The Stall Call

>> 31 August 2009

A few minutes ago, I went into the bathroom. Upon entering, I heard someone engaged in a convivial discussion about his preferred North Carolina beach.

My initial assumption was that this gentleman was engaged in lighthearted sink conversation. One of the first rules of male bathroom etiquette is that conversations should only occur at the sink, unless there are exceptional circumstances (for example: you notice a venomous spider crawling on some one's shoulder, or your shirt is on fire and you need help, etc.)

As I entered, I quickly realized that this individual was not at the sink.

He must, I thought (naively), be at the urinal. Frivolous urinal talk is a universally frowned upon, although normally tolerated, offense. This guy was not at the urinal.

Cross-stall talk, I thought. This guy is flaunting conventions with total impunity! But there was only one stall door which was closed.
Schizophrenia, then! But how has he managed to keep a job if he is completely insane?

But he wasn't schizophrenic. The last words of his conversation were: "Look, I've got to run. I'll call you back after lunch." Then, he flushed.

I witnessed a stall-call.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Have you ever stall called?
  2. If your answer is 'no,' are you lying?
  3. What rules of bathroom etiquette do you observe?
  4. Is bathroom etiquette a means of 'social control' used by the culturally elite to 'manipulate' us?
Blog Trivia: before this post, there were no pictures of toilets photoshopped into phone booths to be found on google images. I feel like this is my first real contribution to the internet.


The Final Word on Music Videos

>> 28 August 2009

My co-worker, Ashley, showed me this video. It is breathtaking. Watching it gave me the distinct sensation of peering into someone else's feverish, disjointed dream.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Which David Hasselhoff show was better, Knight Rider or Baywatch?
  2. Who would win in a fight between David Hasselhoff and Arnold Schwarzenegger?
  3. Considering the impressive breadth of his talent, is there anything that you can do better than D.H. can? If so, what is that thing?


A look into my Google Reader

>> 24 August 2009

Have you ever, while exhausted from the strain of navigating from one e-blog / website to another, thought: I wish the internet would come to me!? That's what Google Reader (my preferred RSS reader) does. You subscribe to your favorite websites and G-Reader aggregates all updates from that website into an inbox-like format, where the posts pile up until you could never hope to read them all.

The point of this post is not to shill for Google Reader, but rather to share with you, the internet, some of the e-blogs that I subscribe to. Perhaps you will discover, among this list, a few e-blogs which you, too, will enjoy.

  1. Soccer by Ives - If you're only going to read one soccer e-blog (I know it's hard to limit yourself to just one) this should be that e-blog. Good coverage of MLS, International competitions, and European domestic leagues.
  2. The Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks - If you're a grammar snob, this "should" appeal to you. If you're not a grammar snob, you'll still "get the joke."
  3. Cake Wrecks - Every day is like your birthday with these hilarious/awful/great cakes. Some of them are truly horrible.
  4. New Raleigh - Restaurant reviews, concerts, plays, etc. This is a good e-blog for keeping up with the Raleigh scene.
  5. Jon Taplin's Blog - Political and cultural commentary from a USC professor. Tends to be on the liberal side. Also, tends to have good ideas and reasonable commentary, while those are in short supply among pundits on both ends of the political spectrum.
  6. Know Your Meme - Rickrolled? Chocolate Rain? FAIL? Keyboard cat? The internet can be a confusing place. This e-blog helps you make sense of the many internet memes out there in cyberspace (wow. who says cyberspace anymore?)
  7. Boing Boing! - This is an e-blog about nothing. And everything. If it's strange/funny/nerdy it will eventually end up on Boing Boing!
Questions for Discussion:
  1. Do you use Google Reader?
  2. Do you read any of these e-blogs?
  3. Any e-blogs you would recommend?
  4. Does it seem like Google is taking over the internet?
  5. Does it seem like the internet is taking over Google? Think about that!


Make Music with the Internet

>> 22 August 2009

Have you ever felt like the only thing keeping you from making great electronic music is a lack of skill / knowledge? Have you ever listened to the radio, heard a song, and thought, I could do better than that if someone did all the hard work for me. Well, now is your chance to prove it!

Follow this link to automatic fat beats. It's a lot of fun to play with.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Did you make a beat?
  2. Are you going to keep your day job while you try to make it as a producer?
  3. Does this confirm you suspicion that electronic music is made by computers / talentless people?


Help...I Think I'm a Communist!

>> 19 August 2009

In 2008, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison received $84,598,700 in compensation. Let me say that in bold: $84,598,700. That means that in the eyes of the board of directors, the work that Ellison does for the company is equivalent in value to the work of roughly 1,000 employees earning $85,000 a year. Consider the fact that the median pay for Oracle employees is almost certainly less than that and we are looking at closer to 1,200 people. If it came down to a decision between firing Larry Ellison, or firing 1,200 employees, the board of directors would have a really difficult decision. Both are equally valuable to the company!

Did you detect a hint of sarcasm in my typing?

Larry Ellison is among the highest paid CEOs in the world (he was the highest paid in 2007), and his yearly compensations aren't necessarily a good indicator of what most CEOs are earning. Nevertheless, the average yearly compensation for a CEO of an S&P 500 company is $10 million. Even if you're not making Larry Ellison money, that is still a lot of dough! An average worker with a college degree in the United states makes roughly $40,000 a year. For $10,000,000 - the price of one S&P 500 CEO - you could employ 250 average American workers.

I understand that CEOs are talented leaders, communicators, and so on and etc. I also understand that in a free market economy, people are compensated based on the market value of their work. But does anyone really believe that the fair market value of a CEO's labor is $10,000,000 a year? Honestly?

Consider this: the people on the board of directors for most major companies are - big surprise - OTHER CEOs! Of the eight members of the Oracle board of directors, four are CEOs, two are professors from Stanford (who receive $400,000 annually for being on the board), one attorney, and a multi-millionaire venture capitalist to round it out.

Test your cynicism by answering the following question: Why would CEOs on a board of directors approve an outrageous salary for another CEO?

We pay our president $400,000 a year. A Nobel laureate, someone who has made groundbreaking accomplishments for the benefit of humanity, $1.2 million per prize won. And, you know what? That sounds about right. CEO pay, on the other hand, sounds a lot like a scam.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Am I a communist / insane?
  2. If you were throwing a party and could have 1,200 people come, or just Larry Ellison, who would you choose and why?
  3. Which musical artist with populist themes does this post make you think of? Bob Dylan? Bruce Springsteen? The Jonas Brothers?


Jordan Tazed Himself

>> 17 August 2009

I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Jordan:

After pretending to be a dog, he tazed himself with an invisible dog fence. [clarification: that is a fence which is invisible, used for containing dogs. It is not a fence used to contain invisible dogs, which, to the best of my knowledge, do not exist.]

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Have you ever been tazed or electrocuted. If so, did you survive?
  2. Would you consider adopting an invisible dog as a pet? What would you name it?


Bad News About Double Spacing

>> 16 August 2009

. space space

This is programmed into my brain. This is as automatic as breathing. I am psychologically incapable of typing a period without following it up with two taps on the space bar. Sometimes -- and this is a little bit sad -- when I think about words and sentences before I write them, I imagine them with a period at the end, followed by a double space.

BAD NEWS! According to hearsay, the double space is out. Old news. Yesterday's newspaper. Newspapers generally. Done with.

I've been told by numerous credible sources that modern style guides are advocating a single space between sentences. Let me say that again in bold and in CAPS so that everyone understands what's going on here: STYLE GUIDES ARE ADVOCATING A SINGLE SPACE BETWEEN SENTENCES! Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, it is shocking!

Apparently, the double space between sentences is a relic of the days when people used type-writers (like computer without the internet). This history is boring, so I will skip it for now.

With my e-blog I have always sought to provide a grammatical and type-setting 'safe-haven' for the internet. As such, I will attempt to single space between sentences from here on out. It will be difficult, and basically pointless. Nonetheless, it shall henceforth be my aim. Wish me luck, internet.

Questions for Discussion:
  1. How do you feel about this new single-space rule?
  2. Is this just more snooty esoteric elitism from the jerks who write the Chicago Manual of Style?
  3. Do you feel like a guy who has maybe had a mustache for his whole life but finally shaved it and now doesn't recognize his own face in the mirror?
  4. Will you be following the single space rule, or sticking with double space?


A Blogwriter's Vacation

Posting on someone else's blog is like vacation for a blogger. With that in mind, I'm going to do what I normally do on vacations: strip down to my birthday suit and run naked in the ocean. That's what I do on vacation. I go to Europe a lot, you know? I was just there in March. I was there last year, too. Each time I go there I do the same thing: get naked and go swimming.

I tried to get naked and swim once when I was on vacation in the Outer Banks, but when I was down to my skivvies I remembered that I was at the annual Duck Beach Mormon singles weekend thing, and, you know, being single, while I wanted to impress women, I didn't think they'd be ready for what they saw (double entendre!!!! HIYO!). That's what you do when you're on vacation: you impress women. I do that every time I'm on vacation. Well, not every time -- sometimes I strip and swim, other times I impress women.

This post has taken a turn for the worse. Let's think of happy things to get us back to where we were before: the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to win the World Series. BMW makes a fine vehicle. How about that Tiger Woods? Enough of the talk about Barack Obama being born in Africa -- if there's any REALISTIC explanation for his background, it's likely that his name is really Barack O'Bama and that his family came here during the Irish potato blight of whenever-that-was-in-the-1800s-or-early-1900s.

Editor's Note: This post was contributed by guest-blogger Tim, and does not reflect the view and opinions of the e-blog owner, who would never suggest swimming in shark-infested waters, naked or otherwise.


Black freaking pepper

>> 13 August 2009

Is black pepper such a rare spice that they have to have a special pepper mill that only the waiter can use? Put the stupid fresh pepper grinder on the table and leave it, man! IT'S BLACK FREAKING PEPPER! It's not black truffles. It's not gold leafing. It's not bits of Faberge egg. It's pepper! At a supermarket it costs 99 cents for a shaker of the stuff that will last you for years. Sure, it tastes great fresh, but it's PEPPER!

Note to restaurateurs: Black pepper is a commodity. And fresh pepper is not a luxury item. Buy enough fresh pepper grinders to put one on every table.


Introducing Guest e-Blogger, Timmy!

>> 10 August 2009

Do you recognize this man-boy? Imagine him with a grizzly five o'clock shadow and with the top of his head completely shaved. Are you laughing at the image of a nine-year-old with facial hair? That would be such a drag. Every morning he wakes up and while his brothers are watching cartoons and eating Lucky Charms, he has to lather up and shave. His great-aunt Edna won't pinch his cheek because it's too rough. The girls at school won't kiss him because of his razor-wire stubble.

This boy with the raw beard is none other than my good friend and guest blogger, Tim Boisvert! Since the spring, Tim has been living in Tokyo, Japan. (Not Tokyo, North Dakota). You can check out his excellent e-blog at and you can visit him in person by flying to Tokyo.

Look forward to a guest post or two from Tim in the coming weeks.

Follow-up Questions:

  • If you were trying to adopt a baby, would you be willing to adopt a baby with a beard?
  • What if the baby was a Hasidic Jew and was unwilling to shave due to religious commitments?
  • How old were you when you started shaving?
Share your answers in the comments section.


Brain Puzzle Solution

>> 09 August 2009

I know, I know...You've all been waiting impatiently for the resolution of the latest Brain Puzzle. The Brain Puzzle stated:

The Smith's have two children; at least one of the children is a girl. What is the probability that both children are girls?

Another plausible answer could be 25%. This is due to the fact that if there is a 50% chance of a child being a girl, then the probability of two children being girls would be 25%. The problem with this is that since we already know that one of the children is a girl, then we don't really need to multiply the probabilities.

It might be tempting to say that the answer is 50%. Why would we say this? Simply because we know that the probability of a baby being a girl is ~50%. So, if one of the children is a girl, and there is a 50% probability of the second child being a girl, then the answer seems to be 50%.

Here's why this is a paradox: the answer is not 50%.

Let's think of it this way: If you have two children, there are three possible combinations that could arise: two girls, two boys, or one boy and one girl. The sum of the probabilities of these three outcomes is 100%. (Let's ignore the possibility of strange genderless babies). Their respective probabilities boil down like this:
  • Girl (50%) x Girl (50%) = 25% probability
  • Boy (50%) x Boy (50%) = 25% probability
  • Boy (50%) x Girl (50%) = 50% probability
Why is the Boy/Girl option weighed more heavily? One reason is the simple fact that we know the sum of the probabilities must equal 100%. Tim addressed another reason in his comment: there are two permutations which would allow for the Boy/Girl combination, whereas there is only one permutation each that would allow for the Girl/Girl or Boy/Boy outcomes. Think of it like rolling dice. The reason that 7 is the most commonly rolled number is because there are more ways of rolling 7 than there are of rolling any other number. There is only one way to roll a 12 (6 + 6) but you can roll a seven with 1 + 6, 2 + 5, 3 + 4, 4 + 3, 5 + 2, 6 + 1. So, you are six times more likely to roll a 7 than a 12. With the kids there are two ways of getting Boy/Girl: by having a boy first and a girl second, or by having a girl first and a boy second.

With that said, the answer to the brain puzzle is 33%.

Boy/Boy = 25% (eliminated since the puzzle states that there is at least one girl)
Boy/Girl = 50%
Girl/Girl = 25%

So, the possible outcomes are either Girl/Boy, or Girl/Girl. Since we know that the probabilities of having a Boy and a Girl is twice as great as the probability of having two boys, we can do the simple arithmetic:
25 / 75 = x / 100
x = 33
The solution to the problem is 33%.

Congratulations to Tim who gets one million virtual yen to spend in my e-blog store.Follow up question: what is the probability that the people in this picture wish it hadn't ended up on the internet?

Outraged? Post your diatribe in the comments section.


Brain Puzzle Time

>> 07 August 2009

Several months ago, I posted the first ever Brain Puzzle on this e-blog.

The Smith's have two children; at least one of the children is a girl. What is the probability that both children are girls?

Share your answers in the comments section!


Return of the e-Blog

>> 06 August 2009

Have you noticed anything different about my e-Blog?

Here is a list of things that have been different about my e-Blog lately:

  1. No posts.
This will all change when I click the "PUBLISH POST" button. [meta-e-Blog]

I intend to e-blog a little more frequently in the future. If you have any great ideas for e-blog posts, please share them in the comments section!


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