Friday, January 28, 2011

25 Years Ago This Morning . . .

. . . I was at Keystone Middle School (now Southport Middle School) on the south side of Indianapolis. I was in the third grade, but I spent two half days each week at the middle school as a part of I.D.E.A. (Increasing Depth in Educational Abilities), a pull-out program for weirdos like me. A teacher with a free period and a television in her classroom invited my I.D.E.A. class into her room to watch the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger, whose crew included Christa McAuliffe (2nd from the left in the back row), a high school teacher from New Hampshire who had been selected from a pool of more than 10,000 applicants to be the first teacher in space.

You know the rest.

Monday, January 24, 2011

If Nothing Else, I Know How to Play Tetris

Saturday I set a new personal best on Tetris, 514,170 points. If I had thought to record myself playing the entire game, this score would rank as the thirteenth best score ever, according to Twin Galaxies, the official keeper of video game records. Here's a picture:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tuesday Night Trivia

I've decided that I will no longer qualify or apologize for "Tuesday Night Trivia" challenges that I post on days other than Tuesday. From now on, i will post "Tuesday Night Trivia" whenever I get around to it, regardless of the day of the week. But I'm keeping the name "Tuesday Night Trivia" because it has brand equity (for two or three of you, maybe). Tonight's challenge is a straightforward question, about basketball:

Who is the NBA's all-time leading scorer among players who have played their entire careers with a single team?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sometimes She Writes Backwards

The other day, Resha Kate made a list of things she wanted for breakfast the following morning. Without thinking about it or intending to, she wrote every word and letter (except for the letter s) backwards. Fascinating:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday Night Trivia, on Wednesday

I fell asleep last night before I could post anything. So here you go:

Imagine you're on an international road trip and you drive through four consecutive countries whose names (in English) all begin with the same letter. What four countries will you have driven through?

Hint/note: Depending on what you do with words like "Republic of," you could change "four consecutive countries" to "three consecutive countries" or "five consecutive countries."

Friday, January 07, 2011

We Act Like These Guys Don't Have Feelings

This week fans of 12 NFL teams are thinking about their team's chances in the Playoffs. Fans of a few others—perhaps the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Oakland Raiders, and the St. Louis Rams—are happy to have seen their team take long strides in a positive direction and are looking forward to next season. Fans of the remaining franchises (including my Tennessee Titans) have spent much of this week thinking about how their team can improve itself, in hopes of either being competitive next season or creating an organization that, eventually, will be a perennial contender.

Improving a football team mostly involves replacing and upgrading personnel. Writers and talk radio personalities in America's depressed NFL cities make a living during the off-season identifying weaknesses and speculating on what players, coaches, and front office staff the team could hire to improve these weak spots. The media is not alone in these assessments. Coaches, owners, general managers, and even players are known to talk openly about needs and holes on their team's roster that need to be met or filled during the spring and summer.

Of course, these weaknesses, needs, and holes are people. At some point, ownership and/or management decided that each of the people was the best available person to do his job. And while some of these people didn't live up to their potential or didn't make the effort that was expected of them, many of them have invested years of practice and conditioning into their dream of making an NFL roster; and many continue to work hard each day on the practice field and in the weight room, even as writers, radio personalities, and their supervisors publicly question their abilities and refer to them as holes that must be filled or needs that must be met.

I don't know how much attention the average NFL player pays to talking heads, radio hosts, columnists, and bloggers. And I understand that most players have some idea of what they're getting themselves into when they enter the draft. But I can't imagine working in a profession where an entire community of fans and analysts makes a pastime of publicly discussing whether my employer could find a better person than me to do my job. I couldn't handle it.