Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I heart football statistics

I’m not hating on the Saints, but I’ve been looking over the statistics recently and I found a few interesting discoveries. For my purposes I’m not counting statistics from 1982 or 1987 as both were shortened and affected by players’ strikes.

1) The saints have never gone undefeated at home. Their best effort is 6-2 – accomplished 1991, 1992, 2008, 2009. Not a huge deal, but the Patriots have been undefeated at home 3 out of the last 4 years (2010, 2009, 2007).  I know, I know the Patriots aren't the defending world champions (but we don't have tickets, so we play the subway eat fresh mumble mumble mumble mumble) - but they did win those 3 Superbowls a few years ago

2) 1980 the saints had 0 home wins

3) The saints have never gone undefeated in their division. Their best effort is 6-2 (when they had 4 division opponents) and 4-2 (when they had 3 division opponents). – Accomplished 1979, 1990-92, 1994, 2000, 2006, 2009-10. Not a big deal to go undefeated in your division, I know, but the Raiders did it this year, and the Bengals did it last year…doesn’t seem that hard.  Just like "following orders" wasn't an acceptable excuse at Nuremburg, "but San Francisco was in our division" is not an acceptable excuse.  Cincinnati went undefeated last year and had to beat Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice.

4) 1970, 1980, 1996 the saints had 0 wins against divisional opponents

5) 1970, 1975, 1999 the saints had 0 road wins

6) When the Saints played at Tulane Stadium they always had a better home record than road record. All 8 seasons played at Tulane Stadium were losing seasons, the best of which was 6-8 in 1971.

7) Dome field advantage is largely a myth: the Saints have only had a better record at home than on the road, and had a winning record (because lets face it if you’re .500 or below it doesn’t matter anyway) twice: 1989 and 1991

8) The Saints didn’t have a winning season or make the playoffs until 1987 (strike year), but they almost made the playoffs in 1983 when they finished 8-8 (their 2nd non-losing season – the 1st being 1979). In the last game of the season, with the playoffs on the line, the Los Angeles Rams scored 26 points on one safety, two INT returns for TDs, one punt return for a TD and one field goal to win.

9) The Saints have played in 4 divisions in the NFC and don’t have a winning record in any of them:

1 year in the Century division: 2-3-1 [1968]
2 years in the Capital division: 3-9 [1967, 1969]
9 years in the South: 27-27 [2002-present]
31 years in the West: 79-122-4 [1970-2001]

10) Saints have tied five games in team history, only once at home (Tulane Stadium):

20-20 @ Detroit Lions – 11th game 1968 season (Lions 4-8-2)
20-20 @ San Francisco 49ers – 5th game 1970 season (49ers 10-3-1, the other game that year the 49ers won 38-27)
13-13 @ Houston Oilers – 3rd game 1971 season (Oilers 4-9-1)
21-21 Oakland Raiders – 8th game 1971 season (Raiders 8-4-2)
20-20 @ San Francisco 49ers – 6th game 1972 season (49ers 8-5-1, the other game that year the 49ers won 37-2)

11) The Saints have played with these div opponents, with the following records as div opponents:

Browns – 1 (1968): 0-2
Cardinals – 1 (1968): 0-2
Steelers – 1 (1968): 2-0
Cowboys – 2 (1967, 1969): 0-4
Eagles – 2 (1967, 1969): 2-2
Redskins – 2 (1967, 1969): 1-3
Buccaneers – 9 (2002–present): 9-9
Panthers – 16 (1995-present): 15-17
49ers – 32 (1970-2001): 18-44-2
Rams – 32 (1970-2001): 28-34
Falcons – 42 (1970-present): 37-44

The only winning record against a division opponent is against the Steelers.  When the Saints and Steelers were both in the Century Division in 1968 the Saints were undefeated against them, and then the Saints and Steelers parted ways, and have been in different divisions ever since.  The Saints also have the opportunity to tighten up this record by beating Tampa Bay the first time they play this year.  And if the Saints can stop giving the 2nd game against the Panthers away every year they should be able to right this ship against Carolina by 2012. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What’s up with I-310?

In light of the passing of Nate Dogg recently, I thought I'd post this essay I wrote a while back breaking down a song of his...

I’d like to share my thoughts on something that has been on my mind to share for months (if not years): an analysis of the lyrics to “Regulate” by Warren G featuring Nate Dogg released in 1994. I feel it’s necessary because I think that many people, like myself have never really contemplated the lyrics and have just taken the opening quote to mean that Warren G and Nate Dogg are bad asses who kill people. Without further adieu:

The song starts off with an audio clip from the movie “Young Guns:”

Regulators. We regulate any stealing of his property and we damn good too! But you can't be any geek off the street, you gotta be handy with the steel if you know what I mean, earn your keep!

The regulators aforementioned were real. Historically known as the Lincoln County Regulators, these gents played a part of the 1878 Lincoln County War in the New Mexico Territory. The regulators were basically a band of young men looking for revenge for the murder of their boss, and they were out for blood. This was a group of bad ass folks that you wouldn’t have wanted to come across if you could help it. Not to mention that the old west was a pretty tough place, and to be an enforcer in a time/place like that would have required you to be tougher than most (which is like a zillion times tougher than 99% of the people alive today – yours truly included)

After this initial quote someone (don’t know who) says:


Then Warren G starts in with the first verse:

It was a clear black night, a clear white moon, Warren G was on the streets, trying to consume, some skirts for the eve, so I can get some funk, just rollin in my ride, chillin all alone

Okay, I think this verse is pretty clear: Warren G is driving in his car alone, at night looking for some female companionship.

The next verse is sung by Nate Dogg:

Just hit the Eastside of the LBC on a mission trying to find Mr. Warren G. Seen a car full of girls ain't no need to tweak all you skirts know what's up with 2-1-3

Nate is driving in the Eastside Neighborhood (roughly bound by E. Willow St., N. Redondo Ave., E. 7th Avenue and the Los Angeles River) in Long Beach California searching for Warren G. While searching for Warren G, Nate sees a group of girls in a car, but doesn’t get too excited (since presumably he could just have his way with the next car full of girls). I think the reference to the skirts knowing what’s up with 2-1-3 is a way of alluding to the sexual prowess and general macho ness of men from Long Beach, from where Warren G and Nate Dogg hail.

However, one could be confused in hearing this song which was released in 1994 because in 1991 Long Beach was assigned a new area code: 310 [post title, yipee!]. Los Angeles has undergone 13 area code changes since since this song came out in 1994 and 213 today refers only to Downtown Los Angeles. LBC’s area code is now 562. I’m not sure how much of Los Angeles was covered by 213 in 1994, but for sure Long Beach had been 310 for 3 years when this song was released. So the men from Long Beach may be known for their sexual prowess, but they’re certainly not known for their current events, since they didn’t even know the area code of the area in which they were living.

Another verse by Warren G:

So I hooks a left on the 21 and Lewis some brothas shootin dice so I said "Let's do this".  I jumped out the ride, and said "What's up?" Some brothas pulled some gats so I said "I'm stuck."

While Warren G was driving in the geographic center of the Eastside neighborhood in his car alone, at night looking for some female companionship he observed some men playing a dice and he wanted to join in, however when he approached them to inquire about joining their game, they pulled guns on him. It is doubtful that he actually said “I’m stuck”. – It is more likely that he thought this rather than actually saying it out loud.

Another verse by Nate:

Since these girls peepin me I'ma glide and swerve, these hookers lookin so hard they straight hit the curb. On to bigger better things than some horny tricks. I see my homey and some suckers all in his mix.

Still searching for his friend Warren, Nate decides, despite of the reputation of men from the 213 area code, to show off a bit in front of the car full of girls. The girls were so enamored by the amorous Nate Dogg that they were stopped paying attention to the road in front of them, and crashed their car into the curb. After eschewing the girls he finally finds Warren in trouble, surrounded by guys with guns.

Another verse by Warren:

I'm gettin jacked, I'm breakin myself, I can't believe they taking Warren's wealth. They took my rings, they took my rolex, I looked at the brothas said "Damn, what's next?"

I formerly tacked the issue of Warren’s wealth vs. Lawrence Welk on my now nearly defunct blog on May 1, 2008, so I won’t belabor that point. So what I think Warren is saying here is that the guys with the guns took all of his valuables (I think we can interpolate that rings & rolex = jewelry, money, credit cards, dope, etc [anything of value]). But the next line has bothered me for some time. I don’t think he actually asked the guys with guns, “Damn, what’s next?” Warren G might have thought that, but I doubt he actually said it to the guys who were pointing guns at him…because the answer would inevitably have been “a bullet in your dome”, and no one wants that answer. I’d imagine that Warren was freaking about a bunch of guys pointing guns at him and robbing him, hence the lyric “I’m breakin’ myself”.

The next verse is by Nate Dogg:

They got my homey hemmed up and they all around, ain't none of them seeing if they going straight pound for pound. I gotta come up real quick before they start to clown I best pull out my strap and lay them busters down.

At this point in the song you have no reason to think Nate Dogg is anything but someone who talks the talk only. First, Nate says he’s not interested in the girls in the car; then, he tries to impress them. Second, Nate doesn’t know the area code in which he lives…he seems like all talk…until this verse. Nate says that Warren is surrounded, but none of those guys are interested in fist fighting Warren (obviously Nate sees the guns and is disgusted by their insistence on guns rather than fisticuffs). However, since the brothas introduced guns into the equation, Nate’s only option (although he’d prefer a good fist fight) is to respond in kind, with a gun. However, Nate Dogg also recognizes that he is grossly outnumbered and the un-wealthed, un-gunned Warren G isn’t going to be any help, so he must sneak up on these brothas/busters and kill all of them with his gun. At this point I think you begin to think that perhaps Nate can also walk the walk.

Warren’s lament:

They got guns to my head, I think I'm going down. I can't believe this happenin’ in my own town. If I had wings I would fly, let me contemplate, I glanced in the cut and I see my homey Nate

Warren clearly thinks this is the end for him. The next line doesn’t quite make sense either, because of the brothas/Nate’s reckless use of guns I do not accept that Warren “can’t believe this happenin’ in my own town”. It seems like since they start the song talking about the machismo and chutzpah of residents of Long Beach, California that it is expected that any random person could be murdered on the streets of LBC…in fact it happens in the next verse. Also the “if I had wings I would fly” bit seems a little ghey. Warren notices Nate, not a moment too soon…

Nate “regulates”

Sixteen in the clip and one in the hole, Nate Dogg is about to make some bodies turn cold. Now they droppin and yellin, it's a tad bit late. Nate Dogg and Warren G had to regulate.

Nate undoubtedly isn’t carrying a revolver since he’s got 17 bullets at his immediate disposal. It is unclear if Nate needs to use all 17 (I’m betting he’s a crack shot), but regardless the end result is the same: the brothas/busters that just a second ago had guns to Warren G’s head are all now dead, thanks to Nate’s stealthy moves and laser like accuracy. I think only because Nate Dogg is the one “feat” on the song (it’s Warren G’s song, after all) does he say that “Nate Dogg and Warren G had to regulate”. It’s pretty obvious that Nate Dogg was the one who regulated. Warren G sat there without a gun and watched Nate terminate the lives of all the brothas/busters. Nate Dogg is really the hero. Warren G is the guy whose “A” was just pulled out of the fire.

Nate continues

I laid all them busters down, I let my gat explode. Now I'm switching my mind back into freak mode. If you want skirts sit back and observe, I just left a gang of those over there on the curb

After killing the unnumbered busters Nate, a true man’s man, suddenly remembers those girls he said he wasn’t interested in impressing (but then tried [successfully] to impress), and quickly forgets about the killing. Then Nate, the generous guy that he is, instructs us (the listener) how to get girls [“sit back and observe”].

Meanwhile, Warren G says:

Now Nate got the freaks and that's a known fact, before I got jacked I was on the same track. Back up back up cause it's on: N A T E and me the Warren to the G

I think what Warren G is saying here is only about ½ reliable. Although I believe Nate likes women, I’m starting to think that “skirts” Warren G was singing about in the first verse may have been men in skirts. After all, if you were cruising the streets looking for ahem, “female companionship” why would you stop at a dice game being played by a bunch of dudes? The answer: you wouldn’t, you’d keep on moving to find those females, hit it, and then quit it. However, if you were looking for a man in a skirt (as it were), and you saw a group of guys, and you know that roughly 10% of people are ghey (and possibly a higher percentage in and around Los Angeles where that sort of thing is trendy), and therefore the odds are pretty high of there being at least 1 ghey guy in the group, then you stop and “shoot dice with them” (so to speak). Therefore, I’m not sure Warren G was on the “same track” as Nate, as indicated in this verse.

Nate (as smooth as ever)

Just like I thought they were in the same spot in need of some desperate help. But Nate Dogg and the G-child were in need of something else. One of them dames was sexy as hell, I said "ooo I like your size." She said "my car's broke down and you seem real nice, would ya let me ride?" I got a car full of girls and it's going real swell the next stop is the Eastside Motel.

Nate, once again finds the girls that in verse 4 “hit the curb” and apparently their car is wrecked. Nate’s “gliding and swerving” caused them to wreck their car. We could only be so lucky to glide and swerve in a fashion as capable as Nate Dogg.

I think also Nate gives a closeted reference to his & Warren G’s differing sexual preferences by saying “Nate Dogg and the G-child were in need of something else”, meaning they were in need of different things (vagina vs. penis, in this case).

One of the girls starts hitting on Nate, and before you know it she and all of the girlfriends who were formerly in the wrecked car are in Nate’s car, and they’re all going back to the Eastside Motel, presumably to fornicate. Remember in verses 1 & 2 it is obvious that Warren and Nate are in different cars, so at the end of this verse it is evident that Nate is going to the motel to fornicate and Warren is alone in his car, left to seek his “alternative” companionship alone, because Warren G quickly changes the subject to something else…

Warren’s subject change

I'm tweaking into a whole new era, G-Funk step to this, I dare ya. Funk on a whole new level…

I think “tweaking into a whole new era” means that Warren has decided to come out of the closet and live an openly ghey lifestyle. It’s really Funk on a whole new level…

Nate adds:

the rhythm is the bass and the bass is the treble

Nate senses the upside down unnatural order of Warren’s carnal lustings and in this line pontificates how Warren has switched teams (so to speak): “the bass is the treble” – could it be any more obvious?

Warren continues along his changed subject line

Chords. Strings. We brings: Melody. G-Funk: where rhythm is life, and life is rhythm

More cryptic ghey references…

Nate finishes strong, like a Man

If you know like I know, you don't wanna step to this. It's the G-Funk era, funked out with a gangsta twist. If you smoke like I smoke, then you’re high like everyday, And if your ass is a buster 2-1-3 will regulate.

In the first line of the last verse Nate is saying this: don’t mess with him or he will kill you with his gun. Unless you don’t have a gun, in which case Nate will pummel you to death with his fists. Then Nate goes on to flaunt his lawlessness and say that he smokes drugs everyday. Not most days, not occasionally, not “when I’m at a bar,” but EVERY DAY. 

So basically the song paints a vivid picture that Nate is a real ladies man who can have intercourse with a whole car full of girls (even the presumably ugly ones who were inevitably there), right after murdering several people, while high on drugs – WITH NO PROBLEM. There’s only one regulator in this song: Nate Dogg.

Warren G, on the other hand is really only shown to be competent in driving a car and having his “A” saved by Nate Dogg. Warren seems to be confused about his sexuality, and then comes out of the closet – which I think you’ll agree is so cryptic that it’s tough to determine exactly what he’s saying. Does he have a crush on Nate? Is “Melody” the name of ghey bar in Long Beach? At the worst I think Warren G is a ghey, at the best, he’s straight, but he’s a “P”.

And reflecting on Nate's untimely death, perhaps getting high every day wasn't such a good idea after all...

Monday, March 14, 2011

She blinded me with makeup

I was thinking about that "Something Like That" song by Tim McGraw. That song sort of grosses me out...and I'll tell you why.  If you're not familiar with the song, it'd behoove you to google the lyrics or listen to the song and then continue reading...I'll wait.

1) The song begins telling a story about Labor Day weekend. Since Tim is from Louisiana, I'll assume that his Labor Days are similar to mine... hot. So then he talks about having a BBQ stain on his white T-shirt, what I'm imagining is a kid who is 17, who is a little overweight with a messy stain on his "wife beater" a-shirt, which most people incorrectly refer to as a "t-shirt", and since this is a song by a country artist I'm assuming they're not going for literal interpretation (in addition to, I don't know of anyone whose ever referred to one of those as an a-shirt in my presence). So that just conjures up a bad image, an overweight kid with a stain on his a-shirt outside all day in a hot humid environment...gross.

2) "She had a suntan line and red lipstick." What I visualize when I hear this line is a girl wearing a halter top who has a bikini tan line...and she's normally a fairly pale color (as the people from north Louisiana are), but this "suntan" is actually more of a sunburn, and she's quite pinkish and approaching reddish. She will not feel well tonight or tomorrow, and she's going to use a lot of aloe and she'll still feel sick and will begin to peel in a few days. Not to mention the future damage she's doing...she's likely a good candidate for skin cancer...but we'll save that for a different comment session. So anyway, in addition to the excessive sun she's gotten, she's also heavily made up (which is what the "red lipstick" causes me to visualize).

She's also around age 17 (which I'll admit is an assumption based on her willingness to associate with/kiss a slovenly sloppy sweaty bbq stained a-shirt wearing 17 year old kid) and yet she's wearing excessive makeup, which signals to me right there that something is awry.  Perhaps she's trying to look older.  Or maybe she suffers from low self esteem and uses the make up to feel better about her looks. Or maybe she uses the heavy makeup to cover acne?  Who can be certain of the reason?  One thing, I think we can infer from Mr. McGraw's infatuation with her that she is quite a looker, at least to 17 year old eyes. And, I doubt seriously that he'd be so interested in her if she was dog ugly...especially at ages 17 and 22, as he noted he was in the song.  I have to admit, though, she might just be wearing all of this makeup to counter the amount of sun exposure she regularly gets, and she uses the makeup in place of sunscreen - but I doubt that...I think my earlier hypotheses are correct.

Just thinking about base, powder, eye liner, eye shadow, heavy thick lipstick (possibly even lip liner, and then a glossy cover over that!) and 95 degree temperatures and 85% humidity and very little (if any) breeze...yuck!

And then to think about kissing that excessively warm skinned girl and getting heavy waxy lipstick (because young country girls probably aren't affording MAC or Urban Decay or whatever) all over your lips, and foundation/powder smeared all over your cheeks...and that hot sun beating down, and that slight headache that's already starting to form, and the ultra greasy corn dogs (with BBQ sauce?) and funnel cakes that you've already eaten making your stomach feel a little sketchy, and the kind of gross feeling you get when you eat too much fried food, and the loud noise from the fair, and the hot dusty ground caking your flip-flop covered feet in dirt, and the smell of animals and food in the air...not to mention how you have to listen to her drone on how she's going to "double major" at university in the fall and how she loves animals *and* people and how degrees in psychology and animal science will allow her to diagnose people and their pets at the same time, etc.

No thank you…

The significance of the picture of U.S. Grant at Cold Harbor, Virginia isn't obvious (unlike why they don't let you into the home locker room at Bank of America Stadium when you take the tour).  When I saw Tim McGraw's last film, "Country Strong", I commented that I thought that McGraw, made up like he was, looked somewhat (in my opinion) like U.S. Grant - but not heavier graying President Grant, more like Civil War General Grant.  When I think of General Grant, I think of this photo taken by Matthew Brady.  The "she blinded me with makeup" bit has a double meaning referencing both Tim McGraw's blinding me with makeup in that I could only see him as U.S. Grant in the film, as well as the idea that the heavily made up girl in the song would get makeup all over the face of the boy kissing her, thereby blinding him (possibly?).  I also was thinking that I enjoyed writing this post so much that it was poetry...in motion.  Which led me to Thomas Dolby's 1982 hit "She Blinded Me with Science"...which is initially from where the post title came.  So maybe it was a triple meaning and not just a double meaning.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

$50,000 for a gold violin

"Check it Blade! Bro was onnnn! Didn't trip. But the folks they was freakin, man! Hey, the pilots was laid to the bone Homes, but blood hammed out and jammed. Tighten that sad sucka 'side the runway like a mutha fuhshiiit"
 Six words long...

I was listening to the radio this morning on my drive into work and I heard "Got My Mind Set on You" as sung by George Harrison (apparently according to the wikipedier he didn't write it).  Anyway, as I was listening to this song I realized that I used to dislike this song...until I found out that George Harrison was the one who sang it.  That's silly, I suppose...that my like of a song could increase based on who is singing.

That story reminds me of a particular time back in the summer of 1995 when a friend of mine and I were jamming (if you could call it that) to the newly released "Batman Forever" Soundtrack.  As was typical of the way we listened to music back then, we listened to the first track, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" by U2, the hit single off of the album.  Then we listened to the other hit single by Seal, "Kiss from a Rose".  Then we sort of listened to the beginning 10-15 seconds of every other track, quickly blowing past every other track on the album, until we got to the last track.  So, we listened to about 10 seconds of the last track, "Bad Days" by the Flaming Lips (you might remember their one hit, "She Don't Use Jelly") and my friend quickly forwarded to the next track.  At this point (knowing he really dug "SDUJ"), I said, "hey man, that was the flaming lips", to which he said, "oh, yeah? well put it back on then, I didn't know that was them".

After hearing that it was the Flaming Lips, he listened to the track with new ears and after about 10-15 seconds said, "you know, this song isn't too bad".  Maybe George Harrison was a guest singer on that track.

Lovely Rita & Leeshank Redemption

This story also reminds me of the time Lee and I were talking about the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album, and I was saying how I really liked the song "Lovely Rita", and he mentioned that he'd never listened to it because he always changed it during the intro...which is funny in light of the previous story, as well as that the song has a completely different sound than the intro, which if he would have made it through, I think he would enjoy. And to bring this section full circle, George Harrison was backing vocals on this song.

Sorry Miss Jackson, whoo...

Also, incidentally, happy birthday to Chris Jackson a/k/a Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, former star guard at LSU and I think he played with the Nuggets in the NBA.  I think his claim to fame was refusing to stand for the national anthem while in the NBA because saluting the US flag conflicted with his newly islamic religious beliefs.  I'm not certain, but I think he compromised with the NBA by standing during the anthem but holding his hands up to shield his face.  I'm not 100% on that.  But in any event, happy b-day.  Something I learned today is that Mr. Rauf (or is it Abdul-Rauf?) is still playing basketball.  No longer in the NBA since 2001, I just assumed he was retired.  Oh no...no retirement for him.  He's still playing, at age 42.  After the NBA he played in Russia, then Italy, then Greece, then Saudi Arabia and he is currently playing in Japan.  I'd have to say that the most surprising on that list is Saudi Arabia - I wouldn't have thought they'd have a pro league in Saudi Arabia. However that was quite convenient for Mr. Rauf, since all able-bodied Muslims who can afford to do so are required to make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in their life, and his team in Saudi was located about an hour from Mecca...how lucky!

Fillet of Soul...

Another thing I was thinking this morning as I was listening to "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band is that the devil's fiddlin' is better than Johnny's.  At the very least (if there are any fiddle players who read this), I enjoy the devil's part more...because I'll admit, since I know nothing about fiddlin', Johnny's part may be more technically precise, or require a greater level of skill or something...so technically Johnny may be better, but if I was looking to go to a fiddlin' concert and I could choose based on what I heard behind door number 1 (devil) and door number 2 (johnny), I think I'd go with door #1. 

I'm also not sure I like Johnny's attitude in bidding the devil goodbye.  "Come on back if you ever want to try again..." - since this song was written in 1979 and the devil is immortal (at least until he's thrown into the lake of fire), it seems like Johnny might have lost a step in the last 31 years...and I don't think the devil has to sleep or raise a family or get hopped up on heroin (like Johnny might have done)...so I think if the devil was practicing for the past 31 or so years and he comes back for a challenge of Johnny (assuming he hasn't already done so), I think he'll be going home with Johnny's soul.  Just one man's opinion.

Title of this post comes from the idea that a golden fiddle would only be worth about $50,000 (unless it was solid gold and not a fiddle that could be played)...unless there's some intrinsic value about a fiddle made by the devil (which there's no guarantee it was...maybe the devil bought this golden fiddle off someone).  In addition to that the subheadings are easily explainable..."Six words long" is part of the title of Weird Al's spoof version of this song.  Lovely Rita & Leeshank Redemption is a play off of Rita Heyworth & Shawshank Redemption, a novella by Stephen King (on which the movie was based).  Although this has no direct connection, when I was making notes about what I wanted to write about this note started as "Lovely Rita & Lee", and when I got around to writing that bit, that was my first thought when I saw that phrase again.  "Sorry Miss Jackson, whoo..." is from an Outkast song, "Miss Jackson".  I thought this was on the clever side, since it referenced the subejct's former last name...and I figure that CJ might have gotten some grief for the name change or national anthem bit (being from Gulfport, MS, afterall) and at least once he might have had to apologize to his mom for this...by saying, Sorry Miss Jackson (whoo optional).  Fillet of Soul is a play on the fish dish, fillet of sole, and I substituted soul for sole, because Johnny's soul was on the line - but I think that last bit is obvious.  And of course the picture and quote are from Airplane II, probably my favorite scene from the film...for no reason other than this guy has soul.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Living the High Life

I ran across some interesting information today about the tallest buildings in each state, and I thought I’d share:

Two state’s tallest buildings are their state capitols: West Virginia: 292 ft and North Dakota: 241.67 ft

The shortest tallest building of a state is in Vermont: 124 ft (government owned housing)

The tallest building in D.C. is the Washington Monument: 555 ft. (although I think maybe I heard that from National Treasure). It is also the oldest “tallest building”, completed in 1888.

One Shell Plaza in Houston is 18 ft taller than One Shell Square in New Orleans

The tallest building in Mississippi is the Beau Rivage Casino.

I think this all started one day recently when I began wondering about tall buildings.  I think it is common knowledge that the Sears Tower (or whatever it's called now) is the tallest building in the Continental U.S...but it's not the highest building (since it's built virtually at sea level).  Even a house built in Denver (for example) would be higher (in terms of elevation above sea level) than the top of the Sears tower because Denver is in the mountains.
So that led me to wonder what the highest building is in the world.  Obviously the Al Burj Dubai is the tallest, at 2,717 ft, but again, being built at sea level (or thereabouts), the Raising Canes in Colorado Springs is something like 3,500 ft higher.  So what is the highest building in the world?
The clear cut winner, at 18,192 ft is the North Base Camp on the Tibet side of Mt. Everest.  There is a building at the North Base Camp that is a permanent structure.  Obviously tents pitched at the top of Everest would be the highest temporary structure, but since this structure is permenant, I consider this to be the highest building in the world.
However, not being in a city or town, some have considered that not to be the highest building in the world, and if you want to go down that road the answer is less clear.
La Rinconada, Peru claims to be the highest city in the world at 16,732ft. - National Geographic considers La Rinconada to be the highest in the world.
Wenzhuan, China claims to be the highest city in the world at 16,730ft. - The Guinness Book of World Records considers Wenzhuan to be the highest in the world.
Neither city seems to have a significant building worth noting.  I'd imagine it's whoever built their house a little further up the mountian than the next guy.  Whoever owns the highest non-everest building in the world may not even know about his/her building's distinction.
La Rinconada, Peru is the larger of the two cities with a population of about 30,000.  It is a mining town, and according to wikipedia, "The city has [no running water], no plumbing and no sanitation system. Besides having no sewage system there is significant contamination with mercury due to the mining practices."  So although La Rinconadians are dwelling at 16,730ft+ altitudes, you really wouldn't say that they're living the high life.
Pun definitely intended.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Where's the B(irth Certificate)eef?

Every time I see one of those bumper stickers I laugh. I’m not quite sure why but I find that very funny. In case you’re not hip to the discussion that’s been smoldering for a few years now, some people believe that President Barack Obama II wasn’t born in the United States. He claims to have been born in Hawaii, but critics have claimed that he was either born in Kenya or Indonesia (or both?).

Obama II was born to Barack Obama Sr., a Kenya native (which was a British Possession at that time, and therefore was a British subject) and Ann Dunham, a Kansas native. Ann Dunham was an anthropologist with a PhD from the University of Hawaii, whose research interest was in Indonesia, where she spent much time. Barack Obama Sr. was an economist with a Master’s Degree from Harvard. In 1965, after Barack II’s birth in 1961, Barack Sr. went back to Kenya where he worked for the Kenyan government for many years. So although I think the image of Pres Obama’s background is “everyman”, certainly he came from a family (albeit broken) with advanced degrees from top U.S. universities. President Obama himself is a graduate of Columbia and Harvard Law.

As I mentioned, some believe that Barack II was born in Indonesia, which isn’t a ludicrous claim, since he did live there as a small child along with his mother. Some believe that Barack II was born in Kenya, which also isn’t a ludicrous claim, since his father was from Kenya. It’s unlikely that he was born either place, but claiming that someone might have been born in a place that they have ties to is not out of the question.

What difference does it make if Barack II was born in the United States? For one, citizenship is on the line. If Barack II was born in the United States then technically he is a citizen. If he was not born in the U.S. then he is not a citizen. Now I know what you must be thinking, “Wait a minute. If his mom was a U.S. citizen [which she was] then he’s automatically a citizen, right?” Wrong. You are not granted citizenship in the United States just because you have one parent that is a citizen. Your citizenship is established through your birth on U.S. soil (a sticky wicket with the folks against illegal immigrants having children in the U.S. and them instantly becoming U.S. citizens a/k/a “anchor babies”), but if you were not actually born on U.S. soil, citizenship is legally more complexly defined.

Birthright citizenship is granted to us by the 14th Amendment.  Prior to 1868 the Constitution had no definition of citizenship, but thanks to the 14th Amendment, that is now codified. The 14th Amendment reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Exemptions to the 14th Amendment are children born to enemy aliens during war time and children born to foreign diplomats.

For those not born on U.S. soil, citizenship is still possible, according to U.S. Legal Code Title 8 Chapter 12 Subchapter III Part I Section 1401, if you meet certain conditions. For our purposes, I’ll focus only on the case of a child being born outside of the United States to a married couple, one of whom is a citizen and the other of whom is not (as is the case with citizen Ann Dunham and non-citizen Barack Obama Sr.).

In this case the foreign-born child is a U.S. citizen if his citizen parent (Ann Dunham) has lived in the United States for a total of at least 5 years of their life, with two of those years being after the age of 14. Ann Dunham lived in the Continental U.S. at least until she graduated High School in 1960, which makes any of her foreign-born children, born in wedlock, automatic citizens of the U.S., regardless of where the children were born. Specifically she meets this requirement because she lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years prior to the birth of Barack II, her first child, with at least two of those years being after the age of 14.

So in this instance, regardless of whether Barack Obama II was born in Hawaii, Kenya, Indonesia or anywhere else, he is a citizen of the United States.

However, there are other controversies surrounding the citizenship of Barack Obama II. When his father, Barack Obama Sr. and his mother, Ann Dunham were married in 1961, Barack Sr. was “technically” still married to his first wife, Kezia Aoko, whom he abandoned when he moved to the U.S. Aoko and Obama were married in Kenya in a traditional ceremony in 1954. So there is a possibility, depending on how the law is interpreted that Obama & Dunham’s marriage was not legal in the U.S. under the 1862 Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act, so that Ann Dunham would not have been married when Barack II was born.

This type of situation is handled by a different section of U.S. Legal Code. Title 8 Chapter 12 Subchapter III Part I Section 1409 says that for “children born abroad after December 24, 1952 to unmarried American mothers are US citizens, as long as the mother has lived in the US for a continuous period of at least one year at any time prior to the birth.” So the requirements for citizenship in this case are even less stringent than if the parents of the foreign-born child were married.

So in this instance also, regardless whether or not Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham were legally married at the time of Barack Obama II’s birth, Obama II is a citizen of the United States.

Now that it has been proven unequivocally that regardless of his place of birth or marital status of his parents he is a citizen let’s move on to another controversial point: does he meet the constitutional qualifications to be U.S. president?

Article 2 Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution outlines the qualifications for President of the United States. It says that to be eligible a person must be a “natural born” citizen and at least 35 years old, and has lived in the U.S. for at least the past 14 years. Barack Obama was older than 35 in 2008 when elected, and had lived in Chicago for at least 14 years prior to 2008, but what does it mean to be a ”natural born” citizen?

Some do not consider “natural born” citizenship to extend to anyone but those who have two parents that were citizens, and not just one as in the case of Barack Obama II. Justification for this position comes from Swiss philosopher Emer de Vattel in his 1758 book, “The Law of Nations” which espouses that in order for a child to be a citizen his father must also be a citizen. However, U.S. law is not based on Swiss law. U.S. law is largely based on English Common Law. However, regardless of the system on which our law is based, in the U.S. legal system our law is written by our legislators and interpreted by our court system.

Whether one relies on English Common Law tradition or various U.S. Supreme Court cases addressing citizenship (Dred Scot v. Sanford, 1856; Slaughterhouse Cases, 1872; Minor v. Happersett, 1874; U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898, Perkins v. Elg, 1939; Schneider v. Rusk, 1964; Ankeny v. Governor, 2009) it is evident that there are two types of citizens a) established at birth and b) established after birth (or naturalized). If you are not a naturalized citizen, then you are a citizen from birth and therefore a “natural born” citizen.

Since Barack Obama II is a natural born citizen, meaning that he was a citizen since birth, under U.S. law, he is eligible to be President of the U.S. under Article 2 Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution.

Post title, is from Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburger's iconic 1984 advertising campaign that centered around the question, "Where's the beef?"

Monday, February 28, 2011

AltaVista, uh, Dogpile, uh, Ask Jeeves, uh...

I was reading on Yahoo about baby names and what they say about a culture – whatever to that. However, something that jumped out at me as interesting is the lists of states that have the most unique baby’s names (quantified as the lowest percentage of babies born with names in the top 10 for that year).

Read for yourself, if you like:

[http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20110223/sc_livescience/ babiesinfrontierstateshavemoreunusualnames] – who knows if this link will work in 5 minutes…[Not really a link, you'll have to take out the space after livescience/]

Let’s take a look at what the top names were for 2009, from
[from www.behindthename.com]

Boys: #1 Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Alexander, William, Joshua, Daniel, Jayden, Noah, #10 Anthony

Girls: #1 Isabella, Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava, Emily, Madison, Abigail, Chloe, #10 Mia

A quick “It’s Not Ice Cream Anymore” analysis says that biblical names are popular for Boys (at least 6 of 10 from the bible); however, girls names are influenced by pop culture (as I interpret Isabella #1 as being influenced by Twilight’s main character, Isabella Swan. There are a few popular actresses with the name Emma: Emma Watson, Emma Stone, Emma Roberts. Same for Olivia: Olivia Wilde, Olivia Munn.). I think you get the picture

So, back to the lecture at hand, the states with the most unique baby names:

Boys: #1 Hawaii, Wyoming, Louisiana, Idaho, Oklahoma, Montana, Colorado, Nebraska, Washington, #10 Oregon

Girls: #1 Hawaii, New Mexico, Mississippi, Nevada, Georgia, Wyoming, Arizona, Alaska, Maryland, #10 South Carolina

HI, WY appear on lists for both names

In contrast, these are the states with the least unique baby names, or highest percentage of top 10 names:

Boys: #1 New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Maine, New York, Tennessee, #10 Kentucky

Girls: #1 Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, West Virginia, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Kentucky, #10 Iowa

NH, RI, WV, MA, CT, KY appear on lists for both names.

I get that New Englanders are thought of as “stuffy” and “no fun” and therefore only give their kids names that other kids have, but it was a surprise to see West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Dakota and Iowa on the chez trendy list.

The biggest surprise to me was to see Louisiana on the list of uniquely named people. The article was pointing out that people that name their kids something unique is popular in the frontier states (something that mostly holds true for boy names, but not for girl names – 4 of the 10 states for unique girl names are in the south (i.e. not on the frontier).

LA’s place on this list of frontier states might have to do with the following (my opinion):

1. Southern LA’s, not including the City of New Orleans, isolated and cultural differences from the rest of the South and US

2. New Orleans’ population is somewhat known for names being passed down (lots of girls named Anne or Marie/a, lots of boys named Jr, III, IV, etc.) as well as a fair amount of ethnic names.

3. The unique heritage of Louisiana (which also ties directly in with the prevalence of ethnic names)

I welcome alternative ideas, or thoughts about the post in general.

Generally the post title was inspired by the article being found originally on Yahoo!.  All of these (with the exception of "uh") are the names of search engines I used to use.  I was an AltaVista man for the longest time and I generally eschewed Yahoo!...until there were things I couldn't find on AltaVista, that I could find with Yahoo!.  It's pretty much the same story of how I started using Google, and why it's my (and 91% of online users) top search engine.  There's also another slightly more clandestine joke here, and it's that in reference to "back to the lecture at hand" - a lyric from a Dr. Dre song on the 1992 album The Chronic...and the cadence of the post title is sort of in reference to another track on that same album, "The $20 Sack Pyramid" (e.g. EnVogue...uh, uh...Halle Berry...uh, uh...etc).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Some Kind of Monster


I was reflecting on the Metallica album “Load” a few days ago and I had some thoughts I’d like to share.

What got me thinking about it is Betty and I pulled “Guitar Hero: Metallica” out of the mothballs, where it’s been for at least 6 months, and started playing. Her favorite Metallica song is “Nothing Else Matters”, which we played at least once. I don’t know which Metallica song is my favorite (there are so many good ones), and I think it has changed over the years, but I was enjoying playing songs from the “Load” album, particularly King Nothing.

That’s what caused me to reflect on the “Load” album, which led me to think about a quote I read somewhere on the uh, internets (have no idea where), some time ago where someone was talking about what a shame it was that James Hetfield’s best vocal years were wasted on the “Load/ReLoad” era.

Here is a little of my history with Metallica. I remember watching Mtv in the early 1990s and seeing the videos for The Unforgiven and Enter Sandman, and possibly others and liking them, but I wasn’t really a Metallica fan. And although not a fan, I do remember the circumstances under which I bought the Black album (eponymously titled “Metallica”) in 1996, over 5 years after its release in 1991. I bought it because some girl liked it…but that’s a long story.

Anywhain, I listened to that album over and over and began to really like the album. So much so, that later in 1996 when Metallica released “Load” I acquired a tape of it from a friend who had both the tape and the CD. I probably preferred the tape because I had a tape player in both the house and car (factory tape player in the 1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass).

So I think the entire time I owned the tape I only listened to Until it Sleeps because that was the hit single off of this album, and that’s just the kind of Metallica “fan” I was then.

However, at some point later I became a bigger Metallica fan…because by the time the movie Old School came out in 2003 I already had the 1986 album “Master of Puppets”. But real fan-dom really came after I went to my first Metallica concert in November 2004. Before the concert I picked up (i.e. was given a burned copy by a friend) Metallica’s latest CD, “St. Anger” – the new album associated with the 2004 Madly in Anger with the World Tour. After the concert in November I got the 1983 album, “Kill ‘em All” – Metallica’s first, for Christmas.

So by this time I had 4 Metallica albums Kill ‘em All, Master of Puppets, Metallica and St. Anger. Over the next 4 years, I would also acquire 1984’s “Ride the Lightning”, 1988’s “…And Justice for All”, “Load”, 1997’s “ReLoad” and 1999’s “S&M”. In 2008 if you bought a ticket for Metallica’s newly launched World Magnetic Tour, which I did, you received a free copy of their new CD, “Death Magnetic.”

I seriously doped up on Metallica music leading up to the 2008 show. It was my goal to know any song that they played at the 2008 concert. I mostly succeeded, with the exception that I didn’t recognize the intro to Damage, Inc from the “Master of Puppets” album. I also didn’t recognize Last Caress (which I had not heard before), a cover of The Misfits’ song. Other than that, I was satisfied with how all that went.

But it was in that doping for the show, that I rediscovered (or probably more accurately “discovered”) 1996’s “Load” album. I found out that there are 7 out of 14 tracks that I really liked. Ain’t my Bitch, 2 x 4, The House that Jack Built, Until it Sleeps, King Nothing, Mama Said, and Ronnie are all quality tracks from this album – and the others I haven’t really listened to recently enough to really say if they’re good, average or turkeys.

Here’s what else I have to say about the “Load” album: it was revolutionary. I didn’t realize it at the time, but consider that when Metallica released this album it came along with an image change. And that idea is well and good, except when you consider that the band was gaining in popularity, each new album was outselling the previous one, and their latest effort before “Load”, “Metallica (the Black album)” is the 25th top selling album of all time. Higher than Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and The Beatles “Abbey Road”. To change your image at a time when you are super popular is quite a bold and risky move. I mean, now members of Metallica could afford to send their kids to private schools, and could fund their own 401k’s as well as some IRA’s (traditional and Roth), and generally live on easy street. And it would be very tempting to continue capitalizing on that success. But Metallica didn’t.

They cut their hair, and changed their sound. In text it doesn’t seem revolutionary, but it was. The most influential band in the genre changed their ways and who was to say whether or not they would continue to be a success.

And I think in light of the Black album, “Load” is considered a failure. “Load” sold fewer copies than any other Metallica album with the exception of 1983’s “Kill ‘em All” (all 4 successive albums would sell fewer than “Load”). But I think that it’s just not accurate to consider this album a failure. It has many good songs on it. Classic albums can be made with 2-3 hits on it – “Load” had 2 #1 tracks and 2 other top 10 tracks. I think at this point some accused Metallica of “selling out” but I think it was brazen to make such a change, and I think it was a success. No album since has been as good as “Load”, and although you could say that “Load” was the beginning of the end of mega-albums for Metallica, it doesn’t take away from “Load’s” 5 million copies sold, and several hit songs.

Although I can’t quantify my favorite Metallica song, here are my favorites by album in chronological order:

Kill ‘em AllJump in the Fire (Anesthesia is #2)

Ride the LightiningFade to Black (For Whom the Bell Tolls is #2)

Master of PuppetsMaster of Puppets (Orion is #2)

…and Justice for All - …and Justice for All (Harvester of Sorrow is #2)

MetallicaThe God that Failed (Enter Sandman is #2)

Load King Nothing (The House that Jack Built is probably #2, although it could be 2 x 4)

ReLoadThe Memory Remains (Fuel is #2)

St. AngerFrantic (St. Anger is #2)

Death MagneticAll Nightmare Long (Suicide & Redemption is #2)

And as you might have noticed I have ranked #2 three instrumental songs. For me music, or metal isn’t all about lyrics. Songs that rock can do so independent of lyrics. As far as their instrumentals go, I think Orion is the best, then Suicide & Redemption – but the reason I like S&R is because unlike Orion, which plays like a song without lyrics, I can’t imagine S&R with lyrics. It’s so complex…it’s like several songs cohesively brought together. There are several “battles” of what I perceive to be suicidal tones and themes then overtaken by redemptive melodies in the song…it’s just a beautiful song.

And I personally rank the albums:

1. Metallica – top seller, every track is good and listenable. It’s #25 all-time for a reason. This album opened the band up to a lot of fans (like myself) that otherwise wouldn’t have been drawn in. There are many bands out there like “Munchausen by Proxy” but without albums like this they stay in obscurity.

2. Master of Puppets – second only to Metallica. I’d like to make it first, but Metallica is just too good. But it is a close second (if that means anything)

3. Ride the Lightning (and closer to #2 than its #3 ranking indicates) – I wanted to make this album #2, but MoP has no bad tracks. RtL has lots of great tracks, but some are only good. MoP is great front to back.

4. Load – read above if you’re confused about how and why I feel about this album.

5. Kill ‘em All – this album could be higher, but I really don’t like the early vocals. If they re-recorded this album it might be 1 spot higher

6. Death Magnetic – a return to “old” Metallica ways. I like the long instrumental intros and long music breaks. A great opening track – it really lets you know in a hurry what you’ve gotten yourself into. They also opened the 2008 NOLA concert with the opening track from the album, a great move.

7. …And Justice for All – and I’m sure this will draw ire from Metallica fans everywhere but there’s nothing on this album that jumps out at me and says “love me”. I know this album has “One” and “Harvester of Sorrow”, but those just aren’t my favorite tracks. For instance I like 2 x 4 or The House that Jack Built from the “Load” album better than any track on this album. I will admit, though, perhaps this album is somewhat lost on me because I wasn’t a Metallica fan when it came out. Although RtL is similar, but in my opinion is ranked higher because it has better songs (to me).

8. ReLoad – which is not to say that it’s bad, it’s just not as good as any of the rest. I think this one might get a little more credit than St. Anger because it was originally planned as a double album with the tracks from “Load”. They should have just waiting until 1997 and released “Load/ReLoad” as a double album as originally planned. That theoretic double album would be #5-#6 on my list if they had.

9. St. Anger –Even Metallica would admit this, I’m sure. Because when they went on tour for this album, when they played NOLA, they only played the title track from this album. When they toured for Death Magnetic they played like 5 tracks. I agree with Fuel52 in his 2006 analysis (from a discussion we had) that this album had to be made in a cathartic kind of a way. It doesn’t matter that it finds itself near the bottom of the list, it was something they needed to make for themselves…and I’m with that.  And although this was somewhat of an attempt to go back to the "old" Metallica ways, the incorporated changes, made this album seem like a 3rd Metallica that was different from the old  "Creeping Death" Metallica but also different from the new "I Disappear" Metallica.

The post title is a little tongue-in-cheek as it is both a song from "St. Anger" and a reference to how long this post is.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just had to tell someone


 And since no one reads this, I figure this is just as good a place as any.

I was on the phone with a good friend and I was asking him if he knew about the website "Linkedin".  I have 21 connections on Linkedin to people from work or consultants I deal with on a semi regular basis.  It's sort of like facebook only it's just for business.  Seems like facebook could completely quash this company by starting "facebook for business". 

I guess that's neither here nor there.

Anyway I asked this friend if he had ever heard of Linkedin and he said, "yeah, it's like facebook for dildos".  I can't stop laughing about that.  So funny...

I wouldn't post this to facebook since I'm friends with such a diverse crowd (some of whom might be offended by such statements), so here it will remain.  Funny and unlaughed at (except for by me).

This same friend also suggested to me once upon a time that the batter they use to fry pickles in could be marketed as "Dill Dough".  I also thought that was a winner.  It's also what inspired the pictures.