CleverDonkey’s Final 2012 London Olympic Power Rankings

Posted on August 12th, 2012 in Engineerboy,Politics,Sports,Television by EngineerBoy

London Olympics 2012

2012-08-12 Final Sunday Update

This year we once again tracked Olympic Power Rankings for the 2012 Games in London.  For reference, the 2008 final rankings are located here. The purpose of this chart is to look beyond raw medal count – who cares if countries with hundreds of millions (or even billions) of people win a lot of medals?  They should win a lot of medals, right?  The big question is, which country is kicking ass, pound-for-pound?  The answer is in the table below.

This table creates a weighted medal score by giving every country three points for each gold medal, two points for each silver, and one point for each bronze.  The country’s Power Rating is calculated by determining how many weighted medal points each country wins per 10,000,000 in population.  And to factor in economics, the population only includes those living above the poverty level (according to CIA poverty estimates).  Also, to eliminate the impact of outliers, countries with excessively large populations are capped at 300,000,000 and countries with exceedingly small populations have a floor of 2,000,000 for the purposes of calculation.

Below is the Sunday update, reflecting the final standings.  Congratulations to Hungary for taking the title of the most powerful Olympic nation, pound for pound.  The rest of the top ten are rounded out by Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Cuba, Jamaica, Belarus, the United States, and the Czech Republic.

Well, that wraps up another Olympics, be sure to check back in four years because we will (probably) be tracking them again!

 

 

 

CleverDonkey’s 2012 Olympic Power Rankings
click column headers to sort up/down

Olympic Power Rank Country Old Power Rating New Power Ranking! Gold Silver Bronze Total Medals Weighted Medals Population (above poverty line)
1 HUN - Hungary 43.14 37.00 8 4 5 17 37 8,577,282
2 AUS - Australia 28.66 28.66 7 16 12 35 65 22,682,201
3 GBR - Great Britain 26.15 26.15 29 17 19 65 140 53,545,320
4 NZL - New Zealand 58.64 26.00 5 3 5 13 26 4,434,060
5 NED - Netherlands 25.37 25.37 6 6 8 20 38 14,978,787
6 CUB - Cuba 24.00 24.00 5 3 6 14 27 11,247,925
7 JAM - Jamaica 106.22 24.00 4 4 4 12 24 2,259,366
8 BLR - Belarus 34.81 24.00 3 5 5 13 24 6,895,247
9 USA - United States 8.44 22.50 46 29 29 104 225 266,579,208
10 CZE - Czech Republic 21.97 21.00 4 3 3 10 21 9,558,825
11 CHN - China 1.63 19.00 38 27 22 87 190 1,166,805,100
12 KAZ - Kazakhstan 18.23 18.23 7 1 5 13 28 15,361,812
13 DEN - Denmark 35.15 17.00 2 4 3 9 17 4,836,400
14 AZE - Azerbaijan 19.47 16.00 2 2 6 10 16 8,219,239
15 RUS - Russia 12.46 15.50 24 25 33 82 155 124,368,673
16 KOR - South Korea 15.01 15.01 13 8 7 28 62 41,293,000
17 SWE - Sweden 14.74 14.00 1 4 3 8 14 9,495,113
18 CRO - Croatia 36.95 13.00 3 1 2 6 13 3,518,302
19 UKR - Ukraine 12.49 12.49 6 5 9 20 37 29,632,961
20 GER - Germany 12.29 12.29 11 19 14 44 85 69,170,855
21 GEO - Georgia 29.55 12.00 1 3 3 7 12 4,061,333
22 ROU - Romania 11.98 11.98 2 5 2 9 18 15,024,877
23 FRA - France 10.93 10.93 11 11 12 34 67 61,298,300
24 SUI - Switzerland 13.51 10.00 2 2 0 4 10 7,403,871
25 LTU - Lithuania 32.68 10.00 2 1 2 5 10 3,060,192
26 NOR - Norway 17.91 9.00 2 1 1 4 9 5,025,600
27 ESP - Spain 8.91 8.91 3 10 4 17 33 37,040,929
28 KEN - Kenya 8.89 8.89 2 4 5 11 19 21,374,500
29 ITA - Italy 8.72 8.72 8 9 11 28 53 60,813,326
30 IRL - Ireland 18.45 8.00 1 1 3 5 8 4,335,898
31 CAN - Canada 7.91 7.91 1 5 12 18 25 31,591,858
32 SLO - Slovenia 38.79 7.00 1 1 2 4 7 1,804,673
33 SRB - Serbia 10.78 7.00 1 1 2 4 7 6,494,047
34 MGL - Mongolia 40.48 7.00 0 2 3 5 7 1,729,152
35 JPN - Japan 6.16 6.60 7 14 17 38 66 107,125,200
36 TRI - Trinidad and Tobago 54.86 6.00 1 0 3 4 6 1,093,703
37 TUN - Tunisia 5.84 5.84 1 1 1 3 6 10,268,196
38 PRK - North Korea 5.70 5.70 4 0 2 6 14 24,554,000
39 RSA - South Africa 5.54 5.54 3 2 1 6 14 25,293,379
40 POL - Poland 5.01 5.01 2 2 6 10 16 31,955,830
41 SVK - Slovakia 11.62 5.00 0 1 3 4 5 4,301,806
42 DOM - Dominican Republic 9.16 5.00 1 1 0 2 5 5,459,372
43 COL - Colombia 4.44 4.44 1 3 4 8 13 29,278,616
44 IRI - Iran 4.09 4.09 4 5 3 12 25 61,096,681
45 LAT - Latvia 19.32 4.00 1 0 1 2 4 2,070,371
46 ARM - Armenia 18.57 4.00 0 1 2 3 4 2,153,942
47 FIN - Finland 7.39 4.00 0 1 2 3 4 5,413,250
48 BEL - Belgium 4.31 4.00 0 1 2 3 4 9,286,674
49 GRN - Grenada 460.83 3.00 1 0 0 1 3 65,100
50 BAH - Bahamas 93.53 3.00 1 0 0 1 3 320,768
51 EST - Estonia 28.10 3.00 0 1 1 2 3 1,067,745
52 PUR - Puerto Rico 8.05 3.00 0 1 1 2 3 3,725,789
53 BUL - Bulgaria 5.21 3.00 0 1 1 2 3 5,759,094
54 BRA - Brazil 1.97 2.80 3 5 9 17 28 142,358,607
55 UZB - Uzbekistan 2.78 2.78 1 0 3 4 6 21,551,316
56 ARG - Argentina 2.49 2.49 1 1 2 4 7 28,081,967
57 ETH - Ethiopia 2.35 2.35 3 1 3 7 14 59,699,259
58 MNE - Montenegro 34.54 2.00 0 1 0 1 2 579,107
59 CYP - Cyprus 23.84 2.00 0 1 0 1 2 838,897
60 BOT - Botswana 14.08 2.00 0 1 0 1 2 1,420,645
61 GAB - Gabon 12.79 2.00 0 1 0 1 2 1,564,000
62 QAT - Qatar 11.77 2.00 0 0 2 2 2 1,699,435
63 MDA - Moldova 7.62 2.00 0 0 2 2 2 2,623,352
64 SIN - Singapore 3.94 2.00 0 0 2 2 2 5,076,700
65 GUA - Guatemala 2.95 2.00 0 1 0 1 2 6,768,331
66 GRE - Greece 2.32 2.00 0 0 2 2 2 8,630,152
67 POR - Portugal 2.31 2.00 0 1 0 1 2 8,660,523
68 TUR - Turkey 1.77 1.77 2 2 1 5 11 62,095,868
69 VEN - Venezuela 1.52 1.52 1 0 0 1 3 19,710,969
70 UGA - Uganda 1.40 1.40 1 0 0 1 3 21,410,870
71 MEX - Mexico 1.31 1.31 1 3 3 7 12 91,891,288
72 ROC - Republic of China (Taipei) 1.29 1.29 0 1 1 2 3 23,261,747
73 MAS - Malaysia 1.10 1.10 0 1 1 2 3 27,257,438
74 ALG - Algeria 1.05 1.05 1 0 0 1 3 28,567,000
75 BRN - Bahrain 8.10 1.00 0 0 1 1 1 1,234,571
76 KUW - Kuwait 2.79 1.00 0 0 1 1 1 3,582,054
77 TJK - Tajikistan 2.73 1.00 0 0 1 1 1 3,666,000
78 HKG - Hong Kong 1.41 1.00 0 0 1 1 1 7,103,700
79 THA - Thailand 0.83 0.83 0 2 1 3 5 60,175,617
80 IND - India 0.09 0.80 0 2 4 6 8 907,645,067
81 AFG - Afghanistan 0.61 0.61 0 0 1 1 1 16,320,064
82 EGY - Egypt 0.61 0.61 0 2 0 2 4 65,934,400
83 KSA - Saudi Arabia 0.37 0.37 0 0 1 1 1 27,136,977
84 MAR - Morocco 0.36 0.36 0 0 1 1 1 27,729,125
85 INA - Indonesia 0.15 0.30 0 1 1 2 3 205,963,737

How I went from loving to loathing TiVo…

Posted on August 28th, 2010 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Product Reviews,Technology,Television by EngineerBoy

I still *want* to love you, but you're losing me

Dear TiVo,

I read two articles recently that spurred me to write you this letter.  The first article described how at the end of July 2009 you had 3.05 million subscribers, but at the end of July 2010 you were down to 2.38 million.  Five years ago this would have surprised me, but not any more.

The second article was from your site, describing the spiffy new QWERTY TiVo remote with a sliding face and a full keyboard.  I was overjoyed by the news, as I’ve been waiting for a remote like this since I bought and activated my first TiVo back in 2002.  I read the article in great anticipation, wondering how pricey the remote would be.  Hm, $90.  Not unreachable, but seemingly a little steep, which would make it in keeping with everything else you sell.

But then I got to the last paragraph, where the last sentence read:

“The new remote will work with TiVo Premiere, Premiere XL, TiVo Series3, TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL boxes.”

No Series 1?  No Series 2 or Dual-Tuner?  Leaving us faithful early adopters behind again, are we?

Typical.  This is typical of everything I have come to expect from you over the years.  I still love TiVo-the-technical-solution, but with TiVo-the-company I have gone from love to like to not caring to being annoyed and, finally, to loathing, where I am today.

I now own and use 5 (count ‘em) TiVos, but they are all Series 2.  My disillusionment began in earnest when you released the Series3 boxes, and included things like YouTube browsing that were not made available to Series2 owners.  Now, you had a story for why this was so, which was something about Flash, I think, but I didn’t (and still don’t) buy it.  If you had wanted to make it work, you could have.   But, you chose to have those features and functions be differentiators to try and get Series2 owners to upgrade.

So close, and yet so far away

And it’s continued to be that way over the years, up through the latest insult of not letting us have the new remote (pictured at left).  You continue to add new and improved features and functions, very few of which are made available to your existing base of owners, unless they have the latest and greatest.  Now, I understand this from a business perspective, as I work in technology, so I know that it’s hard to keep the installed base happy.  It’s very easy to add new features and functions to totally new and redesigned devices, and your bean-counters are happy to see the R&D and other expenses that go into anything that will grab new customers and dollars.

I can visualize the meetings where you discussed the strategy of

An Open Letter to the Producers of American Idol

Posted on May 21st, 2009 in American Idol,Commentary,Television by EngineerBoy

Dear American Idol Producers,

American Idol...Reborn?

American Idol...Reborn?

Sigh.  Another season has ended, albeit with a surprise ending (Kris Allen defeating Adam Lambert), but the finale wasn’t watched in my household.  Again.  We didn’t watch last year, either.  And although we watched most of the episodes this season, we still watched many fewer than last season.

Over the years there have been several consistent issues we have with the show which continue to drain our enthusiasm.  If you care to know them, here they are:

Issue #1: Obvious no-talents singing before the judges during tryouts
I can see you all huddled in your planning meetings, hoping to strike some more William Hung-like ratings gold by putting through idiots, freaks, sad losers, and people whose singing talent is measured in the negative range.  However, that schtick is old and played out and should be retired.  As the judges are so fond of saying, and what keeps me watching, is that this is a singing competition.  Having your screeners put through some croaking clown to sing before the judges is a ludicrous and transparent ploy, please stop it.

Issue #2: The endless, manufactured backstories
During tryouts, you pick supposedly interesting/appealing contestants and provide us with behind-the-scenes looks at their lives, toils, challenges, and troubles.  However, at this early stage these are anonymous singers, so the program would be much more interesting and lively, in our opinion, if you would simply stage the singing competition.  Now, when you get to Hollywood and start paring down the contestants to an identifiable bunch, we might like to learn a *little* something about them…but just a little.  The endless biographing and attempts to manufacture pathos and drama are irksome.

Issue #3: Kara DioGuardi
Who?  Why?  The best way to describe her is to paraphrase Shakespeare thusly:  “Kara is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets her hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.  Her’s is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  Kara did not have one moment that we saw this season that wasn’t useless, irritating, or both, or somewhere in between.  And don’t get us started on her “song”, which is addressed further down in this article.

Issue #4: Country week
Do you have to kowtow to that demographic?  Have you even stopped to consider how many viewers it drives away (like us) compared to how many it attracts for that one, single episode?  Country music is not what American Idol is about, period, so don’t try to put a pig behind the lipstick – it insults the fans of both kinds of music.

Issue #5: Golden Idol awards
Really?  Just shorten the damn show by 15 minutes.  Please?  Even 15 minutes of dead air would be preferable.

Issue #6: An even number of judges
This puts too much power in the hands of Lord Cowell.  Have three judges…or five

Burn Notice (***½)

Posted on March 4th, 2009 in Commentary,Television by EngineerBoy

Burned, Baby, Burned

We discovered Burn Notice a couple of weeks ago and really fell in love with it, and have now watched all episodes from Season 1 and Season 2.  There are very few prime-time shows that we watch with any regularity – and even those few have fallen by the wayside as we’ve been watching nothing but Burn Notice whenever we get a chance.

The main character is Michael Westen (played by Jeffrey Donovan), and when the series starts he’s a spy in the employ of the US government, but in the middle of a treacherous deal they basically cut him off and leave him out in the cold – someone put out a “burn notice” on him, meaning cut all ties, shred all records, freeze all accounts, and just let him go.

Burn notices are usually only put out on people who have either screwed up royally or who have been found to be untrustworthy.  Michael is neither and so starts a quest to find out who put out a trumped-up burn notice on him and why.  He has to take odd-jobs as a problem-solver in order to make ends meet, and he has the help of his ex-girlfriend, Fiona (played by Gabrielle Anwar), and by a buddy who is a “retired” FBI agent (played by the man, the myth, the legend – Mr. Bruce Campbell).

Michael also has to deal with his mother (played by Sharon Gless, who you may remember as Cagney from Cagney & Lacy) and his dysfunctional family relationships.  The series does a nice job of weaving Michael’s personal drama and professional challenges into cohesive stories.

The series also does a good job of not dumbing down the storylines, and not taking the easy way out when it comes to dealing with technology, weapons, combat, and spy tactics.  It’s not “realistic” or it wouldn’t be engaging television, but it’s not as insulting, dismissive, and/or lazy as some other shows of this type that we’ve seen.

The dialog is sharply written and witty, the production values are slick and high-gloss, the acting is great all-around, and Bruce Campbell is in the role he was born to play – a retired, boozy, tanned, aging lothario who still has the moves and connections, but wants to do nothing more than sit in the sun drinking mojitos (that somebody else buys).

We heard about this series when it premiered last year, but the fact that it was on the USA Network made us suspicious.  Well, we were wrong.  The series is great and we love it.  Our only problem is now we want to vacation in Miami…not necessarily the real Miami, but the version of Miami that Michael is trapped in.

And we also crave yogurt.

CleverDonkey’s Final 2008 Beijing Olympic Power Rankings

Posted on August 24th, 2008 in Commentary,Politics,Sports,Television by EngineerBoy

To see the Power Rankings for the 2012 Games, click here!

Forget medal count – who cares if countries with hundreds of millions (or even billions) of people win a lot of medals?  They should win a lot of medals, right?  The big question is, which country is kicking ass in their weight class?  The answer is in the table below.

This table creates a weighted medal score by giving each country three points for each gold medal, two points for each silver, and one point for each bronze.  The country’s Power Rating is calculated by determining how many weighted medal points each country wins per 10,000,000 in population.  And to factor in economics, the population only includes those living above the poverty level (according to CIA poverty estimates).

As of this final update (Sunday, 8/24/2008, 10:00am CDT), the Jamaicans have maintained their position and taken first place in the Power Rankings – all fruits ripe, mon!  The Bahamians held on for second place, and Iceland snuck into third place in the last day of competition.  Mongolia and Slovenia rounded out the top five.

Congratulations to all, and we’ll see you again in four years!

To see the Power Rankings for the 2012 Games, click here!

CleverDonkey’s Final 2008 Olympic Power Rankings
click column headers to sort up/down

Olympic Power Rank Country Power Rating (Weighted Medals per 10 Million Pop.) Gold Silver Bronze Total Medals Weighted Medals (G*3 + S*2 + B*1) Population (above poverty line)
1 JAM - Jamaica 112.44 6 3 2 11 26 2,312,328
2 BAH - Bahamas 99.93 0 1 1 2 3 300,217
3 ISL - Iceland 63.24 0 1 0 1 2 316,252
4 MGL - Mongolia 59.53 2 2 0 4 10 1,679,931
5 SLO - Slovenia 50.93 1 2 2 5 9 1,767,259
6 BLR - Belarus 45.30 4 5 10 19 32 7,064,010
7 NOR - Norway 43.96 3 5 2 10 21 4,777,000
8 AUS - Australia 41.61 14 15 17 46 89 21,388,000
9 GEO - Georgia 39.57 3 0 3 6 12 3,032,550
10 BRN - Bahrain 39.47 1 0 0 1 3 760,000
11 EST - Estonia 39.26 1 1 0 2 5 1,273,570
12 NZL - New Zealand 37.43 3 1 5 9 16 4,274,400
13 CUB - Cuba 34.61 2 11 11 24 39 11,268,000
14 SVK - Slovakia 32.81 3 2 1 6 14 4,267,580
15 TRI - Trinidad/Tobago 30.01 0 2 0 2 4 1,333,000
16 ARM - Armenia 27.19 0 0 6 6 6 2,206,470
17 LAT - Latvia 26.46 1 1 1 3 6 2,268,000
18 NED - Netherlands 23.78 7 5 4 16 35 14,717,380
19 DEN - Denmark 23.68 2 2 3 7 13 5,489,000
20 HUN - Hungary 22.88 3 5 2 10 21 9,179,302
21 LTU - Lithuania 21.69 0 2 3 5 7 3,226,560
22 ZIM - Zimbabwe 21.07 1 3 0 4 9 4,271,680
23 GBR - Great Britain 18.81 19 13 15 47 98 52,104,820
24 CRO - Croatia 17.27 0 2 3 5 7 4,053,950
25 AZE - Azerbaijan 17.09 1 2 4 7 11 6,434,920
26 KOR - Korea 16.35 13 10 8 31 67 40,990,400
27 UKR - Ukraine 16.03 7 5 15 27 46 28,694,757
28 KAZ - Kazakhstan 15.80 2 4 7 13 21 13,293,764
29 KEN - Kenya 15.43 5 5 4 14 29 18,789,000
30 CZE - Czech Republic 14.42 3 3 0 6 15 10,403,000
31 PAN - Panama 14.24 1 0 0 1 3 2,106,090
32 FIN - Finland 13.17 1 1 2 4 7 5,317,000
33 SUI - Switzerland 13.09 2 0 4 6 10 7,637,000
34 BUL - Bulgaria 12.19 1 1 3 5 8 6,562,760
35 RUS - Russian Fed. 11.63 23 21 28 72 139 119,469,696
36 FRA - France 11.57 7 16 17 40 70 60,475,674
37 GER - Germany 11.34 16 10 15 41 83 73,173,130
38 TJK - Tajikistan 11.13 0 1 1 2 3 2,694,400
40 CAN - Canada 11.09 3 9 6 18 33 29,747,397
41 ROU - Romania 10.57 4 1 3 8 17 16,078,500
42 ESP - Spain 10.29 5 10 3 18 38 36,942,526
43 SWE - Sweden 9.77 0 4 1 5 9 9,215,000
44 IRL - Ireland 9.73 0 1 2 3 4 4,112,460
45 KGZ - Kyrgyzstan 9.40 0 1 1 2 3 3,190,200
46 ITA - Italy 9.06 8 10 10 28 54 59,619,000
47 DOM - Dominican Rep. 8.86 1 1 0 2 5 5,641,280
48 MRI - Mauritius 8.61 0 0 1 1 1 1,161,040
49 USA - United States 8.20 36 38 36 110 220 268,275,040
50 POL - Poland 6.95 3 6 1 10 22 31,636,253
51 BEL - Belgium 5.53 1 1 0 2 5 9,035,440
52 UZB - Uzbekistan 5.45 1 2 3 6 10 18,339,240
53 GRE - Greece 5.38 0 2 2 4 6 11,147,000
54 AUT - Austria 5.10 0 1 2 3 4 7,847,940
55 POR - Portugal 4.71 1 1 0 2 5 10,623,000
56 PRK - DPR Korea 4.62 2 1 3 6 11 23,790,000
57 SIN - Singapore 4.36 0 1 0 1 2 4,588,600
58 SRB - Serbia 4.34 0 1 2 3 4 9,217,230
59 JPN - Japan 3.84 9 6 10 25 49 127,690,000
60 MDA - Rep. of Moldova 3.74 0 0 1 1 1 2,674,770
61 ETH - Ethiopia 3.29 4 1 2 7 16 48,562,473
62 ARG - Argentina 3.24 2 0 4 6 10 30,870,566
63 TUN - Tunisia 3.14 1 0 0 1 3 9,562,802
64 CMR - Cameroon 3.11 1 0 0 1 3 9,645,480
65 TUR - Turkey 2.48 1 4 3 8 14 56,468,800
66 ECU - Ecuador 2.43 0 1 0 1 2 8,231,397
67 TOG - Togo 2.23 0 0 1 1 1 4,477,800
69 BRA - Brazil 1.99 3 4 8 15 25 125,598,870
70 CHN - China 1.83 51 21 28 100 223 1,219,466,440
71 THA - Thailand 1.76 2 2 0 4 10 56,734,200
72 TPE - Chinese Taipei 1.76 0 0 4 4 4 22,771,595
73 ISR - Israel 1.75 0 0 1 1 1 5,725,552
74 CHI - Chile 1.46 0 1 0 1 2 13,712,518
75 COL - Colombia 1.33 0 1 1 2 3 22,612,604
76 ALG - Algeria 1.18 0 1 1 2 3 25,393,500
77 MAR - Morocco 1.13 0 1 1 2 3 26,540,400
78 NGR - Nigeria 1.13 0 1 3 4 5 44,427,900
79 SUD - Sudan 0.86 0 1 0 1 2 23,136,000
80 RSA - South Africa 0.84 0 1 0 1 2 23,925,000
81 AFG - Afghanistan 0.78 0 0 1 1 1 12,758,150
82 MAS - Malaysia 0.78 0 1 0 1 2 25,784,330
83 MEX - Mexico 0.76 2 0 1 3 7 91,959,884
84 IRI - Iran 0.69 1 0 1 2 4 57,805,900
85 VEN - Venezuela 0.58 0 0 1 1 1 17,358,813
86 INA - Indonesia 0.42 1 1 3 5 8 191,219,394
87 VIE - Vietnam 0.27 0 1 0 1 2 74,487,188
88 EGY - Egypt 0.17 0 0 1 1 1 60,036,800
89 IND - India 0.06 1 0 2 3 5 852,498,750

Don’t forget to come back in four years - we’ll be tracking the medal races again!!

Late Show with David Letterman Introductions

Posted on July 25th, 2008 in Television by The Donkeys

Here you will find a very sporadic catalog of announcer Alan Kalter’s non-sensical and hilarious David Letterman intros:

Friday, 7/25/2008: And now… gateway to the Rockies… David Letterman!

Thursday, 7/24/2008: And now… creepy lighthouse keeper… David Letterman!

Wednesday, 7/23/2008: And now… crime-fighting barber… David Letterman!

Tuesday, 7/22/2008: And now… troubled X-ray technician… David Letterman!

Monday, 7/21/2008: And now… amiable drifter… David Letterman!

Friday, 7/18/2008: And now… broadcasting from the snow-topped peak of Kilimanjaro… David Letterman!

Thursday, 7/17/2008: And now… a guy we knew would never amount to anything… David Letterman!

Wednesday, 7/16/2008: And now… the number one name in pet food… David Letterman!

Tuesday, 7/15/2008: And now… satisfied DeLorean owner… David Letterman!

Monday, 7/14/2008: And now… a man who’s asking for your vote for county coroner… David Letterman!

Wednesday, 9/26/2007: And now… a man who answers to the name “Lucky”… David Letterman!

Tuesday, 9/25/2007: And now… muscular, scarred foundry worker… David Letterman!

Monday, 9/24/2007: And now… Marcel Marceu’s protege… David Letterman!

Friday, 9/14/2007: And now… New York’s crime-busting governor… David Letterman!

Thursday, 9/13/2007: And now… a man produced in a facility that processes nuts… David Letterman!

Wednesday, 9/12/2007: And now… elderly scam victim… David Letterman!

Tuesday, 9/11/2007: And now… a man who wants to withdraw his guilty plea… David Letterman!

Monday, 9/10/2007: And now… the latest must-have device from Apple… David Letterman!

Friday, 9/7/2007: And now… a man who left $12 million to his kittie… David Letterman!

Thursday, 9/6/2007: And now… the man who’s patrolled the sidelines in Happy Valley for 42 years… David Letterman!

Wednesday, 9/5/2007: And now… interim Idaho senator… David Letterman!

Tuesday, 9/4/2007: And now… a man whose presidential campaign has raised over 85 million dollars… David Letterman

Thursday, 8/31/2007: And now… pinch-hitting for John Smoltz… David Letterman!

Thursday, 8/30/2007: And now… disgraced Idaho senator… David Letterman!

Thursday, 8/23/2007: And now… pitching coach for the Baltimore Orioles… David Letterman!

Friday, 3/3/2006: And now… mutated virus strain… David Letterman!

Thursday, 3/2/2006: And now… shown with optional touring package… David Letterman!

Wednesday, 3/1/2006: And now… the human equivalent of a dry persistent cough… David Letterman!

Friday, 2/24/2006: And now… Canadian Backyard Wrestling Spokesman… David Letterman!

Thursday, 8/4/2005: And now… the tri-state area’s favorite corpulent sportscaster… David Letterman!

Wednesday, 8/3/2005: And now… disoriented vaudevillian relic… David Letterman!

Friday, 7/29/2005: And now… good hygeine advocate… David Letterman!

Thursday, 6/30/2005: And now… author of the landmark book ‘Dianetics’… David Letterman!

Wednesday, 6/29/2005: And now… the perky blonde who’s the talk of women’s tennis… David Letterman!

Tuesday, 6/28/2005: And now… Japan’s number one television personality… David Letterman!

Monday, 6/27/2005: And now… price-fixing petroleum titan… David Letterman!

Friday, 6/24/2005: And now… vegetable rights activist… David Letterman!

Thursday, 6/23/2005: And now… lobbyist for Big Sugar… David Letterman!

Wednesday, 6/22/2005: And now… unlicensed daycare provider… David Letterman!

Tuesday, 6/21/2005: And now… leading economic indicator… David Letterman!

Monday, 6/20/2005: And now… a man with 6 megapixels… David Letterman!

Review of the Westinghouse 47″ LCD HDTV (TX-47F430S)

Posted on July 9th, 2008 in Product Reviews,Technology,Television by EngineerBoy

Westinghouse TX-47F430SJust over a year ago we purchased a Westinghouse 47″ LCD HDTV (Model TX-47F430S) from Best Buy.  This model is priced at the cheaper end of the spectrum, but it seemed to fit our requirements (reasonably good picture, reasonably cheap, from a trustworthy brand name).

The bottom line is that we love the picture and the features, but some of the fit, finish, and quality are lacking.  We expected this because of the lower price, and are happy (so far) with the price-performance compromise.

The Good
First, the good things.  The picture quality is excellent and sharp, and the highest resolution is 1080p, which is the highest HDTV standard resolution.  I’ve heard rumors that Westinghouse has changed to a different LCD panel for this same model number for the new sets being produced, and that the new panel isn’t quite as bright and sharp, but don’t know that for certain.

The connections are also great.  There are four HDMI connectors for HD content.  There is a PC monitor port which allows you to drive it has a super-high-resolution PC/server monitor, and also takes the sound output from the PC as well (great for PC gaming).  It has composite and component/S-video inputs as well.  You can get more technical specifications here.

We have several things hooked up to our TV, as follows:
Regular definition cable TV via TiVo: We get regular cable TV programming through a cable box, which feeds our dual-tuner TiVo, which feeds into one of the component inputs of the TV.  Movies that are broadcast in widescreen can be expanded to fill the entire screen and look really good (but not as good as true HDTV, of course).

HDTV via DirectTV: We also have DirectTV in order to get the NFL and other (selected) sports in HD.  DirectTV only goes up to 1080i, which is interlaced and not quite 1080p, but is still super sharp looking.

Computer: We have a computer hooked up which we can use with a wireless keyboard/trackball, allowing us to display anything PC-based on our television in very sharp resolution.

Wii Console: The Wii console is connected via the component interface and looks good, but not great.  This is a function of the Wii, however, not the television, as the Wii doesn’t support any native high-resolution formats nor HDTV, so it looks a little pixellated when scaled up on our 47″ TV, but still fun and playable.
Overall, the good is really good on this television.  But unfortunately it’s not all good…

The Not-So-Good
There have also been some annoyances with this set, as follows:

The Closed-Captioning simply does not work.  It gets a few of the words/text, but it’s very jumpy and misses random parts and just doesn’t work.  We rarely used captions, but sometimes it’s nice to have the news on with the sound down and the captions up, so that you can still read what’s going on without the noise intrustion, or when watching a quiet movie that you don’t

The New England Patriots Lose!!!! The Cheating Pats Lose to the New York Giants!!!

Posted on February 3rd, 2008 in Sports,Television by EngineerBoy

Go cry emo coach, Bill Belichick cheater loser Patriots lose to GiantsI haven't been this happy about the outcome of a football game in a long time.  The cheating New England Patriots *LOST* to the Giants in the Super Bowl.  They did *not* achieve their undefeated season.  They did *not* join the 1972 Miami Dolphins in perfection.  They lost, like all cheaters eventually do.

Belichick didn't even have enough class to stay on the field to see Eli Manning take the final knee.  This from the coach who ruthlessly ran up the score unnecessarily against opponent after opponent.  From the coach who cheated his way to victory, including rumors of filming the Rams walk-through before the 2002 Super Bowl, which the Pats "won" in an upset.  But could he stand there like a man and take the loss when it was him on the losing end?  No, he slunk off like a pouting teenager to go cry in his room.  Go cry, emo coach.  Classless to the bitter end.

And frankly, as that last second remained on the clock, as confusion reigned on the field, and as Belichick slunk off, my one thought was that he was trying to somehow create a technical issue with the end of the game so that he could file some kind of complaint with the NFL about the outcome.  Given his actions in the past that type of conniving seemed to fit his style.  But the refs cleared the field, got the Pats players to come back out and officially ended the game normally.  Ha!

Now it's time for the federal government to bring the hammer down on these cheaters.  For those who question why the US government is involved, the answer is that the NFL has been granted a special exemption from anti-trust laws and are allowed to operate as a virtual monopoly.  As such, the government reserves the right to ensure that the NFL is presenting pure, untainted sporting events.

So the NFL needs to break the back of these losers, including (in my opinion) a lifetime ban for Belichick and the GM.  They have tainted the sport with their flagrant, blatant, indefensible cheating.  And if the NFL doesn't act then Congress needs to step in and do the right thing.

Oh, and congratulations Giants on the great, great win.  Eli Manning enters legendary status with that final drive, and his scramble on the long pass to David Tyree was nothing short of miraculous.  And then the top-of-the-head catch by David Tyree was almost unbelievable even though I watched it with my own eyes.  He *wanted* that ball and went up and got it.

And in so doing drove a stake through the heart of the bloodsucking, evil-doing Patriots.  And, at least for today, all is right in the world of sports.

 

What Does Kenny Say!?!??

Posted on January 1st, 2008 in Celebrities,Television by EngineerBoy

One of the enduring mysteries of the series “South Park” are the muffled lyrics sung by Kenny in the opening theme song. For those unfamiliar, Kenny is a young boy character on the animated show who constantly wears an orange parka that is cinched tightly across his face so that it muffles his voice. The lyrics he sings at the end of the theme song are almost completely unintelligible (and also change every couple of seasons – even if the words are difficult/impossible to make out, you can tell that what he’s saying changes every couple of seasons).

In the Wikipedia entry for the series it is claimed that a FAQ on the South Park Studios site revealed the lyrics, but that FAQ is no longer (or never was??) online. That leaves the lyrics in doubt, from my perspective.

Now to the revelation. I regularly fall asleep watching television wearing headphones (so as not to disturb Mynagirl). We also have a TiVo in the bedroom, which means that through the course of the night it will switch channels to record the things with which we’ve tasked it. One of those things is our Season Pass for South Park, which airs at all hours of the night.

So the other night I fell asleep with the TV playing and my headphones on, and the audio from a South Park episode crossed the ear/sleep barrier and invaded my dreams. In my dream I could understand the line sung by the muffled Kenny in the South Park theme song. This realization was so profound that it woke me up, with the newly understood lyrics clinging to my consciousness. I quickly rewound the TiVo to the opening theme and re-listened to it, and I’ll be damned if I haven’t figured it out, at least for the season in question (Season 2).

The episode in question was Gnomes from 1998. And the specific words that Kenny sings in the opening credits are:

“Alligators eat potatoes, alligators eat potatoes…”

Above is the video/audio evidence for your perusal – Kenny says the line starting about 24 seconds in (right near the end, click the play arrow in the lower-left corner of the video window to play).

The Wikipedia entry claims that the lyrics are “I love girls with big fat titties, I love girls with deep vaginas.” Those are certainly South Park-ian lyrics, but my take is that what was actually sung was the nonsensical and poetic “Alligators eat potatoes” and that the more scatalogical decode was released later as disinformation by the South Park producers to build the mystique of the show.

Play the video, give a listen and decide for yourself. Enjoy!

John from Cincinnati (***½)

Posted on June 1st, 2007 in Television by EngineerBoy

So we watched the premiere episode of John from Cincinnati last week on HBO, and watched the second episode tonight via TiVo, and we’re hooked, at least for now. We’ve been here before with shows that caught our initial interest but then took a wrong turn, but we have our fingers crossed that JfC will continue to deliver.

The show is centered around three generations of a surfer family in Southern California. The father is Mitch Yost (Bruce Greenwood), a weathered, older, legendary surfer whose career was cut short early by a bad knee, and now he only surfs alone at dawn. He drifts between noble and bitter, and he also has a tendency to levitate six inches off the ground. His son is Butchie Yost (Brian Van Holt), a late-20′s/early-30′s drug addict who was also on his way to surfing legend-dom when his career was cut short early by a bad need (drugs). Butchie is the father of Shaun Yost (Greyson Fletcher), who is a teen surfing prodigy in his own right.

Mitch is married to Cissy Yost (Rebecca De Mornay) who basically runs the family surf shop business. Their next door neighbor is a slightly dementiated retired cop played by Ed O’Neill. There are also other secondary characters played by familiar faces Luiz Guzman, Willie Garson, and Luke Perry.

The titular character is John (Austin Nichols), who appears to be…well…an alien? A robot? An extreme performance artist? A god? A prophet? A genie? A magical, cheerily autistic tabula rasa? Uh…hm. I guess what I’m trying to say is that John is a bit hard to decipher, but he moves through the lives of the other characters in inscrutable and mysterious ways.

The early focus of the show seems to be the fate of Shaun. Will he follow in his father’s drug-addled footsteps? Will he chase the same dreams as his grandfather and have his fate dependent on the continued integrity of his body? Will somebody just let the poor boy surf?

And what about John? He is the titular character, after all. He seems to have strange powers – for example, his pockets have a tendency to produce what those around him ask for. He also seems focused on two concepts – first, that “the end is near”, and second, that Mitch Yost should “get back in the game”.

Bottom line is that the show is interesting and different. It’s like a cross between Twin Peaks and Endless Summer and we hope the show stays on its current course and continues to deliver.

I’ve got my eye on you! No, I’ve got my eye on you!!!

Next Page »