Monday, November 29, 2010

RIP Leslie

Leslie Nielsen, star of the Airplane! films and the Naked Gun franchise, passed away in his sleep yesterday. Nielsen, 86, had been admitted to a hospital for pneumonia. In memory, here are some of his moments.

"Don't call me Shirley."

"We're all counting on you."

The Umpire Scene.

RIP Leslie

PS - for those of you wanting something melodramatic. Check out Airplane! A Melodrama. They have gutted out all the jokes from the film and created quite the thriller.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quote of the Day

Jack Smith, tea part member from Georgia on Obama's Muslim religion:
"He may do that. But I don't care. As long as he doesn't act on it."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The no-need-for-a-bucket-list list

Happy Valley fixture since the first Eisenhower administration, Joe Paterno, has indicated he intends to coach the Penn State Nittany Lions for at least another year. Coach Paterno is pushing 90, but still seems to have it in him. This brings me to a list I like to call the n0-need-for-a-bucket-list list. These are individuals who seem like they will never kick the bucket.

Some of these include:
  • Brett Favre - sure he's having a bad year this year, and may actually retire, but who's to say he wont be back in two years with a recuperated body and a grayer beard.
  • Sarah Palin - so she hasn't really been around that long, and she is still you, but it sure feels like she has been around too long. Time for you to take a bow.
  • Keith Richards - he's looked like skin draped over a skeleton since the mid-80s, in the mean time he has provided the creative impulse for Johnny Depp's captain Jack Sparrow, fallen out of a tree, admitted to snorting a dead man, put out several albums rehashing his bad work from the 70s, and toured the world several times.
  • Harry Reid - Hardini staved off political death, pulling his fractured political career out of a locked vault in the bottom of a lake in the Sierra Nevadas with a convincing win against Madame Maxine, er... Sharron Angle.
  • Paul Hyer - The man's an institution (and allegedly the third Nephite).
  • Lady Gaga - see Sarah Palin.
Those are just a few of those names. Who do you got?

Monday, November 22, 2010

BBC Mundo has got some crazy stories

I've been practicing my espanol skills reading the Spanish version of the BBC, BBC Mundo. And they got some sick stories.

The coolest one so far is of a sixty year-old robot. Straight dope.

Another story that caught my eye was of body fishers on the Yellow River. That's messed up.

And of course, my personal favorite: cheap cars and scooters putting burros out of business in Gaza. (Which includes the great quote "Esa maldita tuk-tuk [cheap car] se está matando nuestro negocio." Run that through Google Translate). Poor burro salesmen.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our strengths can become our weaknesses

Just read a talk by Elder Dallin Oaks, "Our Strengths Can Become our Weaknesses." It's a pretty good talks. A couple of quotes that I enjoyed (because they strengthened my biases, which is pretty ironic given the talk):
  • "It may be just as dangerous to exceed orthodoxy as it is to fall short of it."
  • "To wrest the words of a prophet to support a private agenda, political or financial or otherwise, is to try to manipulate the prophet, not to follow him." (I'll post more on this later).
Read it. It's good.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why the Heat will not likely be the Yankees (and why Chris Bosh has disappeared )

I know that a Heat prediction post was all the rage from July-October and now it's past peak. This prophet has been prophesying their demise all along, but in the hustle of school, work, etc. this oracle hasn't committed his dire predictions to print until now.

Last night the Heat gave up 72 points in the second half and another 12 in overtime in route to coughing up a 22 point lead to the Jazz and suffering their first home loss, leaving the Heat with a surprising 5-3 record. The record comes as a surprise to many who predicted dominance from a team with 2 of the 5 best players in the league. The Heat seemed to be the NBA analog to the NY Yankees, whose all-world saturated lineup has contributed to a string of championships in the late '90s and strong performance throughout this decade.

But the NBA isn't the MLB. In baseball, offensive success is predominately complementary between teammates. But in basketball, touches and shots are competitive. To illustrate, if Derek Jeter leads off with a double, that's one more runner on base for Robinson Cano or Mark Texeira. If Jeter gets three hits in a night, that's enough to get an extra at-bat for the first three batters and more opportunities to pad their stats. There is no limit to the amount of at-bats per game.

In basketball, there are limited touches. The clock is always running on your team. Thus every shot taken by James is a shot not taken by Wade or Bosh. This is why Bosh has struggled so far. He has never had to compete for shots on the Raptors. Now he has become a distant third to James and Wade.

Evidence of a higher education bubble

The NY Times is running a story about for-profit universities (e.g. DeVry, Phoenix, and Kaplan). Recent investigation by the Government Accountability Office revealed that many of these schools promise unreal or blatantly false results. Undercover investigation found recruiters promising jobs with the CIA or FBI at $40,000-$50,000 a year for recent grads of Kaplan. Many former workers at the universities are policies focused on securing federal loans and grants targeting gullible students for degrees which wont pay off.

I really think that there is an education bubble. There are just too many degrees out there that don't get you anything. The article keys in on recruiters focusing on recruiting students with low self-esteem and difficulty living situations. A lot of the ads that I see locally focus on turning your life around. As someone who worked fulltime at a fast-food restaurant before I decided to go to college, I will attest that a degree really can change your standard of living. But you don't see the University of Minnesota ads sandwhiched between two personal injury ads promising cash after your car accident.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

...and I'm a Mormon

Not that that's a surprise to any of you.

My profile is finally up. I initially attempted to post my profile two months ago. I am unsure whether there were problems with the content of the profile--if so, I was never told so--or if it was just an administrative difficulty. Originally, I had selected the above for a profile pic:

I didn't write in every category--strangely, I didn't have enough to say. (When does that happen?). And the posting stalled for a bit.

The other night I got on, changed my profile pic, wrote in all the categories that appeared to be required and changed the tag from the bland "I'm Nate and I'm a Mormon" to "I'm a money-making player and I'm a Mormon."

Apropos of allowing me to use the moneymaker tagline, I assume the Church didn't spend a lot of time censoring the content. They just have heavy administrative burdens.

Anywho, feel free to peruse my profile. Here's the address:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Poor Mitt...sort of...

Politico is reporting that once they get past Midterm elections--tomorrow--establishment GOP members will take some of their focus off of beheading President Obama and direct it towards the champion of hunters' rights to hunt wolves from a helicopter, Sarah Palin.

For an establishment Republican, this is a sensible move. As Politico reports, Palin's chief flaws--her divisive rhetoric and unscrupulous attention to policy detail (which sunk McCain's '08 bid)--haven't gone away. In fact, they remain. And they're the reason that Tea Partiers love her. However, moderates fed up with partisan rancor are not jumping on board in support of Sarah Barracuda.

That brings me to the title of this blurb: Mitt Romney. The two front runners for the 2012 nomination seem to be Mitt Romney and MN governor Tim Pawlenty. Romney's 2008 run was inhibited by 180-turns on hot button topics such as abortion and gay rights that distanced him from the far-right in the primaries and hesitancy by the religious right to rally around a Mormon candidate. (Huckabee famously capitalized on this fear when he misrepresented Mormon doctrines about Christ's "family members" in a NYT interview). Really, what can you do when conservative southerners can't rally around someone because he believes in a religion that shares all their values politically, but has different doctrine. Poor Mitt.

Mitt's past will likely hurt him again. Although abortion, religion, and value voting will always be strong points for the religious right, this year the party of no has a new universal opponent: full-coverage health care. The Party of No has made a pejorative out of Obamacare. Good luck trying to get around Romneycare, Mitt.

Truth be told, I think Mitt has some arguments on his side. The big issue, with some Conservatives, is about states' rights. Romneycare wasn't a nationalized plan. Point Mitt. But it had an individual mandate. Point opponents. Conservatives want tort reform. They blame high medical bills on malpractice suits. Prior injuries and patient screening mean nothing to them. Romney will probably lose the race on this point.

I doubt an obstructionist party which has spent all their energy rejecting any health care proposal besides tort reforms and generally any domestic policy other than keeping the Bush tax cuts, will be able to accept someone who administered a program so close to the enemy's. Leaving Mitt, once again, a victim of his past and a rigid right.