Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Choose Your Own A-Rodventure: The Saga of Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez is about to have himself quite an offseason. Preempting the World Series wasn't enough; now A-Rod will embark on the quest known as free agency. What will he choose? If you were him, what would you choose?

With a nod to the classic "Choose Your Own Adventure" series, we at the MLB FanHouse decided to offer you those choices. Dive in, and see what you'd do if you lived inside No. 13's skull. The choices are almost endless ...

You have just awoken from a terrible dream. You look around. It's impossible to see anything in the dark beyond the eerie glow of the your wall-mounted HDTV.

You slowly realize you are watching the eighth inning of the World Series, the latest in which you have not participated. Ken Rosenthal is on the screen, and his words send a chill up your spine.

"Alex Rodriguez has decided to opt out of his contract, Scott Boras has informed the media tonight ...Boras cited uncertainty within the Yankees organization as Rodriguez's reasons ..."

So ... it is done.

You could listen to the reaction, but you know what everyone will say. Instead, you flip the TV off and head downstairs to your sparkling in-home gym. Better start working out now, you think. Lots of people to disprove. There always are.

Because you are Alex Rodriguez. And you have some choices to make.

You've now opted out of the remaining three years on your contract, three years that would have netted you about $90 million. You are a free agent with limitless earning potential.

You can:

1. Decide to call the Steinbrenners and apologize for the opt-out while offering to negotiate a deal that brings you back to New York at a higher price than your contract, but a lower price than the market's. This, you think, would be a really nice thing to do, and would help get you back in New York's -- and baseball's -- good graces.

or ...

2. You can test free agency. Scott tells you that lots of teams are interested, including the Angels, Dodgers, Cubs, Tigers ... heck, maybe even the Red Sox! Plus, you've been through the ringer in pinstripes. You've seen that nothing -- short of a World Series -- will endear you to fans, and the organization really doesn't seem to care for you too much either. If you choose free agency, really choose it, you may be able to say goodbye to New York forever.

Read on to choose your own adventure. Via.

And don't miss the previously-blogged Barry Bonds/Myst clickthrough adventure.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Video: Erin Gray vamps it up as a space vampire on Buck Rogers


*Buy Buck Rogers toys at eBay.

Shannen Rossmiller befriends and betrays online jihadists -- while she gets her kids ready for school

Shannen Rossmiller grew up on a Montana wheat farm. She is blond and slim: When she was a cheerleader in high school, she typically wound up at the top of the human pyramid. Her husband runs a wireless Internet company, and they have three children. After college, she was appointed a local judge in a small Montana town, where she and her family still live and which she'd rather not identify. Although she's happy to talk about what she does, she fears for her safety: She has received phone threats, and her car got shot up once, an incident she attributes directly to her counterterrorism work.

Now 38, Rossmiller spends her weekdays in Helena working in the civil litigation department of the attorney general's office. She gets up at 4 am and does her hunting predawn. On the weekends, she tracks down killers while relaxing in the bosom of her family. Some days she's at the computer when her kids — two young daughters and a son who graduated from high school earlier this year — wake up. "I'll say, ‘You get your own breakfast; there's a Jimmy Dean sausage in the kitchen.' Meanwhile, back in Kurachi... "


Rossmiller developed her remarkable talent for chatting up terrorists after September 11, when she started going into online forums and cajoling valuable information from other visitors. She has passed along numerous case files to federal authorities. Her information has led US forces abroad to locate Taliban cells in Afghanistan, discover a renegade stinger-missile merchant in Pakistan, and help another foreign government identify a ring of potential suicide bombers. She has also assisted in nabbing two domestic would-be terrorists and seen them both convicted of felonies: National guardsman Ryan Anderson received five concurrent life sentences, and Michael Reynolds, convicted in July and awaiting sentencing, faces a similar fate. Timothy Fuhrman, special agent in charge of the FBI's Salt Lake City office, says Rossmiller was "instrumental in the successful outcome of those cases."

Read the whole thing here.

Book: I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World

This book by Trevor Paglen sounds great:

Shown here for the first time, these seventy-five patches reveal a secret world of military imagery and jargon, where classified projects are known by peculiar names ("Goat Suckers," "None of Your Fucking Business," "Tastes Like Chicken") and illustrated with occult symbols and ridiculous cartoons. Although the actual projects represented here (such as the notorious Area 51) are classified, these patches-which are worn by military units working on classified missions-are precisely photographed, strangely hinting at a world about which little is known.

By submitting hundreds of Freedom of Information requests, the author has also assembled an extensive and readable guide to the patches included here, making this volume the best available survey of the military's black world-a $27 billion industry that has quietly grown by almost 50 percent since 9/11.

I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagons Black World

Here are a few of the patches in the book. The Pentagon's "Black World" seems dominated by Dungeons and Dragons and X-Files fans:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Who knew, "scapegoat" is shortened from the original "escape goat"


Azazel is the word translated as "scapegoat" in the King James Version of the Bible (Leviticus chapter 16). In 1611 King James' translators borrowed the word scapegoat from William Tyndale's translation from around 1530. Tyndale had translated azazel (the name of the cliff the goat was pushed over, or more likely the demon it was sent out to in the desert) as ez ozel - literally, "the goat that departs"; hence "the goat that escapes," or, for short, "(e)scape goat." Since this goat, with the sins of the people placed on it, is then sent over a cliff or driven into the wilderness to perish[1], the word "scapegoat" has come to mean a person, often innocent, who is blamed and punished for the sins, crimes or sufferings of others.

Although, The Urban Dictionary defines "Escape Goat" as, "A slang used by idiots who do not realize the term is scapegoat"

Via PFT.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Help pick the cover of PRINT's 44th Annual Student Cover Competition

I liked this one by Brandon Maddox. You can see all the entries here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Japanese War Tubas

This remarkable picture may have been reproduced before, but I make no apology for showing it here. The impressive array of Japanese war-tubas belong to at least two acoustic locators mounted on 4-wheel carriages. It is a little difficult to work exactly what is connected to what, not least because the background appears to have been erased by some unsubtle retouching, but I think that the format is the same as the British model; there are two horns in a horizontal plane, and on one side of the mounting there are two more in a vertical plane.

To the right, one of the figures is the Japanese emperor Horohito. Behind him are the AA guns intended to be used in conjunction with the locators. The only Japanese gun that I have found documented as being used with a sound locator is the Type 88 dual-purpose AA/coast-defence 75mm; there is not enough visible detail to verify that these are the guns shown in the picture, but they look about the right size.

See more acoustic locators from ww1 and ww2 here. Via Ectomo, from whom I stole the excellent headline.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Democratic staffers advised aides to get vaccinated for hepatitis and other diseases before visiting NASCAR events

"Democrats should know that there is no preventive measure yet designed to ward off the blue-collar values and patriotism that NASCAR fans represent," said Linda Daves, the chairwoman of the North Carolina Republican Party. "If they aren't careful, they just might catch some of it."

Link. Via Jalopnik.

Video: WW2/Star Wars Mash-Up

Via Cynical-C.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Vatican to admit it wrongfully burned the Knights Templar at the stake 700 years ago

They're selling the very fancy apology as a limited edition. $8,333, apiece. Link.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Weird: Law firm sends recruits bonsai trees as an enticement

Presumably as a reminder that with enough effort the law can be manipulated to say anything you want. Link.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Nickelodeon requires its young actors to attend prehab

Disney does not. Guess which channel's stars keep creating scandals. Link.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Dark Horse Comic Book Solicitations For January 2008

Here's two standouts:



See the rest of the January solicitations here.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wednesday, October 3, 2007