Archive for September 14th, 2003

Bush $200 Bill Revealed

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SEPTEMBER 12–North Carolina cops are searching for a
guy who successfully passed a $200 bill bearing George W. Bush’s portrait
and a drawing of the
White House complete with lawn signs reading"no Justice Scandals" "We
like broccoli" and "USA
deserves a tax cut." The phony Bush bill was presented to a cashier
at a Food Lion in Roanoke Rapids on September 6 by an unidentified male
who was seeking to pay for $150 in groceries.
Remarkably, the cashier accepted the counterfeit note and gave the man
$50 change. "

from
the Smoking Gun

Bowie’s Brain Like Swiss Cheese

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David Bowie has to read his lyrics on stage after years
of drug abuse left his memory full of holes. The singer said he has been
reading his songs from a book perched on a music stand.

Bowie – now clean of drugs but a heavy user in the 1970s – revealed
his need to be prompted to Jonathan Ross in an interview to be screened
on BBC1. The singer has often talked about how his memory has been left
like "Swiss
cheese". He suffered dramatic weight loss and was almost skeletal
at the height of his drug years.’  Who knew? from Ananova

Throwing Serious Heat

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from the New York Times

Any fan of baseball or the Guiness Book of World Records
will enjoy this longish article on 100-mph fastball pitchers.

According to Robert Adair, a physicist and professor emeritus at Yale
University and the author of ”The Physics of Baseball,” throwing a ball
this hard transcends the ordinary parameters of the game. ”It’s really
at the edge of what human beings can do,” Adair told me.

Adair said a 100-m.p.h. fastball reaches the catcher four-tenths of a
second after it leaves the pitcher’s hand. A batter has fifteen-hundredths
of a second to react to a 100-m.p.h. fastball. ”The ball,” Adair said,
”moves faster than you can move your eyes.”

Fear the Beaver

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Old Mascot – Cheer the Beaver
MIT is upset because they don’t get enough respect – on the
athletic field.  As part of their program to remedy this situation
they have redesigned their mascot.

New Mascot – Fear the Beaver

The mascot was a Disneyesque, buck-toothed
beaver (get it, "Nature’s Engineer") that officials now
think looks a little too happy. The new beaver is a pumped-up, fierce-eyed
mascot with the slogan, ”Fear the Engineers.

”We have more varsity sports than any other school in the NCAA —
Division 1, 2 or 3,” says
MIT’s
assistant
athletics
director,
John Benedick. ”We get no respect. People just think we’re a bunch
of geeks."

I never thought they were a bunch of geeks.  Back in the day MIT
urdergrads were known for their raucous nitrous oxide parties, and I used
to get the good Jamacian from the 2nd seat in the MIT varsity heavy eights,
and followed their crew for a while.  They were good. I also always had
the impression MIT excelled at fencing and lacross.  Not to mention
chess, in which they probably rule.

And don’t even get me started on football.  Four years ago the
President of the University where I work DISBANDED our football team,
ONE YEAR after they had won the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP in division 3!  His
excuse was that the violence of American Football was "inconsistent
with the academic purpose of the institution!" For Christ’s Sake, John,
get a grip.  MIT has a FINE football team. They haven’t won a
game since 1987, but they are out there competing, and that’s what
counts.

In fact, MIT claims to have 42 varsity sports, one more than even Harvard.  Of
course, Harvard scoffed snootily, "Hearing that MIT was claiming 42 varsity
teams, officials at Harvard, which has 41, chafed. They point to MIT’s
varsity pistol and rifle teams as evidence of MIT’s skewed vision of varsity
sports."

Hey, wait a minute! I was ON the Harvard Rifle Team in 1973! The team capitan,
a member of my "freak fraternity" and now owner of a software company in
Houston, had the key to the Harvard rifle range and we would go down there
in the wee hours under the effects of whatnot and invent weird games like
hanging tootsie roll pops from shoelaces tied to the mechanized target holders.  When
we rolled ’em back down the range, the lollypops swung around wildly and
were wicked hard to hit.  Or even see, for that matter.

We lost all 12 matches that season. Most of the guys we were shooting against were steely-eyed vets with thousand-yard stares just back form Nam and trying to finish college on Uncle Sam, while we were just a bunch of Ivy freaks who liked to play with guns. But I got my Harvard varsity letter
sweater out of the deal. So enough with the snide "skewed vision" comments.  If
it’s good enough for the olympics, it should be good enough for Harvard.
And a hearty Beaver Cheer for the Angry Engineers at MIT.

article from the Boston Globe

Big Third Cousin

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Remember frantically fumbling for coins
inside, under and around your seat, as you held up traffic in the exact-change
lane at the Turnpike tollbooths? In a pathetically
transparent attempt to cooerce people into using the $27.50 automatic-deduction
transponders
in
the FastLane program, officials of the Mass Turnpike have removed all
exact-change lanes, leaving two options: FastLane or human tolltakers.  Guess
which line takes forever. Guess who else thinks this stinks.

”They’re forcing you to make a decision you should make
freely,” says the ubiquitous Alan Dershowitz, a stalwart against creeping
transponderism. ”It’s not Big Brother yet,” he says, ”but it’s Big
Third Cousin.”


I’m really gonna miss those exact change baskets.One
time, some of my coins missed and fell to the pavement. I put my minvan
in reverse and carefully backed up to where they lay. Opening the door
to the van, I leanded down to pick them up, taking my foot off the
brake in the process.  The van started slowly backward. The
open door snagged on a steel post and peeled back like the lid on a sardine
can. The Cambridge Youth Soccer team I was transporting at the time thought
it was hilarious.

related
Sam Allis column in
the Boston Globe