Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Story time!!

I have no idea why I starting thinking about this tonight. But I did. And I wanted to write about it.

During the spring semester of my last year of high school, the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) decided to hold a Knowledge Bowl. Two levels, grades 7 & 8 and grades 9-12. Participants would be broken into groups of 3. A series of preliminary matches (2 teams head-to-head, 3 minute matches) would pit the two highest scoring teams against each other in the final. Scoring was +20 for a correct answer, -25 for a wrong answer.

But here was the best part. The Knowledge Bowl organizers, whom were also high-ranking officers in the PTO, rigged the teams. They put their own kids on teams, together. Giving them an unfair advantage against the rest of the field. One stacked team at each level was supposed to waltz to the Championship. Kind of like the New York Yankees.

Even better than that. The organizers stated that the purpose of the Knowledge Bowl was to create an arena of academic competition. Give the non-athletes a chance to face off, show their stuff, and win something. Sports were huge at my school. Athletes were at the top of the social ladder. These ringers were not athletic. Not even close. They didn't go out for any teams. And it's not like there wasn't room for them. In some sports, we'd go four squads deep to let everyone who tried out participate. These ringers were one-dimensional. They were smart, and that's about it.

Being wise to the whole thing, and maybe a little paranoid, I openly accused the organizers of rigging the whole thing. I doubt anyone listened. But I was damn right about that. Too many coincidences. The team designations were not decided by random chance.

And it almost worked.

I didn't pay much attention to Junior High competition. The ringer team won. I was too anxious to care, really. I wanted my crack at the stage.

At the high school level, there were 8 teams. I was captain of Team H, consisting of myself, Joel Martinez, and Spencer Mawhar. We were pulling answers out of our asses and nailing the questions. We scored the most points of any team in the first round with 480. Top seed. Our opponent for the final? That's right, the ringers. Dave Bellknap (Team captain, fellow senior, friend, and beneficiary of the "randomly decided teams"), Veronica Jensen (junior ringer), and Sean Cummings (freshman ringer).

We did not get off to a hot start in the final. We missed a few questions early in the round, and our opponents took advantage and moved out to a big lead. But we fought back. Pulled in close. I tried to keep a mental tally of the score as the round progressed, but I was a little too nervous to keep track. Then that next question came. In fact, it was the last question. The bell indicating the end of the round rang about 3 words into the question. What amendment established the separation of church and state? As soon as heard those last three words, I buzzed in. Answered "the first amendment." The round was over. I shot out of my chair immediately, dancing in place like I had to go to the bathroom, waiting the hear the results.

200 to 195. That last correct answer gave us the Championship.

Not only had we won the Knowledge Bowl, but we foiled the organizers' attempts to rig the whole thing and give the win to their kids.

A few weeks later at the year-end academic award ceremony, I went on stage to get my Knowledge Bowl trophy and raised it high above my head. I talked smack to everyone who lost. Even more to those who didn't participate (one of which turned out to be our valedictorian). And I gladly spent my $25 gift certificate on music, not books.

Sadly enough, they never held another Knowledge Bowl. I would have like to seen my teammates Joel and Spencer go back and win a second one. But I guess that's what happens when you beat the system.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

You're welcome

Dear Pepsi,

According to this article on Wikipedia, Pepsi outsells Coke in my home state of North Dakota. I think we all know why. You're welcome.

Now gimme some damn Pepsi!!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Survival of the species

OK, when someone is being convinced to donate a kidney or lung, one of the arguments made to the potential donor is "You can live with one". And it's true. But if humans can only live with one kidney or lung, then why do we have two? Evolution. If we didn't need two kidneys, then we wouldn't have two kidneys. I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

OK, there's this new movie where Reese Witherspoon haunts this really cool apartment this guy moved into. And Napoleon Dynamite is in it too. Seems really silly. But it looks good. Like great date movie good.

If you're a professional athlete, is it OK to ask teammates or fellow athletes in your league for autographs? Or is this a taboo?

Is it just me, or are everyone's eyes uneven? Like one is slighty higher on the face than the other. I've been noticing that a lot lately. Well, on television...

They say "Don't wear white after Labor Day". Okay. When does it become acceptable to wear white again?

The range of human hearing is between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz, on average. So, let's say, hypothetically, the range was really 20 Hz and 20 million Hz. Would we be able to hear AM radio signals being broadcast at say, 850 KHz? In real time? Of course, we'd be able to hear everything below that, which would be a lot of noise, static, and other frequencies...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

One step closer

I didn't believe it when I saw it. But it's true. The U.S. Men's National Soccer Team is ranked #6 in the world. And they're just two points back of Mexico for 5th. A win against them in Columbus on Sept. 3rd would be enough to leap ahead of them, not to mention qualify them for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. For more info, read this.

I remember watching a TV report around the 1998 World Cup that US Soccer had set 2010 as the goal for winning the World Cup. I truly believe that this is a very attainable goal. Now, we're one step closer.

If the world can beat us at our own games, we can surely beat them at theirs. U. S. A.

If only

I would think that America would be smarter and better off if instead of having tabloids, celebrity gossip magazines like People and US Weekly, and the TV Guide at supermarket checkouts, we'd have more intelligent things, like Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report.

Riddle me this...

Would it be possible to track Superman via GPS? Assuming, of course, you could trick him into carrying it.

Liz Hurley is 40? No f'ing way.

Who's the idiot who keeps allowing Rob Schneider to make movies? Or the idiot who letting him appear in movies? How about the ones who keep going to his movies?

So, they made a Swiffer for carpets, huh? Why am I not surprised? Next up: a Swiffer for mowing the lawn.

Was that Julia Roberts in the new Dave Matthews Band video?

OK, you've seen Good Will Hunting, right? You notice how the professor's assistant gets all green-eyed when he takes Matt Damon under his wing? Please don't tell me that I'm the only one who saw that. Probably they didn't explore that angle further in the movie, it would have made things a bit complicated.

Also notice that this movie was about the point where Ben started going on the decline and Matt started rising?

Why is it so freakin' difficult to do anything in Linux? I mean, really. If you high-and-mighty anti-Microsoft open source lovers really want to ween us away from Lord Bill, you'd make your damn programs easier to install and configure. And consolidation wouldn't hurt you too much, either.

How could I forget to put Sarah Chalke from "Scrubs" on my list? What was I thinking?

Once I get inside your head, I'm not leaving. Or should that be the other way around...?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Moral dilemma

OK, so I'm returning a video game to the rental place. In the parking lot, there's this light gray Dodge Intrepid. It's for sale. Phone number is written on the window in soap or whatever. Well, the car is parked at the end of the row, but on the outside of the yellow lines. He's not in a designated space. And blocking the normal flow of traffic.

Now, I'm the kind of person who is fairly good at memorizing long strings of numbers...

So, would it be wrong to call this guy and say, "Hey, I saw your gray Dodge Intrepid in the Cash Wise parking lot. Learn what a parking space is, you moron!"?

Monday, August 8, 2005

So, lemme get this straight...

Michael Bay, is the director of that movie, "The Island". He's known for big budget blockbusters. Scarlett Johansson stars in said movie. "The Island" is rated PG-13 and contains a love scene. Bay wanted Johansson to wear a cheap black bra during the scene, but Johansson didn't want to wear it and preferred to do it topless. Bay didn't, since it would have bumped the movie's rating up to R. They fought over it, and Bay won. Scarlett wore the bra.

Now, I could understand if Bay didn't want people (men) going to his movie if they were only going to see Scarlett's big naked boobies. It must be an ego thing. And no one went to see "The Island". Better to have people come for the wrong reasons, then only make back like 10% at the box office on a film that cost $120 million.

Bay can still redeem himself. If they did film the love scene topless, but it wound up on the cutting room floor. Make a Director's Cut Special Edition DVD, put it in as a deleted scene. They can make back a little bit more of that cash. Just a thought...
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