Tuesday, September 30, 2008

SI covers me in memories...

We all have memories that take us back to a place or a time as if it were playing out in front of our eyes.

A song can dredge up a memory of that high school love that got away.

A smell can bring back the memory of Gramma's pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving or the smell of that once-special girl's hair.

The sight of the sun sinking into the sea can bring back the memory of that weekend at the beach.

First SI issue, August 16, 1954

For many sports fans memories are full of sports moments: football games, baseball games, college basketball. Sometimes those moments were shared by thousands in the stands, or perhaps just a few buddies in a living room or den, or even an afternoon watching by yourself.

For all the major sporting events over the last 50 years-plus the writers and photographers of Sports Illustrated, SI, have been there documenting the sights, sounds, and action.

Sports Illustrated Covers

You can jog many of your own sports memories by checking out the SI covers page at the SI website.

At that page there are various options to choose. You can choose to look at the 'Editor's Picks' or 'Most Popular' or 'the Latest' to start. There are also covers from various times in the past ( 5 Years Ago, 10 Years Ago, etc. ) down the page.

I know there used to be page where thumbnails of multiple pages were available for browsing. But dang if I could find it now.

Every issue's cover is still available by simply picking a cover and flipping either forward or back in time using the Next or Previous buttons. Indeed once you notice the numbers changing in the page URL you can jump forward or backward by changing the URLs.

Once at a particular cover page you can choose to read the articles in that issue or browse the actual issue itself in a separate reader window, if it is available. The old ads are fascinating..!

Sweet, sweet swimsuit issues, covers, and pics..!!

Every cover published is available. Including all the swimsuit covers...

The first one, published in 1964, was originally just a one-shot deal. But the popularity of it led to a repeat the next year ... and the rest is history as they say.

Of course, you can browse to the next few issues and read the 'swimsuit response letters' that have become such an SI legend after each issue. ...lol... indeed.

First swimsuit issue, January 20, 1964

The Bottom Line

The archives at SI dot com are a real treasure for any sports fan. Treat yourself to a few minutes of browsing through your own sports memories.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pandora, a music box you wanna open...


"At Pandora, we have a single mission: To play music you'll love - and nothing else."

Music can be found everywhere on the web: Yahoo, mixwit, Itunes, youtube for videos, Live365, Rhapsody, last.fm, shoutcast, and many others.

There are charges for some, for varying levels of service; others are totally free.

Some have minimal commercial interruptions, others have none.

Some allow you to create your own mixtapes, others allow you to 'program' your own 'station'.

Some have other content, others are strictly audio music.

What I like ...what I use

I have found in using several of these music sites over the years that I want and need a simple service that is always 'up', is easy to program to what I want to listen to, has multiple 'channels' or stations that I can easily customize and choose from, and makes me smile when I listen.

For me, Pandora.com meets those needs.

Basically, Pandora allows you to create multiple stations all as tightly focused or as 'wide open' to a given genre as you want. It has _always_ been available when I have 'dialed it up' and the sound quality of everything I have heard has been excellent.

An excellent FAQ file at Pandora goes into great detail about how to access the site, find the music you like, and fine-tune your online listening experience.

I found this article at pcmech dot com that goes into more detail about making Pandora your own experience.

Unfortunately, I also found a linked discussion that suggested the owners of Pandora may be forced to pull the plug on their business after recent increases in song fees have greatly increased their expenses. That would be a real shame. Pandora radio has been a great source for me to discover new music and has resulted in real-world CD purchases and also purchases of online mp3s.

Sometimes the owners will kill the golden goose to control the profit from it. Big business and regulation is not currently a friend of the wide distribution on online music. Of course, with the financial world collapsing around us, gas prices, ongoing war in the Iraq, why should we expect any peace and quiet and relaxing moments on line..??

Listen now, to Pandora dot com, while you still can.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's Wabbit Season..!! huh huh huh huh...

I had no idea.

As I believe everything I read on the innertubes, I now know that 56 years ago yesterday the Warner Bros. Pictures Inc. cartoon short "Rabbit Seasoning" debuted in theaters across the country.

Wow. Did clicking that link bring back a flood of memories. All of these Warner Bros. cartoons eventually became staple fare for every kid who grew up watching cartoons on Saturday mornings.

Image source: cnet dot news

I think I may have just screwed any possible productivity for the rest of my day.

Between NFL football, finding more Bugs and Daffy cartoons, and the last game at Yankee Stadium . . .hmmm, the missus will not be happy I am afraid...

I suppose I still better get the rest of the lawn mowed...

Hat tips to: languagehat and MetaFilter


Saturday, September 20, 2008

' Say what..?!? '


I guess it is kind of a geeky thing to do. Look for phrases that are unique in the online world. The artificial arbiter or 'gate' that I use for this 'unique' label is, of course, the ubiquitous Google dot com.

What defines a 'unique phrase'..?? Well, it has to be at least two words. A one word phrase makes no sense, right..?? Besides, that is just making up words anyway. I mean not that there is anything wrong with that. Hell, urbandictionary dot com is all about making up shi ...err, stuff.

You would think with all the millions of monkeys, like you and I, pounding on all our keyboards out there on the web ... you would think everything that could be said would have already been said. But not true ... thank gawd.

Unique two word phrases are worth more than three or four word phrases to me. I mean, obviously the more words you start stringing together the more likely you are to craft a new phrase. But much longer than four just gets silly ... so I try to notice and identify only two-, three-, and four-word phrases. Think of it as gold, silver, and bronze medal-worthy.

I see at least one other user on the web has chased this pig before. In 2005 Bella posted about her own created 'unique phrase': "Born mechanical witness" Indeed, to this day it remains the only web-use of the phrase. ( Though some would quibble with her use of 'born' rather than 'borne'. But the latter also remains a unique phrase so I will not hate on her... )

See, that is kinda cool. Hey, I told you it was geeky...

Unique phrases I have crafted or discovered:

No results found for "blush without modesty"
A phrase I used in an e-mail to a newly-wed whom I had previously teased about blushing. I simply shared the thought: 'may you always blush without modesty' in a reply. Batta-boom ...an unintended 'unique phrase'..!!

No results found for "beasts and bores"
Another e-mail exchange. In suggesting that the recipient had surely handled worse online exchanges, I said: "You have handled much bigger beasts and bores than I."

Results 1 - 2 of 2 for "berserking children"
One by a writer on Epinions dot com, a site I actively participate at by reading and writing reviews. I admit I stretch a bit with this one by allowing the use of 'berserking' ...but hey, it is my game so I can play as I like..!!

Results 1 - 2 of 2 for "expectation in every sentence"
Another writer at Epinions. Just a beautiful phrase, especially in context at the review.

Anyway, just a brief introduction to my little web reading-n-writing obsession. I would have more ... but I have never really saved them anywhere. Now that I have this soapbox of a blog perhaps I can remember to save them to add here.

Hey, if you have any examples of your own please share them in a comment..!!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mapping your NFL Sundays...


Every weekend from September through December the NFL fan, hardcore or casual, is at the mercy of network and local station decisions about what particular NFL games they will be able to watch that Sunday.

In 2002 NFL and New England Patriots fan J.P. Kirby first began compiling data on what games were being shown in what cities. From various TV network sites and independent 'channel guide' sites he was able to determine what affiliates in what city were showing which games. Compiling them onto a map for easy visual reference he took his 'hobby' to the web in 2005 and the interest has grown each year.

Perhaps the biggest impediment to his creating the maps each year is the 'blackout rule' the NFL imposes on cities/areas where the local game is not sold-out 72 hours before kickoff.

Primary and secondary market designations all factor into what games get shown where. J.P. discusses this and more at his website, the506 dot com, and in an interview with Yahoo Picks in 2007.

If you are looking for a quick check of the games in your area on Sunday the site is a great resource to have available. It also will help keep you aware of what your online buddies and family around the country are seeing each weekend.

Definitely a site worth checking out for any NFL fan who watches games on TV.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11 ...in 2008

noamgalai at flickr dot com

WTC Tribute in lights, from Brooklyn Bridge, September 11, 2007

Various links found today in reference to the events on this date, 2001

Neatorama's simple, stark, and stoic 'roll call' of the victims of that day:

Remembering the Victims of 9/11

A video from a neighboring building of the towers on Sept. 11, 2001

September 11, 2001: What we saw from our apartment

Personal reflections of a New Yorker...

Personal reflections on a September 11th (9/11) hero

NASA image of Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001


My reviews of various 9/11-related books and films at Epinions dot com

sleeper54's reviews

The incomparable, as always, Big Picture look at the day...

Seven years since -- looking back and forward on 9/11


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

International Rock-Flipping Day

It is not every day when someone invites you to go outside and 'flip a rock'.

So when I found a link to the International Rock-Flipping Day event . . .well, boy was I excited..!! Who does not want an excuse to go out and flip rocks over..?? The very idea just exudes 'BIG FUN'..!!

Hosted since 2007 (yes,it has a long and storied history...) by Via Negativa it has caught fire like only a . . .well, like a rock might..?? (Note to self: work on that metaphor.)

I actually discovered this event, scheduled for the first Sunday in September, late in the afternoon of the very day. To say I was a bit unprepared to 'flip a rock' would be an understatement.

I searched my urban yard for a suitable rock ...and searched ...and searched. Finally I gave up and decided a split log that had fallen from the neighbor's wood pile would have to suffice. I hope the rock-flipping gods might show a bit of mercy to this 'flipping newbie'.

At the right is a picture of my 'rock' (be quiet..!!) in situ. That means like where it was. I learned that from KatDoc at her flipping post. She obviously knows her Latin phrases.

When I flipped my 'rock' over . . .well lets just say I was neither shocked nor overwhelmed with biological diversity. Certainly nothing like others have found under their rocks.

Uhmm... most of what I saw when I 'flipped my rock' was like . . .dirt. Man, an urban lawn can certainly be a seemingly sterile place, especially under a *cough* rock.

But on closer examination, I found several earthworms and at least one of these little centipede or millipede bugs that we commonly find here in Central Iowa. I have no idea what they are or what they are called.

Of course, when the 'rock' was first flipped over, the ubiquitous pill bugs all scurried for cover. There are a larger and smaller examples in this picture of my *cough* rock's bottom surface.

I remember when the kids were younger they had to do a 'pill bug' project for their grade-school science project. I think we made them keep it outside.

The Bottom Line:

So what is the point of this holiday..?? What did I learn from participating..?? Will I do it again next year..??

Well, I never did find a good summary of why we all would want to do this, other than to recognize that there is whole hidden world hidden underneath our feet. Creatures small and smaller all use the coolness and moisture and protection found under a rock to live at least a portion of their lives.

Who among us does not welcome a warm, inviting, and protective place to relax our guard and just be ourselves..?? I think we can understand why many creatures find the same type of place so inviting.

I learned that my yard has very few large rocks in it. Lots of 'river rock' but most of them seemed not at all conducive for sheltering the smaller creatures around us. Perhaps next year I will plan ahead and find that perfect rock that might mirror Charlie Brown's 'Great Pumpkin' in my imagination.

Will I do it again next year..?? Oh my gosh yes, I mean how exciting is flipping a rock..?!? Wait, do not answer that.

To Learn More:

IRFD group on Flickr
IRFD gallery on Via Negativa

2008 participants links found here


Friday, September 5, 2008

What I learned today...

I learned today the reason eye doctors, be they optometrists or ophthalmologists, recommend you have someone available to drive for you after an eye exam that includes dilation of your pupils.

I had my annual (read: every 15 months, for some reason...) eye exam today and did not think about the fact that my eyes would probably be dilated for my normal vascular and and other checks.

Well once I was there it was a wee bit late to arrange someone to drive me soooo...

Ouch. What happened to all those cloudy, rainy, and dark days we had been having lately..?!?

Yowzy..!! How painful was that 15 minute drive home..?!?

You really come to appreciate what a complicated instrument the human eye is; how finely controlled, regulated, and powered it is. Normally the pupil easily constricts and relaxes to control the amount of light entering the eye. Use of topical eye drops allow the pupil to be artificially opened. The effect takes a few hours to 'wear off'.

Anyway... luckily no changes in the eyes and an uneventful drive home. I am now sitting in our darkened den/PC room while the effect wears off. Still squinting a bit, due to the ambient light and the monitor's glow.

An interesting chapter in what I learned today.


Monday, September 1, 2008

What is this 'Labor Day' Holiday all about..??

I think we all know the purpose of most of the American holidays we celebrate.

Fourth of July: that patriotism thing, the flag, fireworks, the Declaration Of Independence...

Memorial Day: remembering those who served in their country's stead. Flags massed, parades, too-old veterans in now-too-small uniforms, remembering those who currently serve our country...

Thanksgiving Day:
'Turkey Day', Pilgrims, Indians and Indian corn, pie, celebrating our bountiful (once again) harvest...

Christmas: Baby Jesus, Christmas trees, mangers, gifts/presents...

New Years Day: Football..!! A new year, a new beginning, Auld Lang Syne,

I listed them in the order they came to my mind, just free-associated a few thoughts with each. There are more of course. But those are the major ones.

Except for one: Labor Day

I sit here pondering the purpose of celebrating a day for 'Labor'. Perhaps the only thoughts that comes to mind for it are a traditional marker of the end of summer, a day for grilling and barbecuing, a day for anything but 'labor'

A little online reading points to that last thought as not being so far from the mark. Turns out the holiday originated in the late 1800s as "...a day off for the working citizens." Often a parade to celebrate "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" was held, which was then "followed by a festival for the workers and their families."

Dang, that sounds fine to me. Though I think over the years the holiday has fallen down the list of 'celebratory' holidays and perhaps now serves more as a marker of the end of summer, a chance to gird (one last time) ones children for the rigors of the coming school year, perhaps that weekend for one last road trip.

Which all works for me. I deliberately avoided my wife's 'honey-do' list and wasted the day barbecuing, surfing the Internet, watching some sports on TV, anything and everything but actually engaging in 'labor'. After all: we must honor the holiday and the working man..!!

A toast to all the workers out there. I am sharing my hope that you all had a fine and relaxing (and labor-free..!!) Labor Day holiday..!!