Friday, February 23, 2007

Word of the Day

I am addicted to web boggle, and I've gotten pretty good at it. I almost always break into the top 20 scores each round and from time to time I get into the top 10. Unfortunately, an addiction to web boggle is a very bad thing right now, because the server is almost never working these days. The guy who manages the site is, by his own admission, too busy to properly manage the server and programming.

Anyway, the server was working pretty well today so I got to play a bunch of games. At the end of the game, the program puts up a list of all the possible words that could have been found within the boggle grid. It actually posts this as 2 lists - one being a list of all the words that you didn't find, but that other players did find, and the second being a list of the words that no one was able to find. Generally the words in that second list look like complete gibberish, because they are words that know one has ever seen before, and in fact I'm pretty sure they aren't really words at all.

But today's word comes from the list of words that I didn't find on the board, but apparently at least one player DID find. That word is AROYNT. The definition?

aroynt - (v.) a variation of aroint. what the hell does AROINT mean? Never heard of that word either.

aroint - (v. imperative; obsolete) be gone. as in "aroint ye beggar!" [uh huh - sure]

yeah....apparently it was a real popular word in 1610. I'm guessing it fell out of favor just a few years later.

So my question is, how the hell was there a boggle player out there who knew this word. And not just this word, but its variation - aroynt. W H A T E V E R....freak!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

On This Day In History

On February 15, 1898, The U.S. Battleship Maine blew up in Havanna harbor. 260 U.S. Sailors were killed in the explosion. This incident exacerbated already tense relations between the U.S. and Spain, gave birth to the rallying cry of the day, "To hell with Spain! Remember the Maine!" And was one of many factors that sparked the Spanish-American War.

The city of St. Louis was founded on this day in 1764.

On this day in 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed a bill that allowed female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court. This was 4 decades before women even won the right to vote in this country! Incidently, February 15th is the birthdate of Susan B. Anthony

On February 15, 1965, the modern flag of Canada (the red maple leaf on a white vertical stripe between 2 red vertical stripes) was unfurled for the first time at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Many other famous people were born on this date in history. Galileo was born in 1564; Henry Steinway (of the famous pianos) was born in 1797. Melissa Manchester's birthday is today, as is Matt Groening's (creator of The Simpsons) and Jaromir Jagr (once a player for the Pittsburgh Penguins).

But to me, the most important thing about this day is that it is the birthday of my very best friend Betsy whom I love dearly and would be lost without.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

What is News?

For three days it was the number one story on - right there, front and center on the screen when you loaded the page. It's still the first story listed in the "top stories" list at the right of the page today. The local news broadcast here covered the story yesterday in their 5:00 report, their 6:00 report and their 11:00 report. It was the first story reported on during the ABC Nightly News and was the main story for Nightline last night. I just don't get it. A woman, romantically obsessed with a male co-worker, goes after a female co-worker who she perceives as a rival - what makes this front page, national news? I don't care that she is astronaut. Sure - it is a prestigious and honorable profession, but so what? Can anyone explain this to me? Because I just don't get it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What Am I Missing?

I know this post is going to get me in trouble with my 2 1/2 readers, but oh well, this has been bothering me and I need to get it off my chest.

I like football. I'm not a fanatic, but I love my hometown team the Steelers and I always watch their games. And I watch an occasional non-Steeler game as well. Certainly, I watch the Superbowl every year regardless of who is playing. So this year it is the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears. And it is historic, because, for the first time ever, a team coached by an African American head coach is going to the Superbowl. And, as it turns out, not just one team, but BOTH teams going to the Superbowl are coached by African American head coaches. This is historic and I can appreciate that. This is the big story of the Superbowl. This is the story that for the two weeks leading up to the Superbowl every news cast mentions at least two or three times. It's all the commentators can talk about, even some of the Superbowl commercials alluded to this historic occasion. This is fine. It seemed a little bit overkill to me, but I could appreciate the historic nature of the accomplishment, so I didn't think too much of it. Until a couple days before the Superbowl I began to hear some statistics that then got replayed over and over and over again, including several times during the Superbowl itself. And it got me thinking.

First, here are the numbers: In 2006 there were 7 African American NFL head coaches (7 Assistant head coaches, and 190 coaches in other positions). This, in a league of 32 teams. That means that 22% of all head coaches and assistant head coaches in the NFL in 2006 were African American. In the United States, African Americans make up about 13% of the population.

Now here is where I get a little lost. The spin given on these numbers (universally - every news and sports cast that reported these numbers gave the same "interpretation") was as follows. Apparently, while 7 African American head coaches (22%) is evidence of progress in the NFL, the league has a long way to go. It turns out that 65% of all players in the NFL are minorities and of those, the vast majority are black. So, according to the analysts, until at least 65% of all coaches in the NFL are black, the implication is that the NFL will continue to be a bastion of racism, prejudice and inequality.

Am I missing something here? I did a little checking. The minimum rookie salary in the NFL is $285,000. The average NFL player salary is $1.26 million dollars. The median NFL player salary is $557,000. We aren't talking about jobs that no one else wants here. The competition for these positions is intense.

So the suggestion that because more than 60% of the players in the NFL are black, but only 22% of the head coaches are black, NFL management is racist seems absurd to me. The problem doesn't seem to be that "only" 22% of head coaches are black. If anything, clearly the NFL isn't doing a very good job of attracting and recruiting white players into the league.

Yes, that last little bit was facetious. Well 90% so anyway. But the analysis still seems off to me. We are talking about a billion dollar industry here in which the majority of the visible, extremely well paid employees are minorities, and a significant percentage of the middle-to-upper level management (coaching) positions are held by minorities.

It seems to me that the real problem that no one seems to want to talk about are the other minorities that are almost entirely unrepresented in the league. Did you know that there aren't any female players, much less coaches (head or otherwise) in the NFL? Talk about inequity in the workplace! Same thing with openly gay players or head coaches. And apparently the industry completely discriminates against the disabled as well. Not a single blind, deaf, wheel-chair bound, mentally retarded or otherwise physically or mentally disabled player or coach in the bunch. What ever happened to the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Yeah, yeah, I've gone onto an absurd rant here. But I don't think it's any more absurd than the stupid things newscasters and sportscasters were saying about the so-called racism in the hiring of coaches in the NFL.

Am I missing something here?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Welcome Petie!

She was born November 11, 2006 and we adopted her when she was 6 weeks old. She is an American Bull Dog - more commonly known as a pit-bull. Don't believe what you hear; yes, they're extremely strong, powerful dogs, but they have to be trained to be aggressive. We already had an 11 year old pit bull named Zena. Hands down, the best dog I've ever had. Affectionate, loyal, sweet tempered, very protective. I can tell you right now, I have never felt the slightest bit unsafe when walking her around the block at night to do her business before bed, and I don't live in the best neighborhood in town.

So now we've got Petie. Know why we named her Petie (well, really, Ron named her Petie - it wouldn't have been my first choice)? Think for a bit - it will come to you.

She's so cute! And she's smart too. She's only 12 weeks old now, but so attentive. She will sit on the floor watching me or Ron or Zena or one of the cats so closely - studying us, and taking everything in. I love the way she cocks her head to one side when I speak to her. Her face is so expressive.

Zena isn't thrilled to have a new dog in the house. We were hoping that Petie would bring out the maternal instinct in Zena. Instead she's just annoyed. Ah, well. We've made it clear to Zena, that Petie isn't going anywhere and so must be tolerated. Zena's an old lady now - she has no patience and no interest in sharing her space with another dog. She has always tolerated the cats pretty well, but that's mostly because they leave her alone. Petie pretty much wants to play all the time - biting Zena's ears and tail and neck and so on. Zena just growls softly (for the most part) and looks up at us with doleful eyes. Well, I said for the most part. When she gets really tired of it, she growls louder and then snaps at Petie. We keep them apart as much of the time as possible - particularly at meal time. Zena's always been real protective of her food - she doesn't share with anyone.

So enjoy the pics. Feel free to download them and make them the wall paper on your computers etc....well, edit me out - you don't want my picture. Petie is the cute one. Cute??? Please, she is the cutest puppy that ever existed in all of history. How can you resist?

Free Website Counter
Web Counters