WWfB Flirts with Perfection!

Outside the King Kamehameha Club!

Will Work for Beer put on a dominating display last night at The Tin Whistle, coming within 2 correct questions of a perfect score! Only the wily, pro-slavery Martin Van Buren and the occasionally anti-Semitic while drunk driving Mel Gibson were able to trip up the understaffed but overachieving tri-force of trivia power.

Apparently little Martin V learned Dutch before Presidential English (at least he learned English eventually!) and mullet-coifed Mel somehow got himself voted “The Sexiest Man Alive” in 1985 by People magazine.

We were suspicious that left-leaning Jefferson might have learned French first and we thought for sure that the sexiest man alive in 1985 had to have been the Hawaiian freeloader Tom Selleck. Damn it… sometimes when you’re sitting on a fastball you get the changeup!

Asked about what it will take to improve to a perfect score, Addison mused, “it really comes down to U.S. Presidents. Schultz was supposed to bring that body of knowledge to the table, but he went Adalius Thomas on us. We were thinking about replacing him with a moderately-bright macaw whose cage sits next to a browser viewing wikipedia, but instead we’re just going to divide up the Presidents and brush up on them for next week.”

Asked if he wanted to insult Schultz as well, John replied cryptically, “all I know is you can’t make a truly great burrito without a tortilla softening machine; it simply cannot be done.”

Donate your money to WWfB Thursday nights at The Tin Whistle.

Defenestrators Dominate!

Pat relives the 80's!

Buoyed by a final round requiring identification of sundry 80’s Hair Bands, the Defenestrators dropped in unexpectedly and took home first place cash from Tin Whistle Trivia.

What we knew: just about everything, frankly. Who told you not to squeeze the Charmin? We know. Who discovered penicillin? We know.  What NFL team won Superbowl I? We know. What NBA team has the most championships? We know… and you should really know too.

What we learned: Kansas is the freaking sunflower state. Coolidge is the only U.S. President born on the fourth of July. Some moron cohosted season one of American Idol with Ryan Seacrest; none of us caught his name. Bon Jovi can honestly be mistaken for Stryper in a fuzzy picture, and some dude in their band looks like a lady. Pat’s as useless as a wet cocktail napkin in a bar fight when the pressure’s on in the final round. Andy insists on spelling the band Pois(s)on with an extra s, because that’s the way it should be done.

What we relearned: bar trivia is much more lucrative than Sunday softball in the Industrial League. The Headers provide roughly the same level of competition when absent as they do when present.

Better Call Saul, Baby!

Although I usually speak an alien baby language, Mom’s always worried I’m going to start spewing four-letter words like my Dad. Sure… he can be pretty funny when he hits his thumb with a hammer or runs into the coffee table with his knee, but the word that really strikes my baby fancy these days is litigious! As soon as I can say it, I’m gonna put it right to work!

What a great word! What a great concept! I’m pretty well-known for getting what I want when I want it, but this is a smoking backup plan for those few times when Grandma Mugger is a little slow with the raisins or  Mom tries to make me eat brussels sprouts! Think babies are too cute to sue people; think they’d never be able to pull it off? Pphhht! Not true! Not true at all! I once kept an accusatory scowl on my face for a week and a half despite foot and chin tickling.

Dog Bite? Better Call Saul!

Exhibit I: Dog Attacks Mean Baby Greenbacks!

Dogs are occasionally useful beasts, but since they siphon off a portion of attention that could better shower down upon me, they’re ultimately expendable. When I sue Porter and he goes to the pound, I’ll still have Hogan to eat the food on the ground (damn! that even rhymes!), and honestly, I don’t think Hogan needs the help. Sometimes that horse starts eating my food BEFORE I throw it, and I’ve never seen him too full to finish the job. By throwing Porter under the bus for eating my right hand, I’ll have enough money to buy a second pony, better tasting sidewalk chalk, and a sippee cup that doesn’t leak whenever I try to sip from it. I also might start throwing with my left hand… bonus for Dad!

Abandoned Outside? Better Call Saul!

Exhibit II: Away From Home Alone Equals Latte Foam!

If you’re a small person that prefers to walk rather than be carried, eventually you will hear something like, “ok… well… we’re leaving… bye, Abigail!” This threatened separation used to scare me. I used to run up to my parents with the universal, arm-raised pick-me-up immediately if not sooner sign. Now I know that this warning merely offers me an opportunity to own my own house in Massachusetts, my own Honda, and my own Toyota. Go ahead, big people, leave me in my diaper in the wilderness and see how you like it when I’m setting the bedtimes, choosing the menu, and picking the outfits for the day. What do you know? Another pink outfit for you before we sit down to a nice meal of peanut butter!

Aggressive Relative? Better Call Saul!

Exhibit III: Kissing Cousin Can Kiss College Savings Goodbye!

My cousin is a good guy… well… when he’s not trying to play with the same toy I am. It would be a shame to have to threaten to go on Oprah and expose him as a pint-sized predator, but if a girl needs a Barbie Dreamhouse new set of Ping Irons, a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do. I used to think these people were annoying as hell snapping all these pictures of mundane baby activities (not to mention shots of me in the bathtub!), but now I recognize the power of photographic evidence on gullible juries, so keep snapping away, people!

Oh no… gotta go! I’ve got a voicemail from Saul!

Like Salt in the Cancun!

If you do not recall or were not privy to the quasi cerebral discussion in waist-deep Cancun water concerning waist-deep Cancun water, the following hypotheses emerged concerning presumed higher salinity levels as one approaches the equator:

But sand held by an 82 degree diaper?

Christian surmised, “warmer water allows for a higher concentration of salt due to solubility properties. Warmer water can simply hold higher concentrations of dissolved substances than colder water. I know this from cooking meth…”

Nancy interrupted, “there’s more salt in warmer water because people tend to go on vacation where the water is warmer. As everyone knows, people like to drink margaritas in warmer weather, and margaritas are traditionally served with a healthy coating of salt on the rim of the glass. Over time, the spilled margaritas of intoxicated vacationers have raised vacation area ocean salinity. Plus, people pee more in warm water and I’m pretty sure pee is salty.”

Emily protested, “Who cares? Are you really going to fight about this? It doesn’t matter and you’re just going to get upset over nothing. Have you stopped eating butter? Have you started eating butter? None of you change your behavior when faced with verifiable evidence gleaned from these conversations, so your arguments reduce tragically to petty competition rather than sustainable improvements of the human condition.”

Andy corrected, “there’s more salt in warmer water due to evaporation. Water evaporates relatively quickly from a warm location leaving behind heavier substances like salt, and then the salt-free water falls back to earth in a cooler area which tends to leave the area of evaporation with a higher concentration of salt. I don’t really know the answer, but that’s some fine bullshit if you’re going to put me on the spot. There are no empty calories in Mexican butter either.”

Note: quoted material above is paraphrased but thought to be essentially accurate by the author.

Historic Ocean Socratic Dialogues

It turns out that everyone involved in this inpromptu Mensa meeting was doomed to a certain level of failure, since a quick tour of the Web suggests convincingly that warmer water is NOT in and of itself necessarily saltier than colder water. See below for more fun facts on this! Left with the disagreeable yet necessary task of sorting out who was least wrong, I’m happy to report that I, Andy, presented by far the worthiest explanation, because I offered the only ocean salinity factors of measurable consequence mentioned in the Cancun conversation… evaporation and rainfall.

Some might insist that I am arguably CORRECT in my hyposthesis, but since I left out the effects of melting ice and rivers (but are these not also due to evaporation and rainfall?) and implicitly agreed that warm ocean water carries a higher rate of salinity due to its temperature alone, I’m putting myself in the “wrong but righter than these pretenders” category. I may change my mind as we get closer to the Olympics; national pride always encourages me to aggrandize past competitive accomplishments.

Christian was completely off-base and has probably set back several years the chemical competence of anyone overhearing our conversation. Nancy, in truth, may be correct, but she needs to write several carefully-worded research grants to raise the funds necessary to support her theory, and she furthermore needs to publish her empirical findings in a journal of sufficient prestige before I can possibly give her any sort of credit.

Notes, Works Cited, Evidence, Etc.

Yale University says, “density differences are a function of temperature and salinity. Warm water holds less (emphasis mine) salt than cold water so it is less dense and rises toward the surface while cold, salt laden water sinks… The amount of salt in the world’s oceans vary between 33 to 37 parts per thousand. The Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest, with the Pacific Ocean the next saltiest, and the Arctic and Antarctic the least salty. The most salty water is found in waters where there is a minimum of rainfall or river runoff, and high evaporation (emphasis mine). Water is the least salty where large quantities of freshwater are supplied by melting ice, rivers, or excessive rainfall (emphasis mine).” Source: http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1994/5/94.05.08.x.html

Palomar Community College concurs and adds, “the salinity of ocean water varies. It is affected by such factors as melting of ice, inflow of river water, evaporation (emphasis mine), rain (emphasis mine), snowfall, wind, wave motion, and ocean currents that cause horizontal and vertical mixing of the saltwater… The saltiest water (40 o/oo ) occurs in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, where rates of evaporation (emphasis mine) are very high. Of the major oceans, the North Atlantic is the saltiest; its salinity averages about 37.9 o/oo. Within the North Atlantic, the saltiest part is the Sargasso Sea, an area of about 2 million square miles, located about 2,000 miles west of the Canary Islands. The Sargasso Sea is set apart from the open ocean by floating brown seaweed “sargassum” from which the sea gets its name. The saltiness of this sea is due in part to the high water temperature (up to 83º F) causing a high rate of evaporation (emphasis mine) and in part to its remoteness from land; because it is so far from land, it receives no fresh-water inflow. Source: http://www.palomar.edu/oceanography/salty_ocean.htm

Nancy Takes Week #7 Pool!

This one's for Nancy!
This one's for you, Nancy!

It came down to points on Monday night and Nancy took advantage of a late, meaningless score by a thoroughly embarrassed Redskin team to secure her first NFL pool victory of the season. Excellent work, Nancy!

In addition to some $330, Nancy extends her lead in the NFL Smackdown competition.

Asked about her victory, Nancy gushed, “Jim and I were recently down in Philly, and I really got a good feeling about the city at that time. I put them in a position to come through for me Monday night, and the Eagles didn’t let me down. I’ve never felt better about green uniforms, greasy cheesesteaks, cracked bells, and Rocky Balboa. I can’t wait to take my winnings out to buy Abigail some fashionable size 12M clothing for the winter season. I LOVE this game!”

Asked about tragically losing last week on the final score tie-breaker as Denver ran both a punt and a kickoff back for touchdowns and asked about falling short again this week by one game as the Raiders couldn’t find the stadium where they were supposed to be playing on Sunday, Andy replied, “it’s all good… even losing looks better on our new television. Go Samsung!”

Alternative to Obama-care?

Philip Greenspun of MIT and Web development fame is working on a draft of an essay on how to reform health care. Sound like a dry topic? It isn’t. Here’s a sample from the rough draft:

… Suppose that you could give up two years of life expectancy in exchange for the following: paid-for housing, paid-for cars, paid-for college, paid-for vacations, paid-for children. Instead of living 78 years, you’d expect to live 76, but you’d never have to work full-time and could probably pack a lot of enjoyment into those 76 years because you wouldn’t be a slave to day-to-day expenses.

Let’s compare the U.S. to Mexico. Mexicans share our continent, our love for soda and corn syrup, and our tendency towards chubbiness (source). We spend approximately $8500 per year per American on health care and live to the age of 78. A Mexican can expect to live to age 76. How much do Mexicans spend on health care? Their per-person GDP is only about $13,000 per year, and they supposedly spend about 6 percent of GDP on health care (source) so $800 per person is a good estimate.

An American will spend $600,000 in order to add two years to the end of his life. Those two years may very well be spent in an intensive care unit or a nursing home and certainly are not likely to be spent on the tennis court or visiting the Venice Biennale.

For that $600,000, an American could have the following:

  • a house, free and clear of all mortgages (median price for a single family house sold nationwide in May 2009 was $170,000)
  • a lifetime supply of automobiles, assuming $20,000 per car, a 10-year life per car, and 50 years of driving ($100,000)
  • 50 vacations for a family of four (average cost $1600; total of $80,000)
  • a college education ($25,000 of tuition for four years at a public university)
  • two children, reared to the age of 17 ($125,000 per kid, average cost for a basic family (source); note that a pair of Americans could have four children, all of whose costs would be completely paid for out of this $600,000)
  • $75,000 in walking-around money

– Philip Greenspun from rough draft of Health Care Reform for the United States

Greenspun’s longer draft covers a great deal more and offers many other specific recommendations for improving the current U.S. health care system. Read and comment on the full essay.