Sports fans can’t take a joke, Take 2

Thanks to Gary for bringing this to my attention: apparently West Virginia fans, and the Continental Tire Bowl, can’t take a joke any more than Virginia fans can. Apparently during the bowl (in which Virginia steamrollered West Virginia), the Pep Band did a parody of “The Bachelor” during their halftime show that featured a man choosing between two young women, one of whom “had blue overalls, pigtails, a talent for square dancing and a dream to move to Beverly Hills, Calif.—a reference to ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’” The firestorm was raised despite the approval of the script prior to the game by bowl officials, who state that the Pep Band won’t be welcome at future Continental Tire Bowls, though they would “be happy to have a Virginia marching band, if they should have one.”

I’m currently experiencing a little déja vù. Someone wake me when this is over.

The Visitation of the Cheese Lords

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I was graced with the Presence of Org last weekend—that’s George Cervantes, Cheese Lord to those who don’t know him. He brought a copy of the Suspicious Cheese Lords’ first professional CD, Maestro di Capella: Music of Elzear Genet (Carpentras). It was recorded in the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, DC and is fascinating listening. In fact, it’s hard to believe these are the same guys I used to drink lots of wine and sing with every Wednesday night. (In case you hadn’t gathered, since I left the group to go to business school I’ve felt like a kind of Cheeselords Pete Best.)

As soon as the album becomes available through Amazon, I think I’ll do a proper review for BlogCritics. Until then I’ll rest secure in the knowledge that the group is outstandingly good.

(Incidentally, I was wrong about the cover. While similar at a distance to a photo I took of the interior of the duomo in Siena, a photo that graced a concept cover for our first self-produced CD Incipit, the cover of the album is actually a stock photo of the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Sorry for the confusion.)

This is a New Years Eve Countdown…with guitars!

I’m more excited about being at work this morning than I thought I’d be—primarily because I expect no one to be in again today, meaning I can crank up the music. (Aside: having decent speakers in the office is pretty much a waste unless you can actually use them.) And today the music is KEXP. Specifically, the top 90.3 albums of the year countdown. Now this is a New Years’ Rockin’ Eve I can really get behind.

(FYI, the title reference is in memory of Joe Strummer, who kicks off the Clash’s great “Know Your Rights” with “This is a public service announcement—with guitar!”)

Haddock a la whatever

After my first workout in over three years tonight, Lisa and I went shopping and had a cook-off. She did haddock steamed in white wine over green beans and broccoli in foil. I did haddock grilled (well, fried in a grill-pan) with an improvised sauce, as follows: rice bran oil; soy sauce; chopped ginger, serrano pepper, and shallot; sea salt; and a little sugar to taste. Sauce brushed over the fish as it cooked. Served over rice with chopped cilantro and scallions. I’m not saying who won the cook-off but oh man mine was good.

My in-laws found “Roman Holiday” on AMC which was the perfect follow-up to the dinner. I’d love to watch “Sabrina” with them, but alas tomorrow is a work day…

Two more ’Hoos with Blogs

Greg points to two relatively recent additions to the Blogosphere: Lisa Guernsey and Rob Krupicka. They’re husband and wife and both Virginia alums, but have very different takes on the blog world: Lisa is blogging about search engines and their social meaning, and Rob is blogging about his newly announced candidacy for Alexandria City Council.

What Greg does not mention, probably because he doesn’t read the Reverse Cowgirl’s blog, is that this is the same Lisa Guernsey who kicked up a sh*tstorm recently with her article about women who blog for the New York Times. Lots of people chimed in: the Reverse Cowgirl was particularly vociferous, claiming that her thesis was that “in the blogosphere, male bloggers dominate and women bloggers are oppressed.”

The RC also noted that Lisa appeared to have visited about six blogs before settling on her thesis that the men outnumber (or at least out-shout) the women in the blogosphere. But how would she have found the other sites? If you’re a blogging journalist, you’ll read other blogging journalists, which leads inexorably to Andrew Sullivan and the male-dominated warblogging world. But what if there were some other way to find blogs based on your affiliations? I wonder whether it isn’t time for some sort of registry of Hoos Who Blog.™ I know, I know, we have all these blog indices already, but to the best of my knowledge none of them have alumni affiliations. If Classmates wanted to be cool they’d add a spot for Weblog URL in their online profiles and allow you to search just for fellow bloggers.

Craig: Post-Christmas shopping hostage-taking

I’m still catching up with weblog updates from the last week. Craig has what I think must be the funniest take on post-holiday-shopping ever:

…they are a people ripe for revolution. There’s so many shoppers, and so few staff members, that all it would take is one khaki and mock turtleneck sweater-clad minivan driving suburbanite spartacus to throw off their recipts and original product packaging of bondage, rally the spirits of their brothers and sisters that are being kept down by The Man (r)(tm)(c) and rise up against their oppressors. Surely they can find a better way to run things. I was waiting for someone on the edge to just totally snap and take a hostage with a pricing gun. “Don’t come near me! I’ll mark her down 50%! I’ll mark you all down 50%! You’ll never take me at full retail value!”

New Years’ cuisine

Feels funny to be back at the office today. No one is around. It’s very quiet. I want to go out in the hallway and make some kind of loud sound just to see if anyone is awake.

My in-laws are still in town. Lisa will likely be taking them all over Seattle today and tomorrow in a search for a traditional Italian New Years sausage called cotechino. The usual recipe, which we cooked last year but I inexplicably failed to comment on, is cotechino with lentils. Because the cotechino sausage is so large, it looks like a coin when sliced, and the meal is supposed to bring good luck for the New Year. I don’t know the symbolic meaning of the lentils, but having them is for me a nod to my uncle’s traditional New Years Day dish, Hoppin’ John, which features black-eyed peas rather than lentils.

I hope they find the cotechino. I remember the recipe as tasting much better than Hoppin’ John. Given the dubious existence of good Italian butchers in greater Seattle, though, we may be stuck…

Site update

I’ve added a few new items to the site navigation. A few new old items to be exact. I’ve finished migrating the content from my MIT web site, which will disappear in a few days, or a month if the guys at MIT are gracious.

Here’s what’s new on the site, and where:

A lot of this content originated on my first website, which was run out of Frontier on my old Power Mac 7200/90. The content was created in Frontier’s outliner and rendered to disk, then served by Personal Web Sharing in Mac OS (Classic) 8.0. You can still see the first site in the Internet Archive. The content was subsequently republished using a template designed in Adobe GoLive, with very non-standard HTML, according to a design by Jan Tschichold: the results are here.

Now all the content has come full circle; it’s back in a Frontier database, on this Manila site. The irony.

Good customer relationship management

We decided to do a night in tonight, so I went to the Blockbuster at the bottom of the hill for the first time. This in and of itself wasn’t so amazing. What was amazing was:

  1. I had my old membership card, originally gotten in the late 1980s in Newport News, VA, in my wallet, and subsequently added to membership databases in Charlottesville and Fairfax;
  2. The clerk was able to use the global Blockbuster customer database to import me into the store’s local customer database with a single scan of that card, despite the fact that I hadn’t used the card since sometime in 1995.

Now that is Customer Relationship Management.

Reputation worth 7.6% of price, UMich sez

Howard Rheingold caught this University of Michigan paper: “The Value of Reputation on eBay: A Controlled Experiment.” The authors find in controlled experiments that a high reputation score on eBay is worth about a 7.6% price premium. This is pretty low when you compare it to the price premium that eBay itself commands over other auction sites, such as Yahoo! (at least in the US), but it’s an interesting finding anyway.

Final score: Virginia, 48-22

What a game. After the third quarter, I figured there were no more surprises, but a few last minute rallies by both teams kept the excitement up all the way. Unbelievable running game by Virginia, particularly Wali Lundy, who had 301 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in the game. A first year, thank you very much.

Up early for football

So what could get me out of bed and blogging at 8 AM on a vacation Saturday morning, anyway? Why, the Continental Tire Bowl, of course! The inaugural game features Virginia vs. West Virginia. So far Virginia has scored three touchdowns—one as I was writing these words with an amazing interception and 69-yard run, one on fourth and inches, one on a double pass trick play. Heck of a game so far and well worth the sleepiness.

Social commentary at SAM

Stuffed after an ill advised dessert, we headed to the Seattle Art Museum for a quick turn around the permanent exhibits. I was excited to find they had a Cheri Samba painting in the “Hero/Antihero” exhibit. Ever since Samba’s appearance in the late lamented Raw comic magazine, I’ve been fascinated by his work, which calls out social issues in Africa, including the spread of AIDS.

Appropriately enough, on the floor below the permanent exhibits of African art were darkened in memory of the millions of people around the world, especially in Africa, who have died from AIDS.