Why is Vincent Yelling?

I came across Vincent Orange's website today, and I have a question. Why is his letter on the about page welcoming people to his website all in capitals? Take the opening for example:

Sure he seems excited about running for mayor, but it strikes me as similar to how excited this guy is put me in a new car TODAY.


This Week in Insanity...

From today's Washington Post chat:

"Arlington, Va.: We have an 8-month old daughter. How soon should we start looking for pre-schools to ensure she has the best chance to get into a quality center?

Mimi Carter: I would start looking now. Really. Because there is a dearth of high quality preschools and child care centers and you will want to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible with your choice. It may be expensive, but think about this. Your child's brain will grow more now, between birth and five then anytime afterwards. You want him to have the BEST."
Now I don't have children, and can't remember pre-school to save my life, but don't they pretty much only teach: sharing, don't throw blocks at girls, and use the bathroom? I guess the ABCs are in there also, but if you need a fancy expensive school to teach your kid the ABCs than you should really get use to the idea of having a kid who is a "Sandwich Artist."


You were in my dreams last night...

I love puzzles. I usually do two crossword puzzles, and three Sodukus in a given day. Recently, I have stumbled across Kakuro, and it has become my new obsession.

For those who don't know, Kakuro is essentially a crossword puzzle, but with numbers. In the puzzle, a given row or column must add up to a given number. The trick is that only the numbers 1-9 can be used, and a number may only be used once per row/column. For example, if two spaces add up to 8, 4+4 cannot be a solution. Here is a link to the best free website that I can find. The game is pretty self explanatory once you see it. The linked website is nice because you can solve puzzles online, and check your answers.

What I like about Kakuro is that it reveals the mechanics of a crossword puzzle. In Kakuro, there are some answers that have multiple possibilities, like 15 over three spaces could be 1+5+9, or 2+6+7, etc. There are also clues that have only one possible solution, like 23 over 3 spaces, which is 9+8+6. One solves the puzzle by using the unique combinations of certain clues to glean the specific combinations of others.

Crossword puzzles work in the same way. The crossword equivalent of 23, or 17 is aria or oreo. These are clues that arise frequently and supply the letters that allow one to find the unique solutions to other clues with multiple possibilities. I believe the secret to solving a crossword puzzle has nothing to do with knowledge, or trivia. It is knowing the common unique solutions, like aria, or epee, or olio. When you complete a Kakuro puzzle, this whole process is revealed in an obvious way.

Also, I have been answering the telephones at my office for 4:30 hours now and these puzzles, which were the saviors of my sanity about an hour ago, are now slowly driving me mad.



Warning, I am going to engage in a little cyber-stalking. Normally, people do this when they want to write a post but don't have anything to say. Something along the lines of, "Wow, someone got here searching for 'how does ocd differ from being fanatical.' Isn't that funny?" And I will admit to falling prey to the practice myself a few times.

This bit of cyber-stalking is different. Yesterday, someone came to this site by searching for "roosevelt roosevelt pieces song music" and "roosevelt roosevelt, charles, band." For those who don't know, Roosevelt Roosevelt was my old band from 3-4 years ago. Given the number of cds that we sold, I am guessing that anyone still searching for that band, and me, knows me personally. The person in question is coming from Lehigh University (creepy huh). I have been going nuts trying to figure out who this person could be and have come up empty.

So, I am hoping that the person in question comes back and identifies his/herself. Please? This is going to bother me for a while. If the comment section is too public you can email me at dc (dot) charles (at) gmail (dot) com.


51st State

Ladies and gentleman, that is what the flag would look like if DC was given statehood. Frankly, it doesn't look as bad as I expected. According to Wikipedia, this flag has been designed in case a 51st state is admitted. While it doesn't look as good as the current flag, I don't think it is so ugly that people can object to DC Statehood on aesthetic grounds. Most, if not all, of my readers know about the problems with the District's lack of representation, but here is more information for anyone who got to this site by searching for "punk version of my funny valentine."

As a side note, according to Wikipedia there have been a series of attempts by various citizens and politicians of New York City for the city to secede from the rest of the state and become the 51st state. Apparently, Norman Mailer was involved in one attempt and suggested that the city should keep the name "New York" and the rest of the state should be renamed "Buffalo." Seriously, what a bunch of dicks.


Adrian Fenty

I had the pleasure of meeting Adrian Fenty last night.

Around 7:00, the Fenty campaign descended on my block. At first, I saw some people standing outside with green stickers on and clipboards. I was initially disturbed, thinking that I already have to politely ignore Greenpeace while getting lunch at work, God help them if the interrupt me in my neighborhood. Then I saw a Fenty placard being placed on one of my neighbors yards, and behold there was the man himself.

I put my shoes on and head down to meet the candidate. This was the first honest to goodness campaign stop that I have seen. Growing up in Arlington, my vote was pretty much taken for granted, but I guess in a hotly contested election people are going to have to listen to me, or at least pretend to.

One of Mr. Fenty's campaign people greeted me outside my front door and began to tell me how great the councilman was. He then calls out to Mr. Fenty and gestures for him to come over and meet me. Mr. Fenty came over, shook my hand, and asked me if I had decided who I was going to vote for in the upcoming election. I told him that I honestly didn't know, and that it was still early in the race. He said that he understood and asked me to read over the material that had been handed to me. Unfortunately he was called away to another house before I got a chance to ask him any questions.

So that is the whole of my encounter. My first impression was that I liked that he just showed up on my block to meet the neighbors. Also, we have some less than savory people who hang around, and Mr. Fenty made a point of introducing himself to them. In particular, while I was talking with him, a heavily intoxicated homeless man stumbled through, and Mr. Fenty made a point to introduce himself and shake his hand. While he is a politician, it would have been very easy to let this guy just pass through. I don't know why, it made an impression on me.


New York Hack

Our receptionist has been sick for the past two days, so I have had to answer the phones all day. This involves sitting at a desk for 7 hours with only the computer to keep me company. I know this wouldn't be a problem for some, but after about 3 hours the internet just isn't that interesting. The experience is also like a long car ride. Because I am the only receptionist I can't leave the desk without getting someone to fill in for me. This means that I stock up on water and soda and go to the bathroom before I sit down.

Today hasn't been that bad because I stumbled across New York Hack. This is a blog by a female New York City taxi driver, who brings along a camera and takes pictures while she works. It is an interesting read, along the lines of Waiterrant, which is where I found it.

Go Team!

I am pretty sure I have mentioned it before, but baseball is far and away my favorite sport. It was always my favorite to play and now to watch. While I am probably more fanatical about the Redskins, Tommy and Catherine can testify to the intensity with which I watch baseball games. I am pretty sure I scared Catherine while watching a game last year.

It is around this time that discussions inevitably begin on the merits of baseball as a sport. And while I think arguments about which sport is better are fairly useless, and I am certainly not a good enough writer to convince anyone, Yglesias wrote something that I feel compelled to respond to.

In this post, Matt wrote:

"In addition (and I'm not a baseball fan, so I'm open to being corrected on this point) but my sense is that this is exacerbated by the fact that baseball is the least team-ey of the major team sports in that the players don't really need to cooperate actively in the way basketball and football players do."
I think this is wrong, and he does ask to be corrected. I submit that baseball is the most "team-ey" of the major team sports. While there is a lot of cooperation that I think Matt is ignoring, I will agree that baseball players don't appear to rely on each in the way that basketball players or football players do.

The reason I believe baseball to be the most "team-ey" sport is that baseball is the sport that is the most difficult for one player to individually win a game or championship. The pitcher clearly has the best opportunity to single-handedly win a game. He is involved in roughly half of all the plays, and if he is great can shut down an opponent's offense. The problem is that he contributes nothing offensively in the American League, and virtually nothing in the National.

Say you have a great pitcher, who has an era of 2. In order to have a high winning percentage his team needs average more than two runs a game. Lets also posit that this pitcher is also a good hitter and bats .300. So he averages a hit or so a game. Even if that hit is a home run, he still needs his team to supply the rest. This is neglecting what happens when the pitcher leaves the game, and the team relies on the bullpen.

Even if you had this super-pitcher, he only plays in about 1/3-1/4 of the total number of games in the season. For his team to make the post season, the rest of the team needs to be able to win without this game-changing player on the field.

This isn't to say that a player can't dramatically improve his team, I just believe less so than other sports. Putting Barry Bonds, or Roger Clemens on a baseball team doesn't immediately make that team a championship contender in the way that Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky did. The case is tougher to make in football, but I think Vince Young showed the impact one player can have on a season. I think that people would have radically different expectations for the Colts if they lost Peyton Manning.


The Simpsons Movie?

Was knowledge of the forthcoming Simpsons movie so ubiquitous that it never needed mentioning? Given my group of friends, I am a little surprised to hear about it in the USA Today first. We all can agree that it is probably not a good idea...right? Anyway, here is a link to the trailer.