grading Sports and the Funnel Theory, 1, 2, and 3.
College Sports suck. The fans too.

Dumb Observations, Humor and Other:
Bad user interface on clocks
Paying at the Grocery
Roadsigns, roadsigns, and labels
Pizza Orientation (you’re still all wrong), and the pizza postulate (still holding up).
I discover I’m old, trying to play soccer with the young ‘uns.
The Bed-couch is still a great idea.
Death to Pandas!
Analyzing the top 500 rock songs, which leads me to the top Aerosmith songs ever.
I hate carseats. I really do. Plastic bags, Circuit City, encores, and tipping also.

Top 5 Indigo Girls songs

I didn’t realize what a strong Indigo Girls contingent there was in my readership. I haven’t listened to them for a long time. It was a good excuse to play two hours straight of music. This is mostly their first two ‘real’ albums, because that’s all I know. I have three more recent albums but somehow they never get on the playlist. So picking a top five wasn’t very hard at all compared to the Aerosmith exercise.

Another thing I learned from the Aerosmith. I have put links to most of these songs. But they are not tagged as .mp3s, you’ll have to add that to the filename. It’s my hope that this will keep the music thieves from stealing my bandwidth. If not then I’ll have to take all the .mp3s down from here also.

This was spurred on my commenters from my last post, go read that one. Funny how we all pretty much agree.

Galileo: This one has gotten better over the years. I think this was when they had figured out how electric they wanted to be. They were adding more instrumentation and featuring more of a band sound than before. The lyrics resonate with me more each time I hear it.
Blood & Fire: Not only is it a beautiful song, but very nostalgic. For a couple years in the ’90s I was hanging out with an old high school friend Amanda. Amanda was a singer and this was one of the songs we’d do together. It’s a fairly easy song to do on guitar (A, B, and E. Until tonight it never occurred to me to put a capo on the 2nd fret.), and it fit our moody style. Wonder what happened to ol’ Amanda. I gotta get on Facebook soon.
Closer to Fine: The classic that started it all. I play this one at gatherings, it never fails to get the girls off their feet.
Land of Canaan: I almost put down Prince of Darkness. I get them confused in my head. Prince of Darkness has a strong chorus and a good shout or two but lacks the verse and drive of Land of Canaan.
Welcome Me: I am not picking a number one, but I have a feeling this might be it. It still holds up. A great song.

Honorable Mentions:
Down by The River: This was in the top 5. Something had to be cut and since they didn’t write this one I pulled it out. I just love this kind of music. Deep moody electric music with strong chord changes. It’s the kind of song I sink into. (And of course you know that the original is by Neil Young, right?)
Keeper of My Heart: I really like the chorus. Here is my love and anger… Unfortunately that’s the only part I remember. I couldn’t understand why my copy of Nomads Indians & Saints didn’t have a song called Love and Anger.
Kid Fears: I can’t argue with Biff, it’s a great tune. It’s back when hearing Michael Stipe’s voice didn’t make me want to gouge my own eyes out. And it is a fun easy one on guitar, but it didn’t age well for me. The chorus is great but the verses were only so-so.
Midnight Train to Georgia: The original is great, but this cover holds it on and a little more. Ani DeFranco plays on this also.
Crazy Game: From their truly first album Strange Fire. Mostly forgettable, but this song has always stuck with me.

(By the way, chords for Down by the River, Closer to Fine, Welcome Me, and Kid Fears are available — email me privately.)

Amy Ray rocks

We caught her solo act last night. Awesome. Like the Indigo Girls, but electric and loud and hard. Girl can sing!

No, she didn’t do any Indigo Girl songs. At least none I knew, I haven’t kept up with the Indigo Girls for a good 10 years or more. She had the keyboardist from the Indigo Girls there. She was wonderful, could play great keyboards, instantly harmonized perfectly with Amy, and generally was getting down. The rest of the band was so-so. Certainly not bad but not particularly stand-out for a headlining act.

Amy is just immensely talented. Her singing is not only good, it has an incredible self-confidence. Not even arrogant, but after you’ve sold that many albums and toured that often, you just know that you’re good.

The guitar playing is great. Nothing complicated, but well-written songs that feature the guitar sounds. It’s amazing how much a simple rhythm works when it’s done just right.

Poker Update

Last night was a fun game. But I started off badly and it just kept getting worse. On my left was Jonathan. Jonathan (I think) and I were the best players at the table. And every time I had a hand, he had one also. His always seemed to connect and mine always seemed to miss.

I can’t count how many hands I had like 8-5 that I folded pre-flop and then the flop is 8-5, turn is 5. I fold J-7, flop is J-J-x. You expect that to happen once in a while but it was ridiculous. I’d have two high cards and nothing would hit. I’d have a medium pair and three overcards would come up on the flop. It was driving me nuts!

Big hand: I had A-10, he called my big raise. Flop was A-10-J. Sucked him all in by the turn. He had Q-J. He said he was out. As I pointed out his straight draw, the K came up on the river giving him his straight. Sigh. I went and rebought to catcalls.

Two hands later. I had Ax-10c. Flop is 3 low clubs. I check, he bets. I call. The turn is another club giving me my flush. He bets heavy. He must have a higher club than a 10. I know he does. And yet I call. His Kc takes it. I went and rebought to the sounds of laughter. “You’re out again!?” “Does your wife know you’re here!?” etc…

But finally things start turning. It’s not so much that I get lucky as that I fail to get unlucky. I work my way back. I double up through Jonathan, my K-10 hits for two pair, beating his two pair of Ks and 6s.

Let’s move forward to the end game. My sobriety advantage is kicking in. I don’t drink much when I play and I had a headache driving out. We’re down to four people and the top three finish in the money. I look down at 7-7. I raise the 2000 blind to 5000. Jonathan goes all in. Then Joe does also. Joe has me covered, I have Jonathan covered. It only costs me 6000 to call. I think my 7s are good and I’m getting roughly 5:1 odds. But I want to finish in the money. If I stay out and Joe loses he will be very short-stacked and if Jonathan loses he’s out. I announce it, “I have the best hand but I’m going to fold to see someone knocked out.” Joe’s A-K holds up and he collects a huge pot by knocking out Jonathan. Yes, my 7s would have won it but I am fine with a guaranteed third place finish.

But Joe now has the monster stack, Mel and I are battling for second. It looks like it won’t be me as I whittled down to a lousy 1500 at 1000-2000 blind levels. I can’t cover the blinds but I manage to double up. And again. And again. And again! 10 minutes later and Holy cow, I’m in it to win it! Mel gets knocked out and I’m in second.

I enter heads up with ~30% of the chips. Both of us are playing loose and aggressive. I almost knock him out, he almost knocks me out. I’d like to say the other players were gathered around to watch the drama but in fact they were putting on jackets and going home.

I go all in with K-6, he calls me with K-8. Looks bad. I do not get my 6 but the board brings a 9-10-J-Q, so we split the pot with King high straights. A few hands later I get 10-10 and instantly go all in. He instantly calls with A-x. The first card is an Ace and I go down in second place.

Despite a terrible play calling the flush, and an arguable fold with the 7s, I somehow make up for buying in twice and make second place. A good night. (Also very fun with a good crowd!)

Tonight: $15
Running Total: $595

Links o’ Interest

“You’ve been misinformed”

Overdue account

Mozart through bottles on rollerblades. Yes, you heard that right.

The perfect soccer throw-in

Why you don’t steal from Cracked

Children’s letters to God

This needs to be brought back

Smelling Tayshuan Prince’s neck

Why you should learn guitar

Jessica – WAS worlds fattest child

Sigh. It’s getting harder to make fun of Tony Romo every day.

Elderly Ghetto Gospel Choir Brilliant.

A review of my toddlers pretend restaurant

The worst day of my life, or how teenage girls act, or how the Salem Witch Trials started. (translation )

The same model shot as if she was age 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60.

Don’t bail out Detroit. By Mitt Romney.

A day in the life of Joe six-pack

Chuck Klosterman reviews Chinese Democracy

Remember Newman’s rant about how hard it is being a mailman? This one destroyed junk mail for years to keep up. No one noticed.

How much land does the government own? (Much much much more than I thought.)

A touching post on fundamentalist religion and brain death

Top 25 days in computing history

The lost photographs of Hiroshima

Thanks to the link contributors!

Ignorant Letter of the Month

Enough meta-blogging! On with the content!

Our local local paper gets lots of interesting letters. Look at the third one here, about the election.

I was surprised to hear that a state in the midwest (I think it was Iowa) did not have a winner-takes-all approach. It apportions the electors based on the popular vote percentages. Two electors were given to McCain and three to Obama.

So you could take the time to complain, but you couldn’t be bothered to see what state it was? (There are actually two states, Maine and Nebraska, that don’t have winner-take-all electoral voting.)

It seems that the individual states pass rules or laws on how electors may cast their votes.

It seems that way? It seems? Pick up a copy of the Constitution! “Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress” Just look it up.

In history, the framers of the Constitution set up the electoral college as a way to prevent an incompetent person from becoming president even though he my have fooled the general public.

No. Just… no. Where on earth do you get this idea from?

This man could be bothered to write 300 words to the editor, but couldn’t be bothered to see if he’s the first person with this idea. Sigh. Go check out the National Popular Vote website.

I have also noticed that the Democrats are starting to market themselves as progressives instead of liberals. This shows they now recognize that they cannot sell their old position and need to go a different way. Maybe the Republicans should do so also.

A stupid ending to a stupid letter from a stupid man. Douglas van Veelen, ignorant letter writer of the month.

More About Themes

I appreciate the feedback from everyone! I’m going to be switching around a lot over the next few days. Comments won’t make much sense as they refer to things that don’t exist. At the very bottom of the page, it usually says what software and theme is being used, try and reference that so I know what you’re talking about.

So here’s the story: The problem is that I can program enough PHP to hack up existing themes, but not truly design my own in a way that is stable. The last theme started as something called “Pool”. I had heavily modified it over the years. It had reached the point where I couldn’t get it do what I wanted. I decided it was time for a change.

I went to get a new theme installed and none worked. Everything crashed. This was because I was on an old version of WordPress. The lack of a new version also kept me from putting in some new plugins I wanted. And made general maintenance harder, I was not taking advantage of better user interface and tips that the new versions have. That was the impetus for the upgrade.

Now I have stable software again. The old theme doesn’t work anymore. That’s fine by me. Picking a new one is harder. The reason is that I am trying to get one that I like “out-of-the-box”, that won’t take a lot of editing. There were a couple that looked nice except for the font family they used. I can fix that fairly easily, but that’s the first step down the bad road I was on.

What I want:

  • Simplicity
  • Clean
  • Lists that look correct
  • A really good integrated search engine
  • Custom background images
  • Blogroll
  • Links to archived months, preferably with some idea about how much content is there

What I don’t want:

  • Avatars
  • Categories
  • Tags
  • All the meta stuff

What I haven’t decided on:

  • RSS. Does anybody use RSS? (OK, I guess Mike does.)
  • About this blog

Matt: I like your new blog theme. When do we get more content?

Muttroxia is Back

Sort of. It started as a minor upgrade of WordPress software and degraded into tech hell. I’m more or less back up and running now. I’ve lost the theme (that’s the look and feel), but that’s OK, I wanted a new one anyhow. (Update: I’m trying this [“Aeros”] for now, but expect it to change a lot.)

Also, I’ve forgotten some of those random taglines I had. If anyone remembers some, or has their own they want to see, send them on. “Critical Thinking” may become the default — it seems to sum up the attitude of this blog.

I found a post from three years back that had been made private for some reason. It’s now public, if out-dated and not terribly great.

A big thanks to Sid, who hosts the domain and got me the tools I needed to repair. Yay!

Links o’ Interest

I can’t believe we still have to protest

The Mayans were right about the world ending

Crazy driving at abandoned airport

Rowan Atkinson on the miracle of Jesus

Man with hiccups for one year

The End of Wall Street (by Michael Lewis)

Incredible pilot and landing

Chuck Norris Facts: The Opposing View

The Office is getting a spinoff

Patriots Rule

I suddenly like Jake Plummer a lot more

7 moments in mixed messages

Sexist clothing

Perspective: Middle East casualties

Quick Thinking

Golden Gate Bridge (pic)

Courage (Tuesday was Veteran’s Day)

Voting for a third Bush term. Really?

See where your username is taken on the internet

The Stupidest Exercise Machine

Best derriere in the world

50 things you didn’t know about Barack Obama

The t-shirt experiment: Tolerance fail

Science Fiction ship size comparisons

The kids in America

Man traps himself in balloon. Schmuck.

15 Greatest Adrenaline Rushes in the World

10 Last pictures taken

Things keep getting better in Iraq (seriously, I’m not snarking)

Can’t remember why progressives keep harping about Lieberman? Here’s the case against Lieberman.

Fantastic comment

Interesting messages/questions/profiles from around the internet

Poker Update

Early on, got A-A, got my chips in, got a caller, got doubled up. That was sweet.

Much later: Blinds at 150-300. I get Kh-Jd. Bet 700, mostly hoping that others will fold. I get two callers. The flop is J-7-4, all spades. Player 1 checks. Player 2 thinks for a minute, bets 700. I instantly raise it to 1500, about half my remaining chips. I think the odds are good there are no flushes out there (only six players at the table). Player 1 goes all in for 2,150. Player 2 considers for a while and then folds. I have to call – it’s 650 more for a $6000+ pot. He had the flush. I moved down to short stack status.

I never got another good hand. I only had 1500 left when the 600 big blind was on me. With A-2 I was forced to go all-in knowing that I probably had the worst hand. I did, that was that.

It was a fun night with good people.

Tonight: -$20
Running Total: $580

2008 World Series of Poker

Congratulations Peter Eastgate! You may be the most boring person to ever walk the earth, but you won fair and square!

More commentary tomorrow, I need to sleep.

* Youngest WSOP winner ever: I’m curious to see how Phil Hellmuth reacts to losing his title, but I doubt he cares that much. He’s moved on.
* Boringist player ever: C’mon, show some expression. Even after he won he still wouldn’t celebrate. I think I saw him shake hands with a couple buddies. What does it take with this guy? Maybe he was keeping focus with heavy medication.
* Boring table: The players just weren’t very interesting. Rheem was fun. The “November Nine” indeed. Ridiculous.
* Editing: ESPN skips most hands. Last year they showed about nine hands out of eighty or so. I think they showed four hands of heads-up play. I wonder how many hands there actually were? This is unfortunate because it means I can’t decide the most important question:
* Luck: On TV, it seems that Eastgate was ridiculously lucky. He knocked people out with trips after the flop twice, a full house, and won the entire tournament with the wheel straight. On the other hand, he got the straight because there was no pre-raise flop. Generally, people were letting him play cheap, giving him the chance to hit big hands. In coverage from previous rounds he seemed neither particularly lucky or unlucky. Where to place him? Commenters, do your stuff.

Yes, We Can!

Mrs. Muttrox was talking to the five-year old. She was trying to motivate him.

Mrs M: Yes we can! Yes we can! That’s what Barack Obama says and we believe it!
The Boy looked contemplative. He has been following the election and voted for Barack Obama in school election. Mrs M was moved. She was thinking, Wow, he loves Barack Obama. He’s really inspired by him just like us.
“What do you mean Mom?”
“Barack Obama, the new president. He says that. ‘Yes, we can!’. It means that even tough things aren’t impossible. If people get together and work with each other, and really try to do big things and change the world, they can do it. Yes, we can! Yes, we can!”

At this, the five-year old looked very intent. Here it was, the moment where he fully bought into the bigger movement. What a country. Barack Obama had captured something so profound and compelling that even a five-year old boy can understand his message and buy into it. What a truly inspirational figure.

“Mom, isn’t that what Bob the Builder says!?”