Friday, April 20, 2012

Chess Fight Club



     This Saturday I will be playing in a chess tournament.  April 21, 2012.  I have the information posted below.  Everyone is welcome to either watch or play.  If you happen to be in the Quad City area it is worth checking out.  If you have never been rated by the USCF the entry fee is waived.  That mean you can play for free.  The nice thing about chess for me is the way the rest of the world seems to disappear and I enter an almost quiet bliss.  Is it hard?  Yes, Do you have to be super intelligent?  No, not really.  They  haven't really found any link between chess talent and intelligence.  In a way it's like martial arts.  You must be able to attack your opponent while at the same time figure out the best way to defend your own pieces.  Chess is really one of the only games I've found that can be fun whether I am winning or losing.  It's like a conversation.  Each move is a form of dialogue.  You move a piece which threatens a complex tactic,  that is your question.  You are asking "What are you doing to do to get out of this?"  Part of the fun is seeing what answer they come up with.  Chess is more about imagination than strategy.  Sure, there is strategy and tactics, but imagination is what makes it fun.

Below is the PDF file about the event.

Also, here is a link to Bob Long's blog who's running the tournament.  http://chesstoast.blogspot.com/



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Motorcyles Crashing the Bike Path or (Take it Easy Rider)

     One of the great perks of living in the Quad Cities is the Great River Bike Trail.  This is a sixty two mile run along the river between Rock Island, IL to Savanna, IL.  A breathtaking scenic route with stops along the way where one can use the restroom or get a drink of water.  I have traveled this trail before.  I won't lie and say I went the full sixty two miles, but I did visit both sides of the river.

Why are you talking about a bike trail?
   I'll tell you why.  Crossing the Arsenal bridge today I saw something odd.  Motorcycles.  Yes! Frickin' motorcycles on the bike trail.  At first I thought it was an illusion.  Maybe I miss saw.  I looked again.  Sure enough, there were four motorcycles being driven by human sized dicks.  Here is my problem.  Part of the attraction of riding along the river is the peaceful serenity one feels as they gaze over the calm water.  The sounds of birds and ducks, maybe the occasional crash of water on the shore line. As a cyclist, the sudden roar of a motor cycle followed by the sight of a big black metal thing flying towards me at forty miles per hour would be such a shock.  I would be violently snapped back to reality with such a force as to lock my muscles and causing me to lose control and careen off into the river.  These motorcyclists wouldn't even notice while cruising by with their heads shoved up their own dick holes.  
   Would they care?  No.  Their only concern is what kind of chips they can jam into their mouth holes for lunch while enjoying this peaceful scenery which includes baby ducks chocking on exhaust fumes.
   There are those who would think I am overreacting to this.
"You're overreacting to this."  a text message reads to me.
   First of all, how the hell are you texting me before I've even finished the blog?  Second of all, if these motorists, (That's what they are.  Motorcycles are street vehicles.)  Payed attention to anything else besides their own sense of dickery, they would see the signs posted about every half mile or so that reads.  "Motor vehicles such as motorcycles or cars are prohibited from the bike trail."  My only conclusion is they are either blind which means they shouldn't be operating any machinery at all or they can't read.  The third option is, they don't care.  Seeing this has angered me to the point of blogging about it.  Therefore I present to you some things you can do to help in the event that you my loyal readers see a motorcycle on the bike trail.  (Entertainment purposes only)

Ways to mess with Motorcyclists on the bike trail.




Riot Ready Super Soaker, Oh Yeah!

    Super Soakers.  Yes, those high powered water cannons.  Or water balloons which I guess could be classified as a type of grenade in the water based artillery. You can soak the ever living spit out of them.  Especially if they are wearing leather pants.  If they get pissed off you can simply say, "Oh, I'm sorry were you not expecting to get wet driving your motorcycle near the river?  I suggest this website which teaches you about a nice super soaker hack

    Grab a friend and dress up as nuns. Ride on opposite sides of the trail and wait for the motorcycle to pass between the two of you.  When they do, start a yogurt fight.  (Make sure you time it just right.  You want it to appear as if the fight was taking place before they passed you.)


    It should look just like this
    Go the RoadRunner Route and erect a brick wall with a realistic painting of a tunnel.  Of course, just like the cartoons, the bicyclists will be able to travel through this tunnel but the motorcyclists will smash right into it.





       I'm not saying that these people are bad or evil.  I'm not even saying that motorcycles are bad.  In fact, motorcycles are awesome.  Just not on a trail reserved for bicycles.  It would be like a tank.  Again, tanks are awesome.  Tanks running over small cars, ok still awesome.  The point is, there is a time and place for everything.  Are these people really bad for doing this, well yes and no.  I would rather give them the benefit of the doubt and just blame it on ignorance.   I don't think they were intentionally driving on the trail with the sole purpose of ruining the experience for everyone else.
       Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?  Would you feel uncomfortable riding a bicycle along side a thousand pound hunk of metal and glass and other bits of sharp pointy bits?
    Email me or leave a comment below.


    2 motorcyclists injured in bike trail crash


    Perhaps Karma has a way of dealing with these things
    .  http://www.startribune.com/local/west/133326473.html

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    A Satisfied Customer or (Dead men tell no bad jokes)

        I sat in a waiting room.  It was brightly lit with a few paintings of sad clowns on the walls.  A large oak coffee table scattered with magazines sat before me.  I have been waiting close to forty five minutes now.  After reading through the fifth magazine on fishing, baseball, and how to fish with a baseball the large wooden door cracked open and a woman's head with short blond hair peeked through.
        "Mr.  ***********,"  she announced with a smile.  "We are ready to see you now."
      I dropped my magazine onto the table and followed her through the door.  She led me down a long hallway adorned with more sad clown paintings.  "Sure are a lot of clowns here."  I said trying to make small talk.  She ignored me and pointed at a door with the number '86' on it.
         "Here is our stop."  she opened the door.  "Mr.  Saila will be with you shortly."  She excused herself and left me sitting in a small office.  Thankfully there were no sad clowns in here.
    Instead there was a plain black desk with a folder.   Next to the desk was a simple lamp.
        The door opened "Hello, I am Mr. Saila.   I understand you have a problem and we are here to help.  Have you brought the check?"
        I was startled.  I turned around to see a smiling man which I guessed to be in his mid forties.  His hair was short, dark, and swept back.  His steel eyes half hidden behind small wire rimmed spectacles.  "Yes, I have the money here." I said looking through my pockets.  "I just had a few questions-"
        "Look," the man spoke sharply.  "We have all the information we need.  We'll take care of it."
       "Yes, but I was just curious as to how you'd do it."  I said nervously.
       The man sighed.  "We don't usually reveal our methods to our clients.  Heck, sometimes our clients ARE the targets."  He said with a little chuckle.  He sat down at the bare desk and reached into a drawer and produced a small wooden box.  "Cuban?" he said extending the box toward me.
       'Uh, no thanks I don't smoke."  I said.
       He put the box away and pointed at the chair opposite him.  "Please sit," he said.  "What I can tell you is it will be quick, painless, and no ties to you whatsoever."  He thumbed through the folder on the desk.  "In this case, we can have it done by the end of the week.   I see she has your last name, yet I have you down here as single. "
       "Well, she's my ex you see but she is trying to take everything I-"
       "Say no more." He put his hand up.  "This is more common than you think.  In fact, I'm sure you've heard of Jack the Ripper.   He was actually employed by us.  We actually spent months slaughtering women of the same profile just to make it look like a serial killing.  Of course the client paid a little extra for a painful death with the added bonus of having his wife labeled as a street walker."  He took out a cigar for himself and lit it.  The heavy smoke rose silently through the air.  "We have even, well I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but we have even gone as far as hijacking a plane to take out a well known building-"
         I almost fell out of my chair.  "What?!  You guys were behind 9/11!?"  I shouted.
        "No, no," he put his hand up. "That was all Bin Laden, we just made sure our target was on the twelfth floor."  He grabbed my check and stuck it into the manila folder.
        "Wait a minute," I said.  "Why are you telling me this, aren't you afraid of me knowing too much?"
        The man laughed and extinguished his cigar.  "I don't think anyone would believe you, besides nothing will leave this room.  Not even you."  He brought out another manila folder.
       "I don't under-" I began to feel dizzy and I started to lose focus.
         Mr.  Saila thumbed through a folder.  "It seems your ex wife outbid you.  She paid a little extra for defamation of character.  You'll die of a drug overdose.  You've been exposed to a toxin from my cigar smoke that damages the brain first and resembles a drug overdose."
        I slumped to the ground.  "But I paid you, you bas-"  my throat seized up.
        "Oh, you've probably lost the ability to speak by now."  The man stood up.  "Yes, you've paid us and rest assured she will also be dead by the end of the week as per our deal.  We always keep our promises."
          The world around me began to grow dark.  I felt as though I were falling which I guessed was the total relaxation of my entire body.  I was aware of the cold temperature as my body began to lose heat.  I suddenly felt really good, at peace even.  Then there was nothing.  Many think of death as a bang but it's really just a whisper.  Silence and solitude forevermore.
    ***The End***


       "Jesus Frank!"  exclaimed the Publishing agent.
        "You don't like it?"  Frank looked surprised.  "You said you wanted something with a good story and a twist at the end.
       "FOR KIDS!!!"  the agent screamed.  "I wanted something that kids could read and not just look at the pictures."
        "Hey now, are you saying you hated the whole thing?  What about the nice picture of the owl on the cover?"  Frank smiled.
        "The one that's being eaten by the zombie?"  He picked up the book.
        "Yeah, that one."  Frank insisted.
        "Oh yes, this one is just great."  the agent said "For fueling the nightmares of american children and jump-starting the economy for therapists everywhere."
         "Well, if you don't like it then I'll just go somewhere else."  Frank stood up.
         "What?" said the agent.  "I didn't say I didn't like.  I'm talking about all the clown pictures.  Tell you what, replace the clown pictures with flowers and we should be able to sneak just under the censors."
         "Deal."said Frank as they shook hands.



    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    Fecal Transplants or (To Poo or not to Poo!)

         I am going to warn my readers right now.  If you are eating or have eaten within the last hour or so hold off on reading this.  I'm serious.  Finish your lunch and come back in an hour.
    Ok, the reason for my warnings are as follows.  Today's blog is about Feces.  Yes, aka poop, aka doo doo, aka $h1t aka crap, aka movies by Uwe Boll.  I'm not talking about just pooping in general, but how poop can be used to heal.  I would not joke about something this serious.  If you or someone you know suffer from C. Difficile should read this PDF.

        What is C. Difficile? or (What's the C. Diff?)
    High five?

    I'm glad you asked otherwise I'd just explain anyway without an inquisitive segue.  C. Difficile is an infection that lives in pooop and can cause diarrhea or in the worst case inflammation of the colon.  The word inflammation and colon should never ever be used in the same sentence.  This can actually be life threatening.  The most often used treatment is antibiotics.  Antibiotics are good at killing off infections.  Many life threatening ailments have been treated with antibiotics.  What's the problem?  The antibiotics kill off the good bacteria as well.  Good bacteria helps you break down foods that you can't digest on your own.  For example, beans.  We can't digest them that well.  So the bacteria eat the parts we can't break down and they burp.  This causes gas.  Neat huh?  Where are you going?  I warned you about eating lunch while reading this.
         You can also just boost the probiotics in some cases.  Giving your feces a healthy dose of good bacteria can help fight off the bad guys.  This is why the yogurt industry have been advertising the benefits of a good long poo.
        If the inflammation is so bad and it's too late for probiotics or antibiotics, it's time for surgery.  The only thing to do now is to remove part of the colon.  Holy crap!  That does not sound like fun.  I mean, I don't even want to imagine what that's like.

    "You did that all by yourself?  Good, here's a lollipop."
       Luckily there are alternatives.  Like replacing your infected poo with good poo.  That's right, I'm talking about a Fecal transplant.  This is one of those ideas that sounds so crazy that it might just work.  And it does.  A canadian man (for some reason doesn't want his name published) was due for the procedure.  Since this was an uncommon thing there was a lot of red tape to go through to get it approved.  It apparently took too long because the patient said "Screw this, I'm just going to do it my dang self."   His doctor of course was shocked that his patient had already done the procedure but then  probably relieved that he didn't have to do it.
         I think this is a good idea.  Yes, it seems strange but it does have a 90% success rate.  90%!  The fact that someone did this at home without a doctor and it still worked just goes to show that there's more to this idea.  How else are we supposed to learn new things or make new discoveries if we aren't willing to try new things?  What if Alexander Fleming decided to just throw out that moldy sandwich? I know this is a semi serious blog but seriously.  Why would their be any red tape at all?  The conversation should have gone like this.
    Doctor:  With my years of experience and medical training I believe this is the best course of action.  Yes, the patient understands what we are doing and even signed the waiver.
    Medical Director:  Ok, how does this afternoon sound?
    Doctor:  Uh, I think I'd like to do this before lunch.
        Then the doctor would begin to literally doctor the shit right out of his patient.  Pun intended.

    What do you think?  Does it seem like hospitals are too concerned with lawsuits and protecting their own behinds rather than patients?  Do you think this just slows our progress?  Isn't progress built on making the occasional mistake?



    References:  
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/c-difficile/DS00736
    http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/80530-cb-man-performs-fecal-transplant-himself

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    Quaker Face-lift or (has Quaker gone Quackers?)

       There I am, traipsing through the cereal aisle at my local super market.  All is right with the world.  I casually glance over as I pass by a box of oatmeal and continue walking.
         "Hold on a tic." I shout.  I snap my head back to the Quaker Oats box.  Something didn't seem quite right here.  I pick up the box and stare intently at the label.
          "Can I help yo-"  a voice starts to say.
          "SHUT UP!!!"  I scream.  "I'M THINKING!"  and sprint down the aisle with the box in my hands.  I hide myself among the pineapples so I can be alone to contemplate my dilemma.
    I stare at the box.  It looks like this.
        "Hmm, "  I say to myself.  It looks  different.  I bought the box and took it home.  I placed it on my kitchen table and stared at it.  "What secrets do you hold?" I said with a slightly British accent.  
          Then it hit me.  He lost weight!  He lost weight?  What?  How is that even, why did they, what?
    My suspicions were confirmed after doing a Google search for an old Quaker oats box and I turned up 
    this article here.   It's not like they replaced him with Brad Pitt or anything.(Pictured Below) 
     But it does look like he has had some work.     
    I bet you ladies out their would like to sow them oats.  Am I right?
       Even the text font seems thinner.  It's almost as if the logo itself is an actual entity and it decided to lose weight because the other logo's kept making fun of it at the beach.  I had to do some research on this (not too much).  I came up with this nifty little slow news day article that said PepsiCo. wanted their product to be associated with health and energy which I guess wasn't being represented by a jolly fat colonial man in a wig.  Instead, a slightly less fat but still jolly colonial man in a wig.
          The difference is subtle.  Changing a logo too much can sometimes cause a consumer backfire.  Do you remember "New Coke?"  Of course not!  No one does and they've spent millions to make sure it stays that way.  More recently Tropicana got rid of their famous "orange with a straw sticking out of it" logo.  However after many fans complained, passionately.  I mean with more passion than the OJ Simpson trial (A different kind of OJ).  In 2010 they brought the orange and straw back.
          What do I think about the change?  You may have already asked.  I think they did a good job with the subtlety without changing the logo.
               Heck, we could have ended up with this.
    Now with 25% more Smoosh Smoosh!!!






      I am all for change.  Sometimes it's what helps keep a product fresh in our minds.  I drove by a Taco Bell sign that hadn't changed their sign in three months.  It wouldn't have bothered me except the sign said "Tr Britos ox un"  Obviously it had lost some letters.  Every frickin' day I passed this sign. I felt like walking in there to give them some helpful input.
        Employee:  Welcome to Taco bell melpew?
        Me:  CHANGE YOUR *BEEP*ING SIGN!!!
       Employee:  Huh?  Wha-"
       Me: Yes, I'll have the chalupa please.

    When they finally did change their sign I was relieved.  It was to advertise some baja taco, burrito, something otherwhich.  Someone even joked "You have to try that now because they changed the sign."

    You know what?  I did feel like eating there that day.  It was still horrible but that's not the point.
    The point is changing a logo every now and then isn't that bad.  Will it make people associate oatmeal with being thing and healthy?  I always thought of oatmeal as sort of poor mans(of which I am a member) breakfast.  It's something that is cheap and still nutritional.  I bet they could have changed the logo to a pauper or even better yet Oliver Twist.  His fingerless gloves holding out a small bowl with those puppy dog eyes.  "Can I 'ave some more?"


    Do you like oatmeal?  Does a logo really matter that much?  Would you still eat oatmeal if it had a picture of someone with diabetes?

    Wilfred wouldn't lie to you.



    References:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/business/media/23adcol.html?pagewanted=all
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/quaker-oats-man_n_1389414.html
    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-03-29/news/31256626_1_quaker-oats-new-logo-original-logo


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