Tuesday, December 31, 2013

American Hustle

If you want to be entertained by a cast of compelling characters and a convoluted story line, go check out American Hustle.

I saw it at Marcus Theatres last night and came away loving Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence even more than I did going in. They each had outstanding performances, and I wouldn't be surprised to see any or all of them get respect come award season.

But the acting is so good and the plot is just a bit too complicated that it felt like something was missing. I can't put a finger on exactly what it was, but I don't see it winning Best Picture for winning. It was entertaining, but not a masterpiece, per se. I'm kind of being nitpicky, but so will the Oscar voters. (This article kind of sums up my thoughts exactly).

And with four such established starts, I at least have a hard time of remembering what their names are in the movie. If someone asked me for details from the plot line, I'd describe it as "Christian Bale and Amy Adams did this" rather than using their character's names. I still don't really know what they were.

All and all, I'm glad I went and checked it out. There's many other movies that might appear at the Oscars (Captain Phillips, 12 Years a Slave, Monuments Men, Wolf of Wall Street, etc.) but I'm glad I got that one checked off the list.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Packers are flawed but still playoff-bound

By now, Packers fans around the world have (likely) exhaled after their favorite team's thrilling 33-28 victory over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday.

I spent my afternoon like most Green Bay fans yesterday, alternating between sitting on the edge of my seat, pacing around the room and gesturing at the television.

But hey, it worked.

It wasn't the most impressive performance by a play0ff-bound team. The offense was good, but the play calling, at times, left something to be desired. The defense made mistakes that hurt, but also came up with just enough effort when it was needed most. And the special teams? The Packers are lucky that facet of the game didn't ruin their season.

As I crouched on the ground with my breath held and my hood pulled up, transfixed on what was transpiring on the television, I just had this feeling that things were going to work out for Green Bay yesterday. And really, I'm not sure why.

They didn't work out for the Packers at Lambeau in Week 16 against Pittsburgh. Yeah, the comeback against Dallas was impressive, but this certainly isn't the same Green Bay team that won Super Bowl XLV.

They'll be headed into the playoffs with as much momentum as an 8-7-1 team can possibly have, but Sunday's victory showed that the Packers have something possibly even more important: resiliency.

This team has its flaws, and they are plentiful. But there's no denying the fact that it takes a little something extra to convert three fourth downs in a row on the go-ahead drive, in the cold, on the road, in a do-or-die situation. And when the defense backs that up with a game-securing interception to run out the clock? Certainly impressive.

It's not magical or miraculous or some other sort of superlative. But the dynamics of the Week 17 win over the Bears certainly suggest that special things are possible for this Green Bay team. They'll have a chance to exercise their biggest demon over the past few seasons, the San Francisco 49ers, at Lambeau Field this coming Sunday.

They'll need Aaron Rodgers to look even sharper than he did against Chicago, a healthy tandem of Eddie Lacy and James Starks behind a cohesive offensive line, a defensive front seven that sticks to its assignments and a secondary that keeps the big-play threats in front of them. And if all of that goes according to plan? It just might be enough.

It looked like this was going to be a 12-4 division-winning Packers team before Rodgers got hurt, but it turned out to be an 8-7-1 Packers team with Rodgers playing half the season and Senescomatt Tolwalflynn helping keep the team afloat just enough while #12 was out.

The division was there for the taking for both the Bears and the Detroit Lions, and neither did. When Green Bay had its chance, they seized it.

The November Packers were tough to watch, and the December Packers nearly gave the fan base an early heart attack.

We'll have to wait until Sunday to see what the January Packers look like.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Anchorman 2 review

I really only wanted to get one thing done this weekend, and that was go see ANCHORMAN 2. As I've said plenty of times before, the original Anchorman is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I had pretty high expectations going in.

It has the whole original cast - Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner and Steve Carell - was there, which is essential for a sequel, in my opinion. The movie then adds to the cast with the likes of Harrison Ford (ever so briefly), James Marsden (whom I love) and Meagan Good (whom I wasn't very familiar with), but there were a great deal of cameos, much like the first, that helped the movie as well.

The first movie was classic for its witty, quotable one-liners more than anything, and 48 hours after seeing the sequel, there aren't any quotable lines that stick out in my memory. The plot is a bit ridiculous, like expected, but there are certain parts that draaaaaag out a bit too long and detract from the overall experience of the movie. There are also certain plot points that are underdeveloped (Will Brick find love?) but it's a comedy, not a Oscar-worthy drama. My gauge of how entertaining a movie is typically how many times I look at my watch/phone to see how much is left of the movie. I found myself doing that a few times on Saturday.

People have been asking me how my movie was, and I think I figured out how I want to summarize it: funny, good cameos, a bit long and the plot was lacking, but overall, it's doesn't irreparably harm the sterling reputation of the original.

If you were going to see it before, still go see it. If you weren't going to, you're probably still not going to. But there are worse ways to spend two hours.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Brussels sprouts

Have you ever been sitting around wondering how many Brussels sprouts you could fit inside a Mini Cooper?

Of course not, because that's a ridiculous proposition.

But apparently, they do things a little differently in the UK, because the answer is 38,182.

The vegetables weighed the equivalent of 29 festive reindeer and if laid out end to end, would be the length of a mile of tinsel, according to the UK's Orange News. After he finished his challenge, the sprouts were painstakingly picked out of the car by hand and taken to a local soup kitchen to be put to good use over the Christmas period.

So there you go. Not that you were ever wondering, but now you know.
Mini /Rex

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

12 Days of Christmas

Every year, someone takes the time to figure out the market price for all of the different gifts listed in the "12 Days of Christmas" and compares it to years past. This year, the total figure for the 12 days is up seven percent, to over $114,000. Apparently the biggest jump, according to PNC Wealth Management, was for the "Nine Ladies Dancing" who got a well-deserved 20 percent raise.

And let me tell you, they earned each and every dollar of that raise. One dollar at a time.

Via StaceyReid.com

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Justin Tucker

I knew going into last night's Monday Night Football game that I was going to be cheering loudly for the Baltimore Ravens. They're a relatively easy team to cheer for (unless you're Adrian Peterson, apparently) and they're from a city I've visited twice, including for the Packers vs. Ravens game this year. I had a very pleasant time at that game, and given the fact that, as a Green Bay fan, I was really hoping for a Baltimore win over the Detroit Lions so that the Packers might be able to control their own destiny when it comes to the playoffs this season. (I also don't really like the Lions in general, so I'd probably be cheering against them anyways.)
When I'm watching sporting events where at least one of the teams involved is not a favorite of mine (so the Packers, Brewers, Badgers basketball and Notre Dame football), I'm typically on twitter for the majority of the game. (I'll chime in during those other games, but typically my focus is on the TV, not my phone.) The Ravens were unable to score a touchdown at all last night, so the unlikely hero was kicker Justin Tucker, a name that not many Green Bay fans knew of before yesterday. I knew he was a second-year kicker out of Texas, but I'm weird like that. But watching him develop into a sort of folk hero as that game went along was kinda cool to see. It was cool to see Packers fans understand what this game meant and get behind this likable guy as the game went along. When Justin Tucker hit that 61-yarder at the end of the game, I let out a shout as loud as any play during a Packers game this season, and then Tucker's postgame interview saying "you're welcome" to fantasy football players was awesome.
Via NorthJersey.com

Kickers are weird, but I love them. Thank you Justin Tucker.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mars One

Ok, I know this is a couple of days old, but this is still pretty....well, I don't really know what it is. Awesome? Futuristic? Terrifying? Something along those lines.

 The group "Mars One" is apparently accepting applications for people to go to Mars sometime in the next 20 years. MARS. That's so far away. The kicker? Mars One is not planning on anyone making the return trip. Guess it's a one way flight. Here's more from the LA Times:

Mars One made headlines this spring when it began accepting applications for the first round of Mars colonizers. Anyone on the planet over the age of 18 was invited to apply, regardless of whether they had previous experience in engineering, medicine, planetary science or really anything.

Applicants were asked to submit videos in which they explained why they wanted to go to Mars and how they felt about never returning to Earth. (
Mars One does not envision sending anyone home.)

They were also asked to describe their sense of humor.

By the time Mars One stopped accepting applications in September, 202,000 people had expressed interest in being among the first humans to step foot on the Red Planet.

Eventually, Mars One will whittle down those applicants to about 40. Those selected will train in groups for seven years. And, if everything goes according to plan, at that time a global audience will vote on which group will go to Mars.

This feels like a scene out of like a "Hunger Games" type of movie, except more futuristic-y. Voting people off the planet? I know they're volunteering, but it's still kind of odd, no? Science be crazy, yo.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Snooze button

Having trouble waking up in the morning? The snooze button probably isn't the answer.
Here's a reason why. According to the New Yorker:

"Approximately a third of the population suffers from extreme social jetlag—an average difference of over two hours between their natural waking time and their socially obligated one. Sixty-nine per cent suffer from a milder form, of at least one hour."
So the majority of us are sleep deprived. And an extra 10 minutes isn't going to help.

Here's more from the article:

One of the consequences of waking up suddenly, and too early, is a phenomenon called sleep inertia. First given a name in 1976, sleep inertia refers to that period between waking and being fully awake when you feel groggy. The more abruptly you are awakened, the more severe the sleep inertia.

In the grip of sleep inertia, we may well do something we know we shouldn’t. Whether or not to hit the snooze button is just about the first decision we make. Little wonder that it’s not always the optimal one.

When we do wake up naturally, as on a relaxed weekend morning, we do so based mainly on two factors: the amount of external light and the setting of our internal alarm clock—our circadian rhythm.

So I guess the moral of the story is that getting out of bed is super tough and no one should have to do anything before 10 am, right?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

TIME Magazine

What do Walter White and Pope Francis have in common?

Well, not much. Considering one person is fictional meth kingpin and one person is one of the most known people in the (real) world.

But, according to TIME Magazine, both are pretty darn influential.

Pope Francis was named TIME's Person of the Year, after his papacy began in March of this year. A very worth candidate, and a whole heck of a lot more worthy than Miley Freaking Cyrus.

Walter White was named the year's most influential fictional character by TIME, and give how obsessed I've been with Breaking Bad, that's warranted too.

I just find it funny that can be mentioned in the same breath. But in all seriousness, looking back on 2013, they're definitely two of the biggest names.


And that is what you get when you google "walter white pope"

I love you internet.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What are the odds?

Some people just have bad luck. I've never hit a deer with my car, but I've driven over part of a dead one and drove underneath one that the girl in the lane next to me hit. Close calls, but nothing like this.

A 27-year-old woman was knocked out by a flying deer while jogging in Virginia. Yes, that's right.
Krystine Rivera was running by the side of Clairborne Parkway in Ashburn last week when she was hit by an airborne deer, the Washington Post reported.
The deer had been struck by a nearby car.
Rivera told Washington TV station WRC she never saw the deer coming.
"I was running, then I was on the ground and then was listening to the paramedic," she said. "I'm surprised I made it out alive."
Both Rivera and the driver were hospitalized, but the deer did not survive.

Read more: http://www.kcci.com/news/national/jogger-knocked-out-by-flying-deer/-/9357144/23392090/-/10kpf25z/-/index.html#ixzz2n6r3kQGa

Photo from http://shenkitup.com/wp-content/uploads/watch-for-flying-deer-teenage-boys.jpg

Monday, December 9, 2013

Don't give your money away!

If you've traveled through an airport in the last dozen years, you know all about having to empty your pockets, take off your shoes, slide everything through the x-ray scanner, and so on and so forth. In the hurry to get everything back on your person, apparently lots of people are leaving loose change behind. In fact, that loose change is adding up for the TSA.

According to Time.com:

The Transportation Security Administration hauled in $531,395.22 in pocket change that passengers left behind at security checkpoints last year, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post.

The half-a-million bucks the TSA reported collecting in 2012 is the most ever reported to Congress. Passengers in Miami made the fattest contribution to TSA coffers — $39,613 — while those passing through the airport in Guam gave — or lost — the least: $1.70.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Money makers

Want to feel depressed about how many zeroes are on your paycheck? Check out the list of the top-paid CEOs in 2013.

10. Gerald Rubin

Company: Helen of Troy

Compensation: $41.6 million

9. Richard Bracken

Company: HCA Holdings

Compensation: $46.4 million

8. E. Hunter Harrison

Company: Canadian Pacific Railway

Compensation: $49.2 million

7. David Zaslav

Company: Discovery Communications Class

Compensation: $49.9 million

6. John Hammergren

Company: McKesson

Compensation: $51.7 million

5. Leslie Moonves

Company: CBS

Compensation: $62.2 million

4. Robert Kotick

Company: Activision Blizzard

Compensation: $64.9 million

3. Mario Gabelli

Company: Gamco Investors

Compensation: $69 million

2. Larry Ellison

Company: Oracle

Compensation: $77 million

1. Elon Musk

Company: Tesla Motors

Compensation: $78.2 million
Read more: Top 10 Highest Paid CEOs | Top 10 Everything of 2013 - Business | TIME.com http://business.time.com/2013/12/04/business/slide/top-10-highest-paid-ceos/#ixzz2mjA97Avy

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ankle Swagger

Subscription clubs are pretty popular these days, whether you're getting beer or bacon or razors or whatnot. This particular club, however, I'm not sure.

It's called Ankle Swagger, and here are the different packages.

Seems like a good idea conceptually, but WHO THE HELL IS PAYING $12 FOR A PAIR OF SOCKS? New socks are one of my favorite things in the whole world (seriously) but I can't justify that price. $3 for a package of razors? Yes. Sign me up. Four times that for one pair of socks? I'm out.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Baby names

As the year ends, some of the more interesting articles to read are the "top 10" lists of this, that and the other thing. One of those articles I found recently dealt with baby names, and how, according to The Telegraph, families in the UK are moving away from naming their children after royalty. There aren't as many babies with the names William, Harry, Kate or baby George, but families have taken to naming their children more after fictional characters.

Like, characters from Breaking Bad for example.

From The Telegraph:
Names from the American crime series Breaking Bad were picked by a growing number of parents. Skyler and Jesse have increased as choices by 70 percent and 13 percent respectively. From Homeland the name Brody was up by 40 percent. Carrie and Dana also increased by 200 and 66 percent respectively. Arya from the TV drama Game of Thrones was a new entry to the top 100.

I find this interesting, especially when these kids have to explain their name later in life. Not that "Jesse" is a complicated name, but to say you're named after a meth cook from a TV show that aired in 2013? That's odd to explain.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tackled by his manhood

I've never played a down of real, organized football before, but I can only imagine how much this would hurt. Chck out how Rams safety TJ McDonald brings down Niners TE Vernon Davis.

Davis then tweeted this out today: It should be a league rule saying that a defender can not tackle a player by his penis. the most painful thing ever!

In the defender's...defense, he avoided Davis' helmet, which is all the NFL cares about these days, right?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Black Friday Shoplifting

The Thanksgiving and Black Friday holiday mean that the crazy shopping season is here too, and that means that, inevitably, there will be people looking to take a five-finger discount on top of the already crazy deals.

According to Morningstar.com:
$13 billion worth of goods are stolen from U.S. stores annually, the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention estimates, and shoplifters are reportedly only caught every 48 times they shoplift; by then, a regular shoplifter has already stolen $1,800 worth of goods. 

So retailers are fighting back. Nearly two dozen major U.S. stores apprehended 1.1 million shoplifters last year, an increase of 7% on the year before, according to the 25th Annual Retail Theft Survey conducted by Jack L. Hayes International, a loss-prevention consulting firm. Over $138 million was recovered from apprehended shoplifters in 2012, an increase of almost 23% from 2011.

Here's a look at some of the items shoplifters like to target most.

Cosmetics - makes sense, easy to pocket

Pregnancy tests - those are expensive...or so I hear

Baby formula - again makes sense

Men's razors - too expensive, if you ask me

Jewelry - duh.

Underwear - apparently ladies go and layer on a few pairs and then walk out with them all on

Condoms - I suppose. Too embarrassed to purchase them?

iPhone accessories - easy to pocket.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bears fan race (some NSFW language)

So nobody won on the field between the Packers and the Vikings yesterday, but I think it's safe to say that both fanbases win with this video.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Those Crazy Canadians

I'm all for helping animals, but these guys have some cajones.

Greenland shark

Two quick-thinking men on Newfoundland's northeast coast managed to save a Greenland shark from choking to death on a large piece of moose hide this past weekend.
Derrick Chaulk said he was driving down a road by the harbour in Norris Arm North this past Saturday when he saw what he thought was a beached whale.
When Chaulk went closer to investigate, he realized it was a shark, which he estimated was about 2.5 metres long, and weighed about 115 kg.
The animal was still alive and had a large chunk of moose hide protruding from its mouth.
  "It [the moose] had the fur and all the liner on it — it was about two feet long, maybe."
Chaulk said another local man, Jeremy Ball, arrived on the scene and starting pulling on the moose chunk.
Jeremy Ball of Norris Arm North, N.L., moves the beached shark into deeper water. (Courtesy Derrick Chaulk )
"A couple yanks and it just came right out."
The two men then set about getting the shark back in the water.
Ball tied a rope around the shark's tail, and Chaulk got ready to push.
"He pulled the rope, and I pushed with my boot," said Chaulk, "and between the two of us we got him out into deeper water."
Chaulk said the shark lay in about 30 cm of water for a few minutes.
"Then all of a sudden, the water started coming out of his gills and he started breathing,"

It's one thing to help an animal. It's another to help a distressed animal that has the capability of biting you in half. Well done, Canadians.

Read more here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/moose-eating-shark-rescued-in-newfoundland-harbour-1.2434102

Rivalry weekend

I've been having conversations all week with different people about both the Badgers vs Gophers game and the Packers vs Vikings game, but for some reason it just hit me that both of these games are going on these weekend. It's Wisconsin vs Minnesota rivalry weekend? The Badgers are a 16.5 point favorite (give or take, depending where you look) over the Gophers, even though both teams are 8-2. And the Packers are about a 4 or 5 point favorite (again, depending on where you look) over the Vikings, even though Green Bay has lost three straight. That being said, I wouldn't be betting on either Minnesota team this weekend. And that's not the homer in me talking...

Scott Tolzien has experience playing against the Gophers, and will get his first look at the Vikings this weekend.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What the heck?

How is this a game? My friends and I did some stupid things when we were younger, such as make Drano bombs to set off in an open field. or hitting flaming tennis balls at each other), but nobody ever got hurt. At least not intentionally.

This is different. And dumb.

According to the New York Daily News:

"Knockout" is an emerging trend among unhinged teens that consists of targeting a passerby at random and trying to lay them out with one punch.

That's it.

Participants call this — the game's singular move — the "one hitter quitter."

Their victims can be anyone: elderly men or mothers with kids are not exempt. This poor attempt at manliness — i.e. thinly veiled cowardice — has even ended in death.

Most of the knockout incidents have taken place in the New York metro area.

"You just knock them out. You hit them with a blow and you take their belongings," one teen told the station.

This was the only "knocking out" of anyone that I did growing up.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/teen-knockout-game-continues-harm-innocent-people-article-1.1521185#ixzz2lDbtCGfu

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Train Goddess

Why can't this ever happen to me on the train?

Naked 'Goddess' Takes Over Chicago Train, Orders Everyone Off [NSFW]

According to the ChicagoNow article and Gawker report:

After jumping the turnstile at the Granville station of Chicago's Red Line — the Chicago Transit Authority's busiest line — and slapping several commuters, a fully nude woman announced that she was taking over the train and was heading to the front to drive it.
Calling herself "The Goddess of the Train" according to eyewitnesses, the unidentified 31-year-old ordered all passengers off, causing a 15-to-30-minute delay in service this past Saturday
DNAInfo Chicago reports that police arrived at the scene around 12:45 p.m, and escorted the woman off the train.
She was subsequently transported to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston for evaluation.
A police spokeswoman said the woman suffers from a mental illness, but would not specify.

I literally have no idea what I would say to her in that situation. Apparently some girls just wanna have fun.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hate your commute?

If you've been stuck in traffic before on your way to work  and wondered what it would be like to tear through the streets on a sports car, you might soon be able to. With the video game Gran Turismo 6 and the miracle of GPS, video game designers are working on it.

According to AutoBlog.com: At some point after the game's launch, players will be able to download a GPS-enabled app to their smartphones. Turn it on while on your choice of road, and the app tracks elevation and GPS coordinates to create a replica of the road in the game. That's right, you can essentially add any road on the planet into GT6.

Gran Turismo 6

That's an actual screen shot from the game. Pretty realistic, huh? Read more about it here: http://www.autoblog.com/2013/11/17/gran-turismo-6-gps-track-creator/

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dumb Criminals

If you're appearing on a "Most Wanted" list, chances are you're doing something wrong.

WMUR in New Hampshire released a most wanted listed on Wednesday featuring the wonderful mugshot of Nicholas Emond, and Emond was nice enough to leave a number of comments on the photo that obviously blamed the government for his wrongdoings.

Nicholas Emond

Emond was arrested earlier Friday. Thanks, buddy! Here's a look at some of his comments. He uses the pseudonym "Sin Demon" which is kind of like his name jumbled up. His grammar hurts my brain.

Fugitive Comments On Own Most Wanted Photo On Facebook [UPDATE]

Read more here: http://deadspin.com/fugitive-comments-on-own-most-wanted-photo-on-facebook-1464780683

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Max Scherzer

I've been to plenty of Loggers games over the past few years, but in working as the PA announcer for them this past summer, I got to see how much this community loves the team and grows to love the players, even if they're only going to be on the roster for a short period of time.

That's why I'm not surprised to see the outpouring of support for Max Scherzer all season long, but especially last night as he was named the AL Cy Young award winner, given to the best pitcher in the league for the 2013 season.  Scherzer was only a Logger during the 2004 season, but each time I was able to give the crowd updates on how he was doing at a Loggers game, it was always met with a rousing ovation.

Congratulations to Max, the Detroit Tigers and the La Crosse Loggers organization on an impressive award.

Photo: What a season!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wi-Fi battery power

One of the most frustrating things about my current cell phone (I know, I know, first world problems) is the fact that the battery life is...well...less than desirable. If I'm on the go for the whole day, there's a good chance that I'm gonna need to be on my phone, and an even better chance that the battery is going to die before day's end. Is it too much to ask for a battery to last a full day of normal usage?

There may soon be an answer, and we have college students to thank.

Duke Pratt School of Engineering students Alexander Katko and Allen Hawkes have designed a device capable of picking up wi-fi signals and converting them to usable electrical current. Who needs a power cable when power-filled waves are all around you?
The specifics behind the Duke technology are a bit complex, even for me. But the gist of it is that the students designed a high-efficiency device capable of devouring the power hidden in the invisible waves of energy around us. A small five-cell array was able to pull 7 volts of power from microwaves in thin air — enough to power a small USB device. Want more power? No problem: increasing the amount of usable electricity drawn is as simple as adding another cell to the array.

Photo from the Duke Pratt School of Engineering

Read more: Phones Powered by Wi-Fi Could Make Chargers Obsolete | TIME.com http://www.techlicious.com/blog/wifi-powered-phones-could-make-chargers-obsolete/#ixzz2kSmRExid

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day

To the over 21 million veterans in the United States today, I want to extend a sincere thank you. What you do transcends the political nonsense you hear today. Left or right, red or blue, I think all 300+ million people need to take a whole lot longer than just one day out of the year to give thanks to the sacrifices you all make. One of the things in my life that I am most proud about is the fact that there is a 2nd lieutenant in the Army that I am proud to call my brother. He, and all of the other active military members as well as veterans, chose a life of service so that I wouldn't have to. So while you go about your regular Monday (and for some, a day off work), remember why you got to sleep in and have a Netflix marathon. It's not because you earned it. It's because our Veterans did.

Today there is a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetary. I got a chance to visit in 2012 and it was one of the most incredible things I've ever seen. Highly encouraged to all that are able to make it at some point. Here are some photos I took from that trip.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Star Wars Christmas

The new JJ Abrams-directed Star Wars film is slated to be released December 18, 2015. I can only imagine how much money that thing is going to make. According to Box Office Mojo, the two highest grossing movies for Christmas Day are Sherlock Holmes at $25M and Avatar at $24M.

Filming of "Star Wars: Episode VII" is slated to begin in Spring of 2014.

Think it will set some records for Christmas is 2015? I certainly do.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Calm down, Packers fans.

I don't know what it is about football, but there is an overreactionary quality amongst many of its fans. For example, when the Packers lost Week 1 against San Francisco, people were ready to throw in the towel. Flash forward eight weeks, and the Packers are 5-2 and on top of the division.

Monday night's injury to Aaron Rodgers provided another opportunity for Packers fans to hit FULL FLEDGED FREAK OUT mode. He's hurt. He ain't dead. The season's not over.

Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

I think it might be the downtime during the week, with as many as SIX WHOLE DAYS for a fan base to get worked up about a particular issue. People apparently earned an M.D. almost immediately after Rodgers went down in the first quarter against Chicago.

I've heard people say that "Brett Favre would have played with a broken collarbone" which is just inflammatory garbage. I've also heard people proclaim that Rodgers will be out for the season, which isn't impossible but I'd bet anything he returns during the regular season.

As irreplaceable as Aaron Rodgers is, he's going to have to be replaced in the mean time. If fans were thinking Super Bowl before #12 went down, they're going to have to temper those expectations a bit. On the same hand, there are still 52 quality players on the Green Bay roster, and they're not just going to roll over while Rodgers is gone.

The season isn't over by any means. If the Packers can tread water with Seneca Wallace at the helm, they'll be just fine. Hopefully Rodgers can be back for the final 3 or 4 games and lead Green Bay into the playoffs, and hopefully a deep postseason run will follow.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Daylight savings time

Interesting facts about the start of daylight savings from timeanddate.com.

The idea of daylight saving time was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 during his stay in Paris. He published an essay titled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” that proposed to economize the use of candles by rising earlier to make use of the morning sunlight.

DST was first adopted to replace artificial lighting so they could save fuel for the war effort in Germany during World War I at 11:00pm (23:00) on April 30, 1916. It was quickly followed by Britain and many countries from both sides, including the United States. Many countries reverted back to standard time post-World War I, and it wasn’t until the next World War that DST would make its return to many countries in order to save vital energy resources for the war.
Photo from www.juvenescence.net

President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted year-round DST in the United States, called “War Time” during World War II from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945. The law was enforced 40 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and during this time, time zones were called “Eastern War Time”, “Central War Time”, and “Pacific War Time”. After the surrender of Japan in mid-August 1945, the time zones were relabeled “Peace Time”.

Daylight saving was first recognized as an energy saving aspect during World War II when Double Summer Time was applied in Britain which moved the clocks two hours ahead of GMT during the summer and one hour ahead of GMT during the winter.

But according to a 2010 Rasmussen poll, nearly half of Americans (47%) would rather not have daylight savings time, saying it's not worth the hassle.

What say you? Which side of the "argument" are you on?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween from Ron Burgundy

The more I think about it, trick-or-treating seems to contradict everything that we've told the children about not accepting candy from strangers.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Super phone

If you're like me, there's a good chance you've dropped your phone in the water.

I've always learned to put that bad boy in rice as soon as possible and maybe there's a chance it could be saved. I've lost phones and had phones limp along on life support, but this is a different story.

According to The Times of India, a Nokia Lumia 800 that had been at the bottom of a lake for THREE AND A HALF MONTHS was found and the owner dried it out on a radiator. 

It wasn't just submerged either. It was covered in muck and waste and wedged between two rocks. But sure enough, that sucker booted up, made calls, took pictures and everything. Apparently the battery life wasn't compromised either.

I feel like if I look at my phone the wrong way or get an errant raindrop on it, it will turn off and not cooperate for hours.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Texting and Driving

I do my best not to text and drive, but I think like most people, I'm guilty of doing it from time to time.

This graph may change my mind.


If you're going to get caught, it's much more expensive to get caught on the east side of the Mississippi. And it's not surprised that Illinois just has a slap on the wrist. Alaska takes things seriously - a $10,000 and up to a year in prison!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Quite the concept

The innovation behind this is...well...breast breath taking.

A Greek TV broadcaster by the name of Maria Bacodimou will be wearing a special brassiere that, when unclasped, sends out a tweet to her 150,000 twitter followers, reminding them to perform a special breast self-exam.

Genius, in concept. Except I feel like she might have a lot of desperate men following her. But anyways, good idea.

Photo from Breitbart.com

The idea is part of the October campaign for Nestle Fitness highlighting Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The "social networking bra" uses a "special mechanism hidden under the hook of the bra. When it is unhooked, a signal is sent to a cell phone which in turn notifies a server that generates a tweet" according to the article.

When the tweets go out at the end of the day, that'd make sense. But if one for some reason goes out over the noon hour...she might just be at the gym. Or...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Kids say the darndest things

This is pure gold. Well done, Crest.

I don't know if this is going to make me more likely to buy Crest toothpaste, but it's comedy brilliance. Oh kids.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Here it goes down, down into my belly

I couldn't be more excited for the release of ANCHORMAN 2 in December. The original movie is in my top three favorite movies of all time, if not at the top. And in a brilliant twist of cross-promotion, which Ben and Jerry's is apt to do, THIS will debut in November. I don't even like butterscotch, really, but you're damn right I'm going to buy a pint or two of this.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

If Finley retires, that's ok.

The NFL can provide fame and fortune for many of the people lucky enough to ever wear a pro football uniform.

However, there’s an inherent risk that comes with each and every snap of the football.

Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley came face-to-face with that realization during Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

Finley was carted off the field with a neck injury and was forced to spend Sunday night in the intensive care unit of a local hospital. The reports coming out of the Packers’ camp have been good, with news that Finley has full feeling of his extremities and video has surfaced of him walking through the hospital.

Walking is one thing. The punishment of the NFL is something totally different.

According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, the bruised spinal cord that Finley suffered will likely end the tight end’s season, but it’s not believed to be a career-ending.

That doesn’t mean the thought of ending his football-playing career hasn’t crossed Finley’s mind.

As recently as September 28 of this year, after suffering a concussion in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Finley said that his five-year old son encouraged him not to play football anymore.

Finley said that his son Kaydon told him “”Daddy, I don’t want you to play football anymore,’” according to NFL.com. “So that was a little hard to take, just hearing a five-year-old,” Finley said, “knowing the violence and the (intensity) of the game and seeing his father walk off the field like he did, I would think is pretty hard for a family to see.”

Just three weeks after that quote, Finley found himself face down on the turf with not only his season but his playing career and well-being at stake.

It’s truly an unfortunate situation for a talented player that was seeming to find his role on a talented team, but there shouldn’t be anyone that faults Finley should he choose to walk away.

It would actually be refreshing to see a young man in Finley – who is just 26 – put his health and family above the future millions that he could potentially earn. If he chooses to rehabilitate and come back, great, but it’s going to be a decision that Finley and his family make on their own.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ticket dilemma

There's a lucky s.o.b. in Boston that stumbled across tickets to tomorrow night's World Series opener for just SIX BUCKS! It's most likely do to an error by the seller at the ticket reselling website StubHub, but "Erik" secured a seat that's now retailing for $759 for just SIX FREAKING DOLLARS.

Man Buys Ticket To Game 1 Of World Series For $6 On StubHub

That poses the question. If you were able to procure said ticket for said price, what would you do? Would you try to flip the ticket for a profit of a couple hundred dollars, or would you collect your prize and attend the game? Being the die-hard sports fan that I am, I'd have to say go to the game. Let's say you make $500 from the sale - are you gonna remember how you spend it? You'll always remember that World Series game you attended though. Decision, decisions...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Best week of food in a long time

I had the good fortune of being able to go on trips each of the past two weekends, which is the reason I've been in and out of the studio of recent.

It started 10 days ago when I went to Washington DC where I had some delicious Korean food, some El Salvadorean papusas and one of the best chili dogs I've ever had. This past weekend, I attended a wedding in Kansas City where I got to gorge on some of the best barbecue ever. God I love food.

My first sushi experience here. Spicy crab roll from the East coast...fresh and actually pretty good. Some stuff was pretty bland (avocado and cream cheese and rice? Ugh.) More flavor = better.

Papusas from El Riconcito del Sabor  in Virginia. They're pockets stuffed with pork and cheese. Yes please. And I put the restaurant name in italics because I always say it with an accent.

And I got a tamale too, just because.

A look at the "half smoke" chili dog from Ben's Chili Bowl near Capitol Hill.

Oklahoma Joe's looks pretty unassuming, right?


Ribs, brisket, sausage, fries, Texas toast and gumbo.

Holy buckets.

Lots of great eating the past week. Time to hit the treadmill.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Good bet, Grandpa!

If my grandfather had made a bet similar to this, it would have been money down the drain.

But for 62-year old Peter Edwards of Wales, it's a bet that's going to allow him to retire.
Harry Wilson and Craig Bellamy
Photo from BBC

Edwards bet 50 pounds (about $80) that his 18-month old grandson would grow up to play for the Welsh national football (soccer) team. 14.5 years later, that bet paid off, as 16-year old Harry Wilson made his debut for the Welsh team last night.

When he placed the bed, he got 2,500 to 1 odds that his grandson would ever play for the Welsh national team.

The bet paid off, netting Edwards 125,000 pounds, or just over $200,000.

Pretty good foresight on Grandpa's part.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Scientists and their 'research'

Ok, so you might have seen the article where researchers are contending that Oreos are as addicting as cocaine. Walk down any street in America and I could have told you the same thing. But the question that lingers for me...how is this pressing research?

The research looked at the rats’ behaviors and the effects the cookies had on their brains. Rats were put into a maze and given the choice of hanging out near rice cakes or Oreos. The tasty sandwich cookies won that popularity contest handily. Those results were compared to a different test, where rats were given the choice of loitering in an area of a maze where they were injected with saline or in another corner where they could get a shot of cocaine or morphine.
Photo from WTOP.com

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Enemy Territory

This past Sunday, I was lucky enough to be in house for the Packers vs. Ravens game in Baltimore. I have a friend that lives in Northern Virginia, so it was only about a 45 minute drive to Maryland for the game. Tickets were expensive, but they certainly could have been worse. And given the fact that M&T Bank Stadium is still relatively new (opened in 1998), the sight lines from the upper level were great.

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Ravens fans were OK to deal with, for the most part. It helped that there were a couple thousand Packers fans there (I'd guesstimate maybe 5,000 out of the 70,000 fans there were supporting Green Bay). I heard my fair share of "Discount Double Suck" remarks and someone tried to berate me for my choice to wear a Jordy Nelson jersey. Apparently he was concerned with where Jordy went to college. Then his buddy told him Kansas State. I'm still a little confused by that one.

The first have was surprisingly entertaining in person, though I've heard from many that the 6-0 game was boring to watch on TV. It certainly picked up in the second half, and the Packers needed big plays from JerMichael Finley and Eddie Lacy to close things out. It was my first Green Bay game that I've attended on the road, and I'd highly recommend the experience to anyone.

Especially when the good guys win.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hangover Cure

Everyone knows that a spicy bloody mary and a nice greasy breakfast are the best cure for a hangover, right?


Well, apparently not.

According to China, or at least a team of Chinese scientists, the chemical compound used to make Sprite is effective in dealing with hangovers because, and excuse my layman's terms here (which may or may not be correct), the bubbly stuff in Sprite helps to break down the enzymes in alcohol.

Makes sense to me, I guess.

TIME magazine tries to break it down here:

The carbonated lemon-lime drink showed a markedly positive effect on alcohol-related symptoms in a recent study conducted by a team of Chinese scientists. Apparently, Sprite has the ability to breakdown acetaldehyde, a metabolite of ethanol. By contrast, many other drinks tested — among them herbal teas — were found to have the opposite effect and actually increased those symptoms we all know too well (and forget about every Friday night).

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rodgers talking Congo

If I had to choose between Aaron Rodgers being a spokesman or just being a quarterback, I'd quickly keep him playing football. I don't necessarily want him taking up every cause or promoting every product and to his credit, he doesn't, but on Monday he took time to speak to UW-Madison students about an issue he's apparently passionate.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal:

Rodgers "was joined by actress Emmanuelle Chriqui, Congolese teammate Andy Mulumba, and others to raise awareness and to pressure technology companies not to buy minerals used in computers and other consumer electronics from Congo."

Thousands of students turned out for the event, primarily sponsored by the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative.

Rodgers joined students in the UW tradition "Jump Around," quickly diffused students' speculation about a relationship with Chriqui and took several digs at Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola, who is accused of verbally abusing members of the UW Marching Band before Sunday's Packers-Lions game at Lambeau Field. But Rodgers was quick to point out that he didn't come to Madison on Monday night to talk football.

Photo Credit: MP King, Wisconsin State Journal
After learning about the conflict in Congo from Chriqui, Rodgers decided to get involved in the effort to pressure consumer electronics manufacturers from using minerals from the warring nation.

“That was kind of my 'enough' moment. A device that I take everywhere with me. It’s my lifeline to my friends, to my Candy Crush, to my Twitter account during the offseason. This is the lifeblood of these warlords who are doing some incredible atrocities half a world away,” he said, asking students to help make UW-Madison the first conflict-free school in the Big Ten conference.

Sounds sort of Blood Diamond-esque, and it's not necessarily a cause that many people are going to disagree with. He's not a politician and doesn't have to be, but it's good to see Rodgers using his notoriety to bring attention to a cause he believes in.

Monday, October 7, 2013

My Monday Rant

I figure, it's Monday, so why not rant about something.

Today: pumpkins.

I've never understood the fascination with them. They smell bad, they rot quickly, and eating anything related to them just baffles my mind.

I've never liked carving pumpkins. I've never liked pumpkin pie. And I don't like coffee to begin with, so pumpkin spice lattes are out of the question.

But...pumpkin Pringles?

Really? I have to imagine they are terrible. In fact, I am going to assume they are. And no, I won't "just try one" because I DON'T WANT TO.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Classic Mixup

I don't know much about the stock market. I mean, I passed microeconomics in college, but that's about the extent of my knowledge. If I really remember any of that at all.

Now, I'm a big fan of Twitter and am mildly curious to see how the company's initial public offering is going to do when it was released. But that's just the thing. It hasn't been released yet. And some people didn't read the fine print.

Photo from http://siliconangle.com/files/2013/08/twitter-IPO2.jpg

According to TIME,

Reuters reports that confused investors eager to get in early on the Twitter IPO news temporarily boosted the stock of bankrupt electronics company Tweeter by purchasing shares in it, which were going for one cent each before the demand shot the price up to 15 cents. Tweeter’s NASDAQ symbol is “TWTRQ,” which led to the confusion.

Twitter officially
released plans for its IPO yesterday, but the date of the offering is still unknown. For now, the public can’t buy Twitter stock, and when it is available, we somehow doubt it will be going for the low, low price of a penny.

Classic mistake. Good thing the stock was only a penny.