« Previous Day | Main | Next Day »

14 July, 2003

What's Wrong With Major League Baseball

Glenn, at the Hi. I'm Black! blog wrote an essay called What's Wrong With Major League Baseball -- very appropriate for the day of the All-Star Game, clearly the most meaningless game of the year (despite efforts by FOX and MLB to convince us that "This time it counts").

I must say that I disagree with almost everything Glenn has to say. He blames MLB's problems on bad marketing, and cites the NBA as an organization that's doing it right:

I believe that the NBA's biggest coup was embracing and marketing to the "hip-hop" generation. The NBA now partners with young, popular musicians such as Pink, Christina Aguilera and Nelly to convey the message that the NBA is cool, fresh, and hip.

Give me a break! The day that baseball resorts to hokey tactics like this is the day I stop watching. But then again, I'm what Glenn refers to as an "old head." Watching a game on FOX is bad enough already, with all of their flashy graphics and video game sound effects. Let's not make it worse than it already is.

No, Glenn. The problem with baseball is the absurd player salaries, which result in an undeniable lack of competition. And this has a critical side-effect: It's simply too expensive for the average family to attend ML baseball games.

Lower prices and more competition would save ML baseball. Problem is, I don't know how to get to that point. But using no-talent recording artists to hype baseball certainly isn't a solution. Babe Ruth would be rolling over in his grave.

Posted on 14 July, 2003

A Book Recommendation

I just finished reading Brad Herzog's States of Mind. It describes a year-long trip across the U.S., with emphasis on small towns that have interesting names: Comfort (TX), Hope (MS), Justice (WV), Friendship (ME), Wisdom (MT), and so on. Here's a brief synopsis of the book.

This was the second time I've read it. It's a fascinating read, with lots of small doses of history thrown in.

A few years ago, Herzog was a contestant on a TV game show. From his web site:

States of Mind's critical acclaim was accompanied by commercial success. Following Herzog's appearance on Who Wants to be a Millionaire in April 2000, the book immediately soared to #7 on the Amazon.com best-seller list. After his interview on NBC's Today Show, States of Mind rose to #2, behind only a Harry Potter title.

Posted on 14 July, 2003

Protecting the Telemarketing Industry

The Direct Marketing Association published a list: Top Ten Reasons to Protect and Promote the U.S. Telemarketing Industry.

I reproduce it here in its entirety.

  1. Generated more that $660 billion in sales in 2001 - that's about 6 percent of GDP and more than the entire United States restaurant industry.

  2. In 2001, 185 million Americans made a purchase via outbound telephone calls.

  3. Provides flexible employment to more than 6 million people.

  4. Next year, the industry will need 254,000 new workers.

  5. Call centers are generally located in small and rural communities - the median population of a town with a call center is 23,000.

  6. For nonprofit organizations, telephone solicitation is the single most successful solicitation tool. In 1999, 42 percent (or $43 billion) of nonprofits' revenues came via telephone solicitation.

  7. Teleservices jobs create opportunities for women, minorities, working mothers, students, part-time workers and people with disabilities.

  8. Consumer teleservices professionals can earn more than $12 per hour, on average, with base pay and commissions. Business-to-business representatives can earn more.

  9. Fifty-one of the United States' 91 urban or rural enterprise zones have call center businesses.

  10. The United States teleservices industry has the oldest do-not-call list in the world.The DMA's Telephone Preference Service is a win-win for marketers and consumers.

And I say: Tough shit. A few hundred million U.S. workers have managed to find a job that doesn't involve annoying people. Maybe those 6 million telemarketers should do the same. 

Posted on 14 July, 2003

The Simulator

The Simulator is one of the most creative things I've seen on the Web. It's all done with HTML -- no Flash, no scripting. Was it really done in 1997?

It gets a bit tedious during the workday, but stick with it for the full-color dream sequence! I guarantee that you will laugh out loud.

(via Bifurcated Rivets)

Posted on 14 July, 2003

Vintage Camera Ads

This site is in French, but most of the old camera ads displayed are in English.

Posted on 14 July, 2003

A Day in the Life

An interesting photography site called A Day in the Life.

The concept is simple. Each day, one new photo will be posted on the site. A photographer is assigned to shoot one photo a day for seven days. The photo can be of anything the photographer wants. The only guideline is that the photo that's posted has to have been taken within the past 24 hours. After the week is up a new photographer in a new location will contribute a week's worth of photos and so on. Our archive section will contain every photo posted on this site.

Posted on 14 July, 2003

Search For Sounds

Need to find a sound? Try FindSounds.

Welcome to FindSounds.com, a free site where you can search the Web for sound effects and musical instrument samples.

It took me about three seconds to locate a sound file of Homer Simpson screaming.

Posted on 14 July, 2003

Comic Postcards

A modest collection of comic postcards.

From the 1940s through the 1960s, every tourist trap had a rack of postcards. Every postcard rack displayed views of the local attractions and a selection of comic cards. Some of those comic cards seem to have come from another world.

Posted on 14 July, 2003

Generating Random Numbers

Creating truly random numbers ain't easy. One attempt is LavaRnd. An early version (LavaRand)  used a webcam focused on a lava lamp. The current version uses a "chaotic source," which is a...

...physical system that is dominated by chaos. A small change in the physical system now, will increasingly impact future conditions within the physical system over time. The impact of a small change compounds over time in such a way that correlating between the disturbed state and future conditions becomes intractable.

(via Chris Gulker)

Posted on 14 July, 2003

Encyclopedia of TV

TV fans might like the Encyclopedia of Television.

The Encyclopedia of Television includes more than 1,000 original essays from more than 250 contributors and examines specific programs and people, historic moments and trends, major policy disputes and such topics as violence, tabloid television and the quiz show scandal. It also includes histories of major television networks as well as broadcasting systems around the world and is complemented by resource materials, photos and bibliographical information.

Also interesting is TV's most memorable opening credits.

Posted on 14 July, 2003

TV Test Patterns

Check out the Test Card Gallery.

In the early days of television, there was a need to test the response of cameras then in operation. This was done by use of a special pattern, drawn on to a large piece of card, which the camera then pointed at. Hence the name "Test Card".

In the UK, this name has stuck despite most of the patterns now being produced by other means, either transparencies, monoscope or electronically generated. North America has tended to use the term "Test Pattern". Very early, simple patterns used in Britain were sometimes known as "Test Graphs". Test Cards were often 3ft wide, to enable lots of detail to be drawn in. Later versions used clever photographic techniques to produce the final result.

Posted on 14 July, 2003

Exploding Toad Warning

If you've recently purchased a toad sprinkler, be aware that it may be dangerous, and is being recalled.

ITEM 508893: Toad Sprinkler. These toad sprinklers are 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" x 7". A label on the bottom of the item has the number 738449 508893 as well as "Made in China."

The hose inside the toad fails to perform properly, allowing water to fill the toad's cavity. The water pressure then causes the toad to explode resulting in possible property damage or physical injury.

Posted on 14 July, 2003

About Schmidt

Last night we watched the DVD of About Schmidt. I think this is the best movie I've seen all year.

There is a very brief scene in which a depressed Jack Nicholson is in the bathtub writing a letter. It's an homage to a painting: The Death of Marat, by Jacques-Louis David

(via bluishOrange)

Posted on 14 July, 2003

Hunting For Bambi

There's a new sport in Las Vegas: Hunting For Bambi. Grown men pay big bucks to hunt naked women in the dessert, and shoot them with paintballs. You can book your trip here. Only $10,000.

Or, read more about it here.

So why do women agree to strip down and run around the desert dodging paint balls? Nicole says it's good money. "I mean it's $2,500 if you don't get hit. You try desperately not to and it's $1000 if you do," said Nicole.

Posted on 14 July, 2003

Second-Hand Roller Coasters

If you can't afford to buy a new roller coaster, consider a used one. ITAL International can help.

At Ital International LLC, we provide professional brokerage for a wide variety of used (second-hand) rides. Contact an Ital professional if you do not find the ride you are looking for and we can locate other rides through our extensive worldwide brokerage network.

Roller coaster prices start at about $80,000, but the good ones will cost at least half a million.

(via Attu)

Posted on 14 July, 2003

Guitar Or Web Server?

Why should a web server be ugly. The guitar hanging on the wall is actually a server. It's called the Pomgolian Web Server.

This is the starting point for my new server case. Forget about all that 19" rack mount rubbish, this is going to be 6 string wall mount. If ever I need to upgrade I can go for a 12 string. The guitar was a nice shiny new one from Argos.

Posted on 14 July, 2003

Caffeinated Beer

Billed as the latest and greatest in beer technology, Hyper Glow beer:

Toss by the wayside the notion that glowing stuff should never be ingested. This is the 21st century, get yourself together and get some ThinkGeek Caffeinated Glow In The Dark Beer! You'll be far better off in life.

Why? Because our in staff beer chemists took the finest India Pale Ale (brewed with the choicest hops from Belgium farms), carefully added 220 milligrams of caffeine per sixteen ounce bottle, and, through a patent pending process known as 'Glow Stuff Insertion', they then inserted glow stuff. The result is a stimulating depressant which looks like runoff from Three Mile Island but tastes just like beer with caffeine and glow stuff in it!

P.S. It's a joke.

Posted on 14 July, 2003

Rating Movies For Kids

How to find out if a movie is suitable for children? Visit Kids-In-Mind. They have detailed descriptions of hundreds of movies, broken down by four categories: sex/nudity, violence/gore, and profanity.

For example, here's the sex/nudity description for Shrek:

A man is seen in bed with bare shoulders and chest. There are a handful of kisses. There are a couple of attempted kisses, in two scenes characters pucker up in anticipation of being kissed, and a woman asks for a kiss. There are some mild sexual references during a scene describing three princesses. Two characters flirt in several scenes; one includes references to physical relationships. A dragon kisses an ogre's bottom (by mistake). A man kisses a woman's hand. A woman exposes some cleavage in a tight fitting gown. Some wooden puppets wear plumber's pants exposing painted bottom cleavage. A donkey urinates on a camp fire. A female dragon falls in love with a donkey. We see a shirtless green ogre.

Hmmmm... a shirtless green ogre.

Posted on 14 July, 2003