Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blue Sky Holiday

I vowed not to bore the loyal Dear Mr. Supercomputer readership with the banal minutiae of my life. And I will (hopefully) not do so in my following description of my day. I had not planned on blogging it until just now. And I promise I will not do this very often. As I said in my original mission-esque statement, there's nothing wrong with blogging about your daily life, it's just that it's not that interesting.

Anyway. This is the stuff they leave out in the Baylor School of Education promotional video.

About 10 minutes into the class day officers step into my room and the room next door and ask everyone to step outside and leave everything where it's at. This almost always means "drug search." And sure enough, they brought in the drug dogs. After about 15-20 minutes of all of us standing in the hall, the kids eyeing each other nervously, the officers are holding two backpacks and cart off two kids, one from my room and one next door - though I have them both in successive classes.

Next period, one of the students and the teacher next door to me get into a SCREAMING match. There was a "colorful metaphor" or two dropped by the student - whom I have in the successive period. In my class the student basically sat and stewed with a "I'm going to destroy you" dedication while she (did I mention, 'she?') did her work.

6th period, a few of my Pre-AP kids had a nice and heated discussion about the famous Monty Hall Math problem, and proposed to do a free-lance project investigating the solution. Love those Pre-AP kids.

7th period rolls around and I'm expecting to see the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. And I'm not far off. For outside, maybe 300 yards from the school a barn caught on fire (found this out afterwards), but the wind was blowing towards the school. So you look out the window and this thick black smoke was rolling over the school, looking like the school was or might catch on fire. It never did though. The kids were disappointed.

It wasn't a bad day, by and means, just an odd day, and one of those days that they don't really prepare you for. And I hadn't planned on blogging this until I turned on the car radio and, naturally heard this song:


Kissing Suzy Kolber has a step-by-step solution to the Browns' irrelevence:

"City Of Cleveland Continues To Demand Football Team After Losing Browns In 1996 "

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Things to be Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. Hope all is well where you are.

In honor of the pilgrims having dinner with the Native Americans, or "Indians" as they were called at the time, here is a list of the five things I am most thankful for in the world.

  1. Coach Dennis Green. For giving us this legendary rant. And giving me the "We are who we thought they were!" joke to run into the ground and make totally unfunny by Christmas.

  2. Elmo. For entertaining Addy when Daddy doesn't feel like being a full time parent that early.

  3. Our World Map Shower Curtain. You don't know how much extra time I've spent on the toilet trying to memorize the names at least 10 African countries. It's harder than naming the Seven Houses of Parliament.

  4. For informing the general public (and those without cable) of wonderful sports-tainment news such as the aforementioned Dennis Green news conference. And of this heartwarming moment about the passing of a legen -- OHIO STATE!!!!!

5. For all the children of the world to join hands and sing in spirit of harmony and peace. Oh wait, that's another holiday list.

5. The 7-11 Coffee Bar. Let's just say that the 7th Coffee-free Card has saved me about $600.

Bonus Thanks to: Kevin Federline. For giving all loser guys hope that they too can get a job as a lowly backup dancer, knock up Brittney Spears (twice), and recieveher alimony checks after the divorce. God Bless us, everyone!

I hope you all have a lot to be thankful for as well.

Monday, November 20, 2006


This past Sunday I was following the Cleveland Browns - Pittsburgh Steelers game via the Internet, frantically pushing refresh every so often. You see, this is how I watch Cleveland Browns games since they are never on TV here. I wish I could blame it on the fact that we live in Texas and get flooded with Cowboys and Texans games, but in truth, there were probably very few parts outside of Northern Ohio and Pennsylvania that would show a match up of 3-6 teams.

Anyway, the Browns' defense played an inspired game. Going into the 4th quarter the Browns were up by a score of 20-10. The Browns' touchdowns were the result of an interception return and a kick return. They had yet to score an offensive touchdown, and they would not score one. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh offense suddenly came alive in the 4th quarter and/or the Browns defense tired or folded depending on how you look at it. Pittsburgh scored two touchdowns in the span of about 5 minutes and ended up winning 24-20 in Cleveland.

There was a point during that 4th quarter that the Steelers were faced with a 3rd and 10. This was at roughly the 13 minute mark, so there was plenty of time left. The Browns had just scored a touchdown and if they could force Pittsburgh to punt, they would hopefully be able to burn enough clock and put the game away. After all, to this point, the Steelers hadn't gotten anything going on offense.

When I saw that the Steelers converted that 3rd down, I rolled my eyes and thought to myself, "here we go again," knowing that it was inevitable that the Browns would give up this game they had in the bag. This was a simple first down play. The Steelers were still deep in their own territory and the Browns were still up by 10 points. But I knew at that point, the Browns would lose.

You see, this is how I follow the Browns now, just expecting them to lose the whole three hours. If they happen to win the occasional game it's a momentary surprise, then a relapse into remembering they are a 3-7 team with no chance of making the playoffs again. But most of the time I just spend dreading this week's loss. It's not fun. I thought sports were supposed to be fun. This is not.

My brothers often blamed my dad for not growing up in New York or Boston, where their teams actually win championships. It is not fun to root for Cleveland any more. I'm not sure that it ever was. I feel like I'm in this abusive relationship and I just keep coming back knowing that I'll get let down again. The only difference is, in an abusive relationship, the abused usually holds out some hope that things will get better. I hold out no such hope. I wish I didn't care about them. I can try to feign indifference, but I don't do it very well.

For you see, not only are the Browns bad, they have become irrelevant. The Oakland Raiders are bad, but people still talk about them, even if it's just for commentators to get all indignant about Randy Moss. But I'd bet 90% of the public doesn't even know that the Browns exist. I asked Mrs. Supercomputer today to name a player on the Browns. She couldn't (though, in fairness, she could probably not name a player on the World Champion Steelers as well). We're to the point that fans are lamenting that their sons are becoming fans of other teams, because the Browns have been irrelevant throughout their entire childhood.

The Browns-Steelers rivalry was at one time, the best in all of sports. These teams and fans hated each other with a passion. They were both blue-collar teams from blue-collar towns who played blue-collar football. Both had a legacy of Hall of Fame players and championships galore. In truth, the Steelers have done their part to maintain this one-time rivalry, but it's hard to maintain a rivalry when only one team wins. The Steelers have won 12 of the last 13 meetings between the two teams. Before winning this nail biter, the Steelers beat the Browns 41-0 on Christmas Eve in Cleveland. By the end of the game there were more Steelers fans than Browns fans in the crowd. This rivalry has devolved into a biannual embarrassment. But looking at the big picture, the Browns are just a weekly embarrassment. I hate the fact that I want them to win so badly.

I know that sports isn't supposed to mean much. Like I said, it's supposed to be good fun, right? Then why do I feel like an alcoholic who can't give up the sauce? I don't feel like I go into a funk when my team loses. At least not for more than an hour. I don't take it out on my kids at school. But I still want so very badly for the Browns or Indians (or to a lesser extent, the Cavs, ironically) to win a championship. Or shoot, just become relevant and get to the playoffs every few years. Right now, they are in purgatory. Or is it me that's in purgatory?

Friday, November 17, 2006

The third in the series of documentaries about over-obsessive nerds.

In terms of strict moviemaking, the documentary Word Play, thoroughly exploring the world of the NY Times crossword puzzle and its addicts, is superior to both Spellbound and Word Wars. It's much more seamless than the other two with pop music and a cascade of celebs ranging from the Indigo Girls, to Bill Clinton, to Jon Stewart, to Mike Mussina. The interview settings are carefully chosen and shot, making for a more visually appealing film - which says a lot considering the general homliness of the NY Times crossword constituents.

As a story though, it's not as heartwarming as the kids in Spellbound, and it doesn't center around characters as bizzare and engaging as Word Wars. Every central character in Word Play was a welf-off caucasian nerd. In the other docs, the nerds were of various races and backgrounds. For that reason I found it as enjoyable as the other two docs, but missing that extra something that has the audience dropping their jaws.

The one thing Word Play has over the other two (besides the celebs), is a look at how the crossword puzzles are made. Will Shortz and his entourage of crossword creators give us an insight to just how dedicated and how bizzare one has to be to get into the business of a "Puzzle Creator."

I'm sure one day we'll see these three wonderful documentaries as part of a box set. Each examine the subject manner with humor and tenderness, with even a little suspense thrown in. I'm not sure what other obsessive games documentaries could chronicle. The first time I see a doc for "Minesweeper" or something like that, the genre will have run its course. But until then, Word Play nicely caps it for now.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The best thing to come out of the election yesterday:

I'll refrain from asking why it took so damn long, and simply take solace in the fact that it finally happened. Under a wave of unrest regarding the war, Donald Rumsfeld has finally been removed as Secretary of Defense. I don't know who will replace him, but it would be difficult to find a less competent individual. In fact, he was the initial inspiration for a brainstorm of "Most Incompetent Employee in America."

4-23-06 "I was thinking about prominent figures who simply suck at their job, thereby creating a forum of Worst Employee in America. The people who have the greatest disparity between what they are asked/paid to do and what they actually produce. We're talking the kind of gross incompetence that gets other people

(note: this does not mean who does the least. If that were the case, Darren Dreifort wins going away by doing NOTHING and collecting 10 mil a year.)

So I give you a short and by no means complete list of candidates for Most Incompetent Employee in America.
Please add to it:

Isaiah Thomas, GM New York Knicks
James Carville, Strategist/Spokesman for the Democratic Party
Toby McGuire, Actor
Skip Bayless, ESPN Columnist/Commentator
Scoop Jackson, ESPN Columnist/Commentator
Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Ricky Davis, NBA Player
Scott Stapp, Musician (former lead member of Creed)
Dr. Phil, "Psychologist""

So despite the fact that it took so long, with civilians and men and women in uniform alike calling for his resignation, Donald Rumsfeld, architect of a military disaster of generational proportions, is currently unemployed.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Go vote!

You have access to the information, difficult though it may be to find. Get out there and let your voice be heard. If you like Republicans, there's a doozy of an incumbant to vote for. If you like watered down Democrats with no personality, we've got that. If you like independents who actually speak their mind and straightshoot the public, we've got one of those. And if you like tough Grandmas who promise to give Dear Mr. Supercomputer a raise of $6,000, we've got one of those as well.

With voter turnout projected to be around 36% and split among four candidates, your vote counts more than it ever will. Make use of it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Brought to my attention by Ash:

The new Deftones album (like I said, Ash) contains a track called, "U,U,D,D,L,R,L,R,A,B,Select,Start."