Sledding in Switzerland

Posted on March 27, 2015

In which Heath survives another descent from a mountain.

Where I grew up is an 8a as far as the USDA hardiness zones are concerned. Meaning that it doesn’t snow every winter. But what I liked about this is that when it did snow, it was very very special. If it snowed like a foot and it stayed cold, you could expect to stay home from school for a solid week. During which time you could go sledding.

Where I grew up is also extremely flat, more or less a glorified sand bar, and the only place to go sledding was a hill that afforded maybe three seconds of ecstasy before you had to trudge back up, wheeze while keeping your sister from staking a claim on the sled, and then doing it again.

Sometimes I was lucky enough to visit my cousins in Minnesota where I got to go down a hill that I remember telling someone was ‘at least a half a kilometer long’.

I loved sledding and after seeing the Winter Olympics, I really wished that one day I could go on a sled run on a bobsled. Or at least steer and weave and throw my weight around.

Well luckily I moved to Switzerland, where the mountains have sledding runs carved into them. You can steer some sleds by nudging the runners with your feet, or you can drill your heels into the snow, and try to shift your weight so you can go skidding around a corner, like in Mario Kart.

To top it all off, you get hauled to the top in a ski lift! It’s heavenly!

Mrs. Heathgordon.com and I went on one run near Gstaad that took nearly three hours. In the middle of this run there was a hand-hewn hut where we stopped, sticking our sleds into the snow. It was owned by an ancient man who had won several shooting awards in his youth and had several plaques honoring his long-associating with a Hornnussen league. We both ordered mountain coffees which were made of a generous serving of homemade herbal liquor topped off with a dash of coffee and some whipped cream, a substance which made my steering just that much more effective.

A couple weeks ago some of my classmates and I went on a sledding trip together. It wasn’t a very long run, in Swiss terms, but it had some really interesting features. The first leg of it was an absolute straight shot, meaning you could lean back, make some minor adjustments every once and a while, and just whip down the hill.

Then there were the usual twists and turns. The town where it ended had no cars, and the final stretch kind of crept along next to the road, meaning I got to burn past some horse-drawn carriages and golf carts fitted with snow chains. Not the most exciting run in the world, but in this case, what made it something special was the changeable Swiss weather.

The weather was hovering about a degree or so around freezing when we got there. And during the first run, I was pelted by frozen rain. Luckily I had brought sunglasses so I looked like a real cool guy going down the hill who could also see where he was going. The precipitation just pelted off of my jacket.

If I know I’m going to be doing a certain run several times, I go through it the first time kind of slow, really getting to know the curves. Sledding is actually pretty dangerous. Veronica’s cousin is a nurse near what is advertised as ‘the safest run in Switzerland.’ It’s not and she treats a significant number of people who just slam into walls and crack their legs open. I personally know two people who have torn their ACLs sledding.

The second run started off with the same frozen rain, but then somewhere around halfway down the straightaway, turned into actual rain. It wasn’t a downpour, but it was enough to make my face wet. Like, one of those rains where if you’re standing there it’s not a big deal, but if you’re actually moving it kind of sucked.

The next run had no precipitation, and the temperature had dropped a little, so the snow was crunchier. This run I really started to bite into the turns and I burned past this snot nosed kid who thought he had game.

On the fourth run it was drizzling again, throughout the entire run. Again, not a problem. I think it was on this run that I saw a mom sledding with three small children. One clinging to her back. One sitting on the sled in front of her. And another one that she was kind of tugging behind her on a smaller sled. Madness.

Sledding in Switzerland is a pretty strenuous activity. You’re not sitting there passively like on the hills of my youth. Shifting your weight, dragging your feet and bending the runners keep you on the mountain. Think of it as the difference between boogie boarding and surfing. One of them you can do with your eyes closed. Your legs are also active the entire time, there’s no real way to rest them. It’s easily the best workout for your psoas out there. I was very sore the first time I ever did it.

Fun side note: the German word for sore muscles is “Muskelkater,” which literally translates to ‘muscle hangover’.

I should mention that when you’re sledding with friends, the most fun you can have is speeding past them and smacking them in the face with a snowball. I will also add that it is very, very difficult to throw a snowball accurately from a moving sled.

We took a break at the restaurant at the top of the mountain. I ate a schnitzel and had some holunderblueten soda.

After lunch we kind of left it open ended as to how many times we were going to go down. One thing that also happens in sledding is your butt starts to really hurt. Some sleds, the nice ones, have kind of woven fabric seats. If you’re ever in the market for a sled (or a sledge, really is what they’re called), then get one of these. Absolutely worth it.

By the time we had left, a band with an accordion, bass and electric keyboard had set up shop in a tent next to the door. They played music that would most likely appeal to middle aged Germans.

The first run of the second half, the fifth run, I guess, was not that bad. The temperature had really started to go up. Snow was starting to fall off of the trees, and it was raining and sunny at the same time.

And now when we got into the ski lift, as we crested to the top of the mountain, we would be greeted by the band that had set up. It would kind of fade in as the restaurant came in to view.

For second run of the afternoon, the sun was out completely, once again I was very lucky to have my sunglasses. And for the first time during the day, I was uncomfortably warm. A couple of us had sore butts, but we decided we had two more runs left in us, especially since it was turning into such a nice day.

The third run of the day took place during a downpour. By the time I got to the bottom, my front half was completely soaked, while my back was dry. I, along with almost all of the others, was ready to go home after that one. Until Matt, a guy who brought a Rubiks cube along with him, convinced us to do one more run.

The final run of the day took place in complete fog. I could not see more than ten feet in front of me, and that may have helped. I’m convinced that if I had been timing myself like a dweeb that it would have been the fastest run of the day. Is it better to focus on the run as a whole? Or to take it turn by turn? This experience suggests the latter. Surreal stuff to plummet into the fog and then emerge in the sunlight.

We were all pretty whupped after that one. I make it a habit to not fall asleep on the ‘return trip’, but even I nodded off on the train.

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How I Read

Posted on February 27, 2015

Comedy Option: Page by Page

I just changed up the method by which I choose the next book that I read. Sometimes it seems like all I do is read, so I thought I’d let you know all about what and how I read.

The first thing to know is that I am never just reading one thing. I don’t really consider it multitasking, and once I get into it, you’ll see why. They’re very separate and distinct categories and styles. So just trust me.

We’ll start with my main book. If anyone asks me “What I’m reading?” this is what I respond with. Since college I’ve had two rules about my ‘main book’:

1) I have to alternate fiction and non-fiction (a rule that can be bent while traveling, for example)

2) I can only read one book by an author a year (this has been bent in recent years only once, and I’m thinking about dropping it)

And that worked for me pretty well for a long time. But there were some issues.

For the last five years I have had a giant booksbooksbooks.txt in my Dropbox folder that had two sections: “Next five books” and “To read”. The “next five books” was, you got it, the next five books I was going to read. But it was the ‘to read’ section where things really got out of hand. If I read about a book that sounded interesting, it stick it on the end of the list. And then I’d forget about it. I never once consulted the list.

So last month I decided to come up with a system to use that list. I’ve recently enrolled in a ‘Computational Linguistics’ program, and to keep myself occupied for about 15 minutes during break, I wrote a script that goes through that giant list that I wrote, and spits out a fiction and a non-fiction title. Computers finally become useful!

I also noticed that I have a lot of physical books, and they were under-represented in my reading lineup. The top of my ‘booksbooksbooks.txt’ now has six books, and here’s the order:

Fiction on my E-reader
Non-Fiction on my E-reader
Random Pick Fiction
Random Pick Non-fiction
Physical Fiction
Physical Non-Fiction

Yes that’s complicated. But I like balance in my life. It’s very important for me to read widely, and this is a system that rewards that.

If you’re curious, I’m currently reading ‘Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President.‘ It’s about James Garfield and it’s really awesome. He got the Republican nomination trying to actively prevent it, but people did it anyway because he was so awesome.

I’ve always had this thing, since I was a child, where if I finished a book, I could not start a book that same day. Not as a matter of principle, but as a matter of interest. And I like to read at night before I go to sleep. So what to do when I finish a book like in the afternoon and I still want to sleep sleep? A short story is the obvious answer, but those are often of varying length, sometimes approaching novella length. I’ve found that reading an essay before I go to sleep is just what I need. They’re often short, to the point, and somehow keep my mind from running. For the past two years, I’ve had a copy of ‘One Man’s Meat‘ by E. B. White (of Charlotte’s Web fame) next to my bed. They are absolutely lovely essays. If anyone ever says that they ‘want to read something nice’, give them this. You get to fall asleep reading the musings of a consummate New Yorker adjusting to farm life.

I’ve also added ‘Waterlog‘ by Rodger Deakin to the pile, in which he writes about swimming in bodies of water all around Britain. Haven’t actually started it, and I hope it doesn’t make me dream about drowning.

I’m also always in the middle of a book about writing. There’s no rhyme or reason to how I read them. Some of them, I start reading and then keep going until I’m done, late into the night. Or, like I’m doing now, I read them sort of piecemeal, a chapter every day or so. Right now I’m going through ‘A Sense of Style‘ by Steven Pinker, which has been nothing but informative.

I’m not done describing ‘what’ I read, but I think it’s time to learn a little more about ‘how’ I read.

If you happen to inherit a book that I’ve read, you’ll notice that there are two types of dog-ears. Normally I use a bookmark, but if for whatever reason I don’t have one, I’ll do the same thing people have done for centuries and turn down the top corner. However you’ll also notice that the bottom corners are often turned over in my books. Those are indications that I’ve found something interesting on that page. I also put bookmarks in my Nook.

About a month after I’ve read a book, I go back to all the ‘bottom corners’ and write down the quote, interesting scenario, life lesson, or whatever, on a notecard. Then this notecard gets put in a giant box with a bunch of other notecards, roughly organized. I’ve been doing this for about a year and a half now. No joke, if I was given the chance to time travel, I would go back to my young self and tell myself to get started on this earlier.

Continuing on.

There has also always been a separate book for reading in the bathroom. These books need to be the sort of things that I can read, literally, one or two pages at a time. Short stories don’t really work for this, because I like to consume them in 1-2 sittings, max. I have found that serialized web fiction is perfect for this. It’s 2 – 5 thousand words at a time, and is specifically supposed to be read in punctuated intervals. I’m about 3 chapters into ‘Worm’ right now. It is finished, as in there are no new updates, but it is probably the best in the genre.

I’m also a huge fan of Longform journalism. The problem is that it takes a long time to read, and they tend to pile up. For a while, my strategy was to just leave an article open in a tab until my browser crashed, shrug, and then do it again. But now I use the Pocket plugin, so that I can read them when I’m not sitting at the computer, specifically on a Nook Simple Touch that I hacked like a hacker. I’m fortunate that I commute on a train, so that’s what I read on the way. If you’re looking to read some longform journalism, then there’s Longform.org and Longreads.com. Those websites might be the best and the worst thing to happen to me. Buzzfeed’s longform is some of the best out there, as well.

I also really like to read short stories, and I’ve been trying to read them during lunch a lot more, instead of looking at cat pictures on the Internet. I have about a shelf full of them, and I kind of just grab them at random. I’m really all about Vladamir Nabokov right now. John Cheever is also good, for different reasons.

I know what you’re thinking, this is really complicated and why can’t you just pick a dang book and read it, Heath. It’s always very important to me to read widely, as many different things as I can. Despite everything that I’ve mentioned and changed over the last couple years, the decision to start keeping notecards of the interesting stuff that I’ve read is hands down the best thing I’ve ever done. I’d recommend you start doing it, even if it means just writing a sentence or two after every book.

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Funny/Interesting Things I Found in “When Pride Still Mattered”

Posted on February 20, 2015

From when smoking was a performance enhancing drug

“When Pride Still Mattered” is the biography of Vince Lombardi, however I don’t necessarily think you need to be a Packers fan to get a lot out of it. His career as a coach really follows the sport as it becomes professional, and I found some rather charming anecdotes about himself and the sport:

“The original super bowl’s name was taken from the Chiefs owner’s grandson’s toy, a high bouncing ‘super-ball.’”

The Super Bowl’s capitalization is [sic]‘d btw.

Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi were the defensive and offensive co-ordinators (respectively) for the Giants during the 54-57 seasons.

On Lombardi’s hobbies:

“This autocrat of the football world found pleasure in unexpected diversions and habits. His favorite method of easing tension at home was cleaning closets. He also enjoyed reading mathematics books and was an ardent collector of cookbooks, accumulating scores of them, even though Marie preferred to eat out and his own culinary skills stopped at char-grilled steaks and wet scrambled eggs. It was an escape into fantasy for him; he would read a cookbook with the same narrative delight that he had long ago taken in the adventure tales of Richard Halliburton – not skipping around from the table of contents to favorite selections, but moving page by page, from front cover to back, engrossed in the plot line from tomatoes Provençal to Italian Parmesan and egg soup to braised rack of lamb to marzipan cake. “You know what, we really ought to make this,” he declared now and then, but they never would. Another of his fantasies was that he was a magician. He took childlike delight in magic tricks, and practiced a few of the simplest ones involving string, balls and handkerchiefs over and over, though never nearing mastery. “Mr. Lombardi, you blew it!” a neighborhood boy screamed one day, when Lombardi tried to perform a trick making a cigarette move on the table while rubbing the youngster’s head.”

On Paul Hornung, according to Dick Schaap, then sports editor of Newsweek:

Each morning Paul would get up about quarter to nine and be at the field by nine o’clock. They would practice until twelve and there would be meetings to three. At three he’d come home, mix a pitcher of martinis and drink martinis until six o’clock with Kramer and the others. Then they’d go out to dinner, a group of players. Scotch before dinner. Wine with dinner. Brandy after dinner. Then back on scotch. Every day. I lost count by the time it had reached more than sixty just how many drinks he had in the week leading up to the Browns game. Also, he never went to bed before four in the morning. He never went to bed alone, and he never repeated himself.”

I should mention that it was noted, during descriptions of the ‘Ice Bowl’, that there were ash trays built into the lockers in Lambeau field:

“Cartons of Marlboros were stacked on the floor at Hornung’s house, freebies that he received from the tobacco company for advertising them. The boys often took little giveaway four-packs downtown to hand out to young women in the bars. They smoked the rest themselves. Before every game Hornung sat alone on his stool, puffing away, gathering his thoughts. There would be time for two cigarettes during halftime, when the clubhouse was dense with smoke: Marlboros passed around (none for Starr, who never smoked), Lombardi dragging on his Salem, Henry jordan bumming a Camel from Phil Bengston, Jimmy Taylor pulling out a cigar.”

More reasons to like JFK:

“Perhaps it was just coincidence that Hornung missed the final game against the Rams, but he was not needed in any case. Better for him to rest his sore shoulder, in preparation for the championship game, which was to be held in Titletown on New Year’s Eve. But when Hornung was told of the Christmas leave policy at Fort Riley, he realized that he had another problem. Furloughs had been divided into two sections by the alphabet. Surnames A through L were off the week leading up to Christmas, M through Z the week later. Hornung called Lombardi. “Coach,” he said. “I can’t make the game. I’ve gotta be back the week of the game.” Lombardi was upset, Hornung recalled, but he said he had one more card to play. The coach had seen President Kennedy that month at the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame dinner in New York, they had sat together on the dias and chatted and joked about the Army coaching job, which was opening again with the firing of Dale Hall. Kennedy had given Lombardi the number to his private phone line at the White House and said to call if he ever needed anything. “I’m going to call him,” Lombardi told Hornung. “You be ready to go.”

As Hornung later told the story, “I go back and pack and Kennedy calls Fort Riley and asks to speak to the camp commander, who is not there, so he finally gets the company commander. And he says, ‘This is President Kennedy and I’m calling on behalf of Paul Hornung,’ and the guy says, ‘Yeah and I’m Donald Duck.’ But he got me out. A major came down and told me I could leave.” … there is one document that confirms the essence of the transaction. Lombardi later wrote a letter to Kenneth O’Donnell, special assistant to the president, thanking him for two things: First an autographed picture of Kennedy and Lombardi at the football banquet, which the coach said he was “completely thrilled to have.” and second: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your help in obtaining leave for Paul Hornung so he could participate in the Championship Game.””

Vince Lombardi cuts the shirts off of sweaty boys:

After the awards ceremony, Sabol found the coach in his dressing quarters struggling to take off his tie. Long ago, in another locker room, Vinnie Lombardi had been overtaken by joy when the young and outmatched Cadets of Army had stunned Duke at the Polo Grounds, and he had moved triumphantly among his players that afternoon with a pair of scissors, cutting off their sweat-soaked T-shirts, the symbols of hard-won victory. Now, in the moments after winning his fourth pro championship in six years, the symbol was not a players’ sweat-soaked shirt but a coach’s knotted necktie. The tie said everything about Lombardi and the pressure he was under to win. He had cinched a Windsor knot so tight that he could not undo it, no matter how vigorously he yanked and pulled. Finally, in exasperation, he asked the equipment man for a pair of scissors and cut it loose from his straining neck.”

I wish I had taken this down as a quote, but it’s lost to the sands of time and laziness:

Herb Rich was traded to the Giants from the Rams, and was concerned that he would not get paid for his first game. So he called the newly formed NFL office, where deBenneville “Bert” Belle, the NFL commissioner answered and immediately dealt with the problem.

On college football and big business:

College football has become in many instances big business. Today in college football it is the crowds, the winners, the receipts, that count above all else in 70% of the institutions.”

-Yale President James Angell, 1935

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Adventures in Math Land

Posted on January 23, 2015

In which Heath reviews Algebra, 3 months before his 30th birthday.

As you may or may not know, I am currently enrolled in a master’s program for Computational Linguistics at the University of Zurich. It’s a lot of fun. I’m already a semester in, and Mrs. Heathgordon.com has already pointed out that I’ve learned an incredible amount of nerd stuff.

And as I look to the future, I’m starting to think about what direction my career is going to take. Long story short, with a background in processing words, I’d be pretty well set up to do some sort of data mining (getting structured information from massive amounts of raw data).

I’m also pretty interested in Machine Learning, because I feel like I could teach a computer to do some pretty cool stuff.

“Today I would like an omlette Nicoise, Computer.”

“I’ve told you, Heath, my name is Reginald.”

~shakes fist~ “Asimov curse your self-awareness!”

But to do that sort of thing, you really need some math, like linear algebra stuff. Well to do that, you need calculus. And right now I have about a month off from school. So I started poking around the online courses, and started a Single-Variable Calculus course. Well within 30 seconds I hit a nested fraction.

And so around Tuesday of this week, I found myself signing up for the Khan Academy series on Algebra. Not even Algebra 1, but “Foundations of Algebra”. At this point in my life, it has been at least 12 years since I had done a prime factorization.

But I cruised through the basics. And I found myself being transported to Mrs. Darby’s class, where she explained you can’t compare apples and oranges. I remembered my mother trying to explain to me that she also had problems with negative numbers, and you had to think of it like a boat with two engines, each facing each other. A part of my brain that hadn’t been accessed in a very long time came to life.

I cruised through the basics. Many of the things took a little getting used to, and some things I had used in college (also freelancing and kubb), like functions and ratios.

I can safely say that I have a good grasp of the fundamentals. But why is it that I kept messing up problems? I would approach a problem, work it out, plug in what I was absolutely confident was the correct answer and then swear as it said that I was wrong.

“Oh look, Heath, you forgot to transcribe the negative sign, you idiot.”

In short, a stupid mental mistake. The same sort of thing that plagued me in middle through high school. I can’t tell you how many problems I worked through (then and now) where I had done every step correctly, but I had written a number incorrectly or forgotten a negative sign or read the problem wrong.

Again, I can see various higher authorities standing over me saying the same thing: “Heath, you need to show your work and take your time.”

Is this a solution? Can simple mixups like that be fixed? In Khan Academy I can’t tell you how many times I would get to the fifth problem (in a lot of these things you need to get five in a row) and mess it up, despite doing everything correctly.

It’s obviously a problem that needs solving. If I want to continue learning math, I can’t be doing this sort of thing.

So I took my teachers’ advice, and started being as explicit as possible. My rule, for about a day, was that I was not allowed to make mental leaps. I had to write everything down.

And it didn’t help. If anything, it made things worse. And it was starting to get frustrating, which is bad. You don’t want to get frustrated doing math, because you’ll start making more mental errors.

But I kept at it. And yesterday evening, I found that I was making very few silly errors. What had happened?

Well, teachers of math-class past, I was skipping steps, among other things.

The first thing I started doing, was making sure I was solving the right problem. Double check that I’ve read the problem correctly, and that I’ve transcribed the problem correctly to my scrap paper. I’ve had trouble with this at grad school as well. When I’ve double checked my exams, I’ve had to quickly re-answer some problems, simply because I didn’t read the question all the way through.

The solution is to read a question twice, and to double check that I’ve written the problem correctly. Advice I’ve received probably a hundred times, and everyone that gave it too me was right.

However the advice to be as explicit as possible was bad, at least for me, for several reasons.

First, and again, this does not apply to everyone out there, the more steps there are, the more chances I have to mess things up. The more often that I have to simply move a negative number from one step to another, the more likely that negative sign is to disappear into the ether.

Second, shuffling information around without manipulating it is boring and takes a long time. Despite being the child of the ’80s, I have a pretty decent attention span. But seriously, the more I have to do repetitive tasks, the more bored I am. And, more importantly, my brain is on autopilot. I’m not actually thinking about anything. A dangerous combination. That’s where errors come from.

And finally, the more steps I add in, the farther away from the original problem that I am, both in my head and on the paper, which makes it harder for me to do a quick check.

I found that the more steps I could do in my head, the fewer silly mistakes I made.

So, sorry Mom, Dad, Mrs. Darby, Mrs. Dix and Mr. Chubb, but shortcuts, at least as far as basic algebra is concerned, are my saving grace.

My point isn’t so much to gloat. I’m going over Algebra (and eventually Calculus), and I’m having a pretty good time. My point is that sometimes you have to go against prevailing wisdom. I’ll leave with a short anecdote from WWII.

When bombers came back from their runs, they would be looked over by a team of analysts, who would jot down where the planes had taken the most bullets/damage, crunch the numbers and see where the average bomber took the most flak. Then they’d armor up the remaining bombers in those areas.

On the surface this seems like pretty good advice. But it’s actually the opposite of what you want to do. If a bomber can return a hole, it means that it can remain flying with a hole in that place. It’s the places that don’t have holes that need the most armor.

I’m trying to find a source on that anecdote, and I’m coming up short. But I feel like the logic is sound. I want to say that I got it from ‘The Fog of War’, but I don’t think that’s the case. You should watch that documentary by the way.

I’ve learned a lot, going back to school at this age, and I’m not just speaking about knowledge. I’ve learned so much about my brain, and the best way to learn. And here are two (of many) lessons I’ve learned:

1) Make sure you understand what the question is asking.

2) Know the right time to take a shortcut.

Photo credit to stuartpilbrow at Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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What I Read In 2014

Posted on January 16, 2015

I didn’t really read as much as I’d like this year, however, here’s what I managed to get through. Enjoy!

The Psychopath Test

Jon Ronson

Blah blah blah, there are psychopaths all around us, some of them are smart. And many of them are problems of Rumsfeldian proportians: The very fact that they don’t seem like psychopaths means that they may be psychopaths.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Max Brooks

When the Zombies come, it will effect all of us, at all walks of life. Seriously, this was pretty cool. Also, fun fact, Max Brooks is the son of Mel Brooks. This is a bunch of ‘short stories’ of how a zombie apocalypse would play out, on every level of humanity. I can also really recommend the audiobook, some legit voice acting.

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity

Ray Bradbury

I would put this book in my top 5 most important works about writing, especially if you couple it with this video, which I pretty much owe everything to, writing-wise. It’s a series of meditations in that dreamy storytelling matter that is so comfortable. Also, Bradbury really liked to write about dinosaurs.

Watchers

Dean Koontz

Okay so I was staying at this vacation-house and they had a collection of books. I figure that I might as well read something popular, you know, really get into the head of a bestselling author. Long story short, this is about a dog that can talk as well as sense evil. Also something about the healing power of love. Now you know the plot of literally every Dean Koontz novel.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Charles C. Mann

On one hand this was a really cool book. It’s no secret that the Americas were a lot more populated and culturally deep than we learned about in high school. On the other hand, just as a thought experiment, what if you were to write a book about everything that had happened in Europe from the beginning of the historical record until 1491?

A Feast For Crows

George R. R. Martin

The 3rd book in this series was so good I just peed a little thinking about it. But this? The Gurm is losing me man. Did you know that he originally planned this to be a trilogy? It’s the 4th book and he’s adding new characters! Still good, but don’t expect #3.

The Basque History of the World

Mark Kurlanksy

The Basque moment, throughout the history of time, is one of the things that truly captures my interest. Since I read the book, I went there myself. This is a survey of the history of the Basque people and the Basque lands. This really isn’t in the book, but if you take the bus there, you can seriously see the change in landscape as you cross the border. Great book.

Write. Publish. Repeat.

Sean Platt

This one’s about self publishing. Thinking back on it, I can’t really think of any lessons I learned from it. Still good thouh, if you’re a fan of the podcast, you probably already know the lessons they’re dropping here.

A Dance with Dragons

Gurm

#5 in the series. On the same timeline as #4. Changes in fortune! Boats!

Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Daniel Kahneman

I went into this book, which is about cognitive biases, saying, “I’m going to be super level-headed about this, I’m not going to be subject to this stuff.” But holy-cow is my lizard-brain subject to forces that I can’t even begin to comprehend. Seriously, if you’re interested in getting to know all the hidden rules of your brain, this is your book.

Hateship, Friendship, Courteship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories

Alice Munro

Lovely book. Ontario Southern Gothic is my jam, and this didn’t disappoint. Obviously I read this because of the Nobel Prize. So sue me.

The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

Leonard Mlodinow

Some overlap with Thinking, Fast and Slow, but this a book about how randomness rules our lives. It’s why I no longer put much faith in the playoffs, why ‘I should have seen it coming’ doesn’t cut much mustard and why I spent pretty much all my time at the craps table when I was in Vegas this year.

Mike and Psmith

P. G. Wodehouse

My first book with Psmith (the P is silent) and he is easily my favorite character in the Wodehouse canon. The subject matter is cricket, which you don’t even have to remotely understand to like this book. If you’re smart, you’ll pack your e-reader with Wodehouse books. They’re my goto when I finish my book on vacation.

Emil und die Detektiv

Eric Kaestner

Yes, this is a kids book. Yes it’s in German. Yes it’s good. Really needed to work on my reading in German. This did the trick.

Hyperion

Dan Simmons

I already posted this here, but if you can get past a little sci-fi cheesiness and WAY too many references to ‘old Earth’ then this is the book for you. Seriously, too many sci-fi books lack for great stories and interesting characters, and this has both, and it’s incredible.

Master of the Senate

Robert A. Cano

I’ve always been a huge fan of LBJ, and this is about his time when he became probably the best Senator who’s ever Senated. Seriously, Frank Underwood’s actions were based off of LBJ’s time as a legislator. Cano is an absolute master of the biography. I’ll point out that this is only one book of five, and I’m only reading this one. Tied for my favorite non-fiction book that I read in 2014.

The Stand

Stephen King

So good. Just so good. Except for the ending, but I don’t feel like ranting here. Was this written in his cocaine-fueled haze? It had to have been, it’s just so good. King literally does not remember writing ‘The Shining’ because he was so wasted. This may be apocryphal but apparently he wrote it with cotton stuffed in his nose, because blood kept dripping on the manuscript. Anyway, this is about the apocalypse and good vs. evil. Tied for favorite fiction of the year.

Average is Over

Tyler Cowan

In the Summer of 2014 I had failed two German language fluency exams, the final requirement I needed to get into the Computational Linguistics program at Uni Zurich. I had one more chance to take an exam and I had said to myself that it was the last one, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had about 4 weeks to study. This book basically told me that I had to suck it up and bust my ass, so I could pass and then teach computers how to talk. BTW if you don’t know how to work with computers, or you aren’t a skilled labourer, you’re pretty much screwed.

The Killer Angels

Michael Shaara

Holy shit is this book good. It’s basically a fictionalized version of the the Battle for Gettysburg, told from the point of view of Generals and footsoldiers from both sides. Achingly good. This book inspired the ‘Firefly’ series, by the way. I can honestly say no fiction book has influenced me as a writer more. Tied for favorite fiction of 2014.

Glennkill

Leonie Swann

Read this in German, because I needed to work on reading (again). I think in English it’s called ‘three bags full.’ Anyway, it is about some sheep that solve a murder. Awful stuff, and I think it speaks to its character that Germans loved it and literally every other culture on the planet hated it.

Master and Commander

Patrick O’Brian

Giant Boats! Takes place in the same universe as the movie, same themes, and characters, but different plot. Come for a ripping good tale in the age of sail, stay for the relationship between the captain and his ship’s doctor. The first of many.

A People’s History of the United States

Howard Zinn

Can’t believe it took me this long to read this book. Even for a cynic like me, this was very eye opening. A history of capital vs labor/minorities in the United States. Long story short, a lot of dickhole rich people made a lot of money off of other people’s work/genocide.

The Sound and the Fury

William Faulkner

Would you look at that, some literature. The book that almost singlehandedly defines ‘Southern Gothic’. Read as a once proud Mississippi family dissolves into irrelevancy. Don’t pick it up if you can’t handle the stream of consciousness of a retarded person.

Million Dollar Outlines

David Farland

Boy, now that’s a title. David Farland has mentored some of the best writers around these days. And there was some pretty great advice in here. I’ve read a lot of books about writing in the past couple years, so some of the advice is starting to wear thin (your characters need to ~want~ something), but still got a lot out of this one.

Four Hour Chef

Tim Feriss

Tim Ferriss is a hack. Sorry, you’re not going to learn how to cook or make your own recipes after this. At least, not any more than if you were to pick up any cookbook out there. His advice about learning is suspect at best, and a bit disjointed. But this is a really great read if you’re interested in Tim talk about how wonderful his life is.

Six Frigates

Ian Toll

After it became a bona-fide nation, the US needed to make itself a navy. This is that story. And it is awesome. Listen, it’s everything you’ve wanted to know about the war of 1812. There are Barbary pirates, and easily some of the best descriptions of what boat vs boat fighting is like. Tied for my favorite non-fiction of the year.

The 39 Steps

John Buchan

The original thriller! A man, by happenstance, has learned a secret about somebody who just might want to start a war. A world war. A first world war. And forces greater than he ever imagined chase him through the English countryside.

When Pride Still Mattered

David Maraniss

The definitive biography of one Vince Lombardi. A lot of life lessons to be learned here. However, a little of the old adage that you shouldn’t learn too much about your heros applies here. He was an absolute dick to his son and wife, but other than that was an incredible guy. Obviously don’t read this unless you have a little more than a passing interest in Packers or football in the 30s-50s.

How to Make a Living as a Writer

James Scott Bell

This is actually a pretty great book about turning his creative potential. I’ve never been a fan of ‘writing prompts’ but this has some pretty good writing exercises, and great ideas for organizing ideas, alongside a pretty good intro to the business of making shit up for a living.

No Margin For Error

Dwight R. Messimer

This is a bit of family history for me, and the book isn’t written all that well. Nonetheless, this is a really exciting story. First thing’s first: 1925 was 90 years ago. Second, this is the story of the first attempt at a non-stop flight from the mainland to Hawai’i. It went pretty wrong, there was a lot of throwing up. And the Navy learned that maybe corned beef hash isn’t the best emergency ration for when you’re stuck at sea.

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I Don’t Understand Why Everyone is Yelling

Posted on January 9, 2015

In which Heath attempts sobriety.

I’m going to come out and say it: by no measurable account am I an alcoholic. Being of weak constitution, I drink often and to excess, but I would not consider alcohol essential to my social and psychological well being. It isn’t a crutch, it’s a multiplier.

That having been said, if I start drinking alcohol, I don’t usually stop drinking alcohol. I have the same problem with spaghetti, fig newtons and graham crackers. As alcohol is a known diuretic, I don’t touch the stuff the day before I fly, because I get dehydrated very easily. Not even a sip.

And this year I flew back to Switzerland on January 1st. Meaning I was sober for New Years Eve. Pretty much the only night on the calendar where “I’m sorry judge, but I had been drinking” would be admissible.Then I realized that, for the first time in my adult life, I was going to be surrounded by drunk people while I, myself, was sober.

For example, if I’m sick, I wouldn’t drink. But I also wouldn’t go to a party. If I was really hungover, I was probably on the floor of my room, or I had been pursueded by persons with my best interests at heart to start drinking again. There was a period in college, during racing season, where I didn’t drink, but I also didn’t go to parties because I was lame and also sleepy. I also was on antibiotics for a period, but I think that was also during racing season.

Long story short, if there was a party and I was at it, I was probably drinking, almost certainly to excess. Otherwise I was in my room doing super cool things.

The first question I had to ask myself was what was I going to drink? I’m not going to drink non-diet soda for an entire night because I wouldn’t care to die of a malfunctioning glucose-insulin system. And I was too stupid to bring my own beverage. So what did I drink? Diet Pepsi. Diet fucking Pepsi, the Nickelback of soft drinks. Another first for me. I drank two cups, and when my friend said, “Are you seriously still drinking Diet Pepsi?” I switched to water.

And I watched the party unfold.

Let me just say that there is a definite sweet spot. Between 1-4 drinks, I found that most people were funnier, more outgoing and generally more bubbly versions of themselves. I could joke around with people, their jokes would make sense. It’s not that these people change when they’re drinking, it’s that they’re more likely to speak their mind or try out a joke, risks that usually pay off.

I also noticed that the groups that arrived together tended to break up and mingle around this point. Now, this could be the nature of parties in general, but it was interesting to see the flow kind of change from solid to liquid.

Conversations were real back and forth affairs. They would have the same sort of flow sober people, but with a little more embellishment.

But there is a tipping point. People that I found downright charming just half an hour ago were pretty much impossible to talk to. It was really rather subtle, it’s just that we wanted to talk about different things, or maybe at different levels of intoxication. And it was hard for me to put my finger on it. All of a sudden I just felt like there was a barrier between myself and almost everyone else at the party.

So I just kind of sat there and watched as people yelled at each other. Seriously, people are loud when they’re drunk. And are quick to interject and man, the jokes were not funny. People are more interested in being in groups, as well. Large groups. Again, this could be in the nature of parties in general, but people like to be in one giant group and yell dumb shit at each other at this point. I should also mention that I was really sleepy from being out drinking the night before and it was after the ball had dropped, so what’s the point, you know?

But in general I found that most people at this point were not interested in one on one conversations (at least with the same gender). Also, while in the middle of a party, people tend to cram into the kitchen, here’s where they move to the living room, where I’ll point out, there is often a couch.

It would be like if you were forced to go to a model train enthusiasts convention, where everyone simultaneously hated and loved each other, and you had absolutely no interest in model trains.

I’m planning on giving up alcohol for Lent this year, so this was a brief glimpse into a possible future. And it was interesting to look at something I enjoy very much from the outside. I didn’t draw any conclusions from it except that, in general, I like being on the side I’m normally on. Just another adventure to a different side of the human experience.

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Brett Favre Memorial League: Playoffs!

Posted on December 2, 2014

Playoff time bitches!

But first a wrapup:

MATCHUPS:

Robots Drinking the Kool-Aid (5-8-0) 83 vs Cuncel da Saeson 63 (8-5-0):

NAME CHANGE ALERT. I was playing this like, online football simulation game, where your players would play a little better if you kept your name for a long time. Kind of an interesting concept. I sure would love to win a couple with 83 points. I’m going to go ahead and guess that Delanie Walker was not your #1 choice for TE, just a sneaking suspicion. This year my ‘go deep for a qb’ strategy did not, in any way, pay off. I almost ended up with Romo. Can you imagine? God damn, get another QB CdS.

Settlers of Catanzaro (6-6-1) 90 vs Cheez Curdz (9-3-1) 90


AWESOME. A tie. Everyone loves ties. Actually, I’m really glad that this didn’t happen earlier in the season. Because I’m in Europe, I have to do all this shit before ESPN.com has finished its calculations or whatever. With normal wins and losses, that is way easier. But when you add ties to the mix, it’s pretty much impossible for idiots like me to add it in their head. I could have started literally any other TE in the league and I would have won. Although, I’ll say, I went to sleep thinking I’d lose this game. Actually both of us were undone by our TEs.

Rham Emanuels (5-8-0) 82 vs Sasquatch Reloaded (8-4-0) 102


RE your team is terrible. Literally everyone but Roethlesberger and Hopkins scored 5 or fewer points. You’re starting Trent Richardson for Christs’s sake. Yeah, sneaky move holding onto Brian Quick. That’s a move of Belichickian finess. Athletes that get injured one year don’t tend to get injured the next year, no sir. PEYTON MANNING?!?!?! 13 POINTS!)!)!) WHAT IN THE FUCK. Motherfucker’s putting up Alex Smith numbers. Andre Ellington sucks.

Rainy City Bitch Pigeons (3-10-0) 114 vs CAN’T WAIT (7-6-0) 102

Let me be the first to congratulate RCBP on narrowly avoiding ‘Worst Team Ever’. Technically, in both record and points scored, RCBP is the worst team in the league, by far. It has been since the storied beginning, and it will remain that way for a very long time. I have to crunch the numbers for this year, but as of the beginning of this season, they were almost 500 points out of the next place, and more than 1000 points away from 1st. Think about that for a second. That is an outlier in a game that rewards parity. And it will only get worse this year. Actually, since the beginning of the league, RCBP has added roughly 100 points to their deficit for every year. Shameful.

Team Discovery Channel (6-7-0) 132 vs Rockus Town Cantalopes (5-8-0) 128

My fucking god. I’ve lost my fair share of over-100 games, but this is just extraordinary. 128 points. In the final game of the regla-season. I’ve ripped on you for Tre Mason up until this point, but I guess he paid off here. I mean, you’re still going to the loser’s bracket, but still. Good for you. RTC I was wondering who was going to pick up Witten. Dude’s old. Doesn’t really score points anymore. It’s bullshit really.

FINAL STANDINGS!!!!

1) Cheez Curdz (9-3-1) – If this was points, she’d be in 4th place

2) Sasquatch Reloaded (9-4-0) – Maaaaaaaannnnnning

3) Cuncel Da Saeson (8-5-0) – Not bad. Won your Division.

4) CAN’T WAIT (7-6-0) – 4th place. Not on the podium.

5) Settlers of Catanzaro (6-6-1) – This is about right, I have to say

6) Drinking the Robot Kool-Aid (6-7-0) – Actually second place in terms of points

7) Team Discovery Channel (6-7-0) – Could be in the playoffs if RKA hadn’t won

8) Rockus Town Cantalopes (5-7-0) – This is pretty comfortable terrain for you

9) Rham Emanuels (5-7-0) – I believe this is a team low for you

10) Rainy City Bitch Pigeons (3-10-0) – You disgust me

PLAYOFF PICTURE:

Okay Cheez Curdz and Cuncel da Saeson have a bye week, which they both deserve, so much.

Then I play CAN’T WAIT while Kool-Aid plays Sasquatch Reloaded. We’re all fucked.

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Brett Favre Memorial League Week IX: RIP in Peace Jay Cutler

Posted on November 11, 2014

This was a pretty incredible week for teams getting hammered. A lot of people are saying how shitty Cutler was, but really I have never seen anything like Andy Dalton’s performance on Thursday. I only got to watch the first quarter, but it was basically ~interception, overthrow, interception, failed checkdown, interception~. Beautiful stuff. He literally finished with QB rating of 2. The worst possible score you can get, I think, is 1.975. It’s like the SATs where you get a free 400 points or whatever for showing up. As a frame of reference, if one were to spike the ball on every play, you would end up with around 37 points. I’d also like to point out that this was someone’s keeper pick.

I also had to explain American football in German for like the third time this weekend. It was also the Miami/Detroit game which was just madness. Oh man, you may not know this, but American football is HUGE (relatively) in Germany. One of my friends is a Schwaebish Hall Unicorns (lol) fan. They won the championship this year, and according to my friend, roughly 35k people show up for matches on the reg.

MATCHUPS

Settlers of Catanzaro (5-5-0) 90 vs CAN’T WAIT (5-5-0) 78

HOO BOY. This wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win. The fact that I started Darren McFadden shows how shallow my RBs are and how spent out our waiver wire is. I’m not sure what I was thinking. It’s better than 0, but my god. Not sure why I didn’t start Martavis Bryant. Fucking 20 points. He’s played 4 games and has picked up something like 70 points. Am I going to start him over Beckham? Looks like Ol Bobby Rainey wasn’t enough to put you over the top, CW. Brandin Cooks is a pretty good example of why I avoid New Orleans WR’s like the plague. They’re tailor made to pump up your bench points.

Rainy City Bitch Pigeons (2-8-0) 88 vs Cuncel Da Saeson (8-2-0) 92


HOLY LAWS Aaron Rodgers! Without him you scored 50 points, btw. And you can’t play the Bears every week, as sweet as that would be. By the way, last week I incorrectly reported that RCBP was on track to be a historically bad team. I’m going to break that down for you. In the 2012-2013 Bollow’s team scored 876 points, the worst in the storied history of the BFML. I will point out, I should technically give that score an asterisk, because that was the season he took over for Zacny’s Cambridge Kittens, and he had just not started half his team for 3 consecutive weeks. Currently, with 3 weeks to go in the regular season, he has scored 715, an average of 71.5 points a game. So if he keeps up with his average, he’ll end up with a paltry 929.5. This would be good enough to get him second worst of all time, but would certainly be the worst unasterisked score of all time, an honor that currently belongs to the 2010-2011 Cambridge Kittens, who scored 947. I will be following this story very closely.

Sasquatch Reloaded (7-3-0) 102 vs Rockus Town Cantalopes (4-6-0) 70

Yeah I mean Manning’s good, but he doesn’t really put up Aaron Rodgers numbers. Fuck, this is a well-rounded team, but it’s not going to win the holiest of holies, the Todd Collins cup, it just can’t happen, not with Manning at the helm. Oh and your backup is Alex Smith which is depressing. And at the other end of the spectrum we have RTC whose RB2 is Lorenzo Taliaferro who, for all intents and purposes, is completely unstartable. Even if Giovani Bernard manages to start, you’re pretty much screwed, especially if you keep doing dumb shit like starting fucking James Jones over Golden Tate, my god.

Team Discovery Channel (4-6-0) 93 vs Cheez Curdz (7-3-0) 105


Dez Bryant had a nuts game, just trucking bitches. Ronnie Hillman put up 1 point. Good for him. Who was his backup? I can’t remember and it doesn’t matter. How many times have you started Michael Crabtree? Not his year I guess. Justin Forsett was the #1 scorer for CZCZ this week. So CZCZ’s coach has spousal abuse to thank for her well-earned victories. I can’t believe Jeremy Maclin is so crappy this year. Especially with Mark Sanchez at the helm!!!!!1111

Team Butter Bars (5-5-0) 150 vs Rham Emanuels (3-7-0) 78

150 points. Without Sammy Watkins and Vernon Davis. What if they had showed up? That would have been a record for sure. Starting Russell Wilson was a ballsy move. I guess not so much against the Giants, but this hasn’t really been his year. Man there are a lot of desparate teams this year. Even worse than Darren McFadden? Starting Chris Ivory, who is the human equivalent to a Yugo trying to run the ball. Matt Forte’s number is a surprise as well. Didn’t outscore Cutler, though, which is a small miracle of its own kind.

STANDINGS!

1) Cuncel Da Saeson (8-2-0) – 2nd fewest points against; literally everyone in your division has .500 or fewer

2) Sasquatch Reloaded (7-3-0) – Points Leader

3) Cheez Curdz (7-3-0) – 5th in points, 3rd in points against

4) Team Butter Bars (5-5-0) – High above the Middling Crowd

5) Settlers of Catanzaro (5-5-0) – 3rd highest points, 3rd highest points against

6) CAN’T WAIT (5-5-0) – HUGE dropoff here, like 80 points

7) Rockus Town Cantalopes (4-6-0) – Still slipping

8) Team Discovery Channel (4-6-0) – NO EXCUSES

9) Rham Emanuels (3-7-0) – This may be the worst for you

10) Rainy City Bitch Pigeons (2-8-0) – You disgust me.

PLAYOFF WATCH

There are three weeks left in the regla-ass season, and no-one has clinched a berth yet. So here’s how I’m 90% sure that this works. Each division leader automatically makes it to the winner’s bracket, and they also get a first round by, the lazy bastards. Then it goes down from seeding from then on, the next highest 4 players winning berths. Everyone else goes to the losers’ bracket, the winner of which gets an automatic first round draft pick next year.

In the Boobie’s Division, Cuncel has not 100% clinched the division, however, he will if he wins one more game. But it’s relatively safe considering his past scoring. Believe it or not, RCBP is still not mathematically out of the running, but it would take him winning out for the rest of the season, and then two of TBB, CW, and RE losing all of their games.

The Weeners division is wide open, with two 7-3s, a 5-5, and two 4-6s. However, the odds point to Squatch and CZCZ making the playoffs, and it remains to the next 3 weeks to see who gets the first round bye. Things will (hopefully) get a lot more clear next week.

HAPPY FOOTSBALLGIVINGSMAS ERRBODY!

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Brett Favre Memorial League: Week 9: #cowboysuk

Posted on November 4, 2014

So Roethlesberger is a traditional Swiss name, and there is a bakery around here, I don’t see it all the time, that has the name Roethlesberger.

The Brian Bosworth ’30 for 30′ is not on Netflix yet, but ‘One Man’s Justice’ is. Check it out.

MATCHUPS!

Cuncel da Saeson (7-2-0) 66 vs Team Discovery Channel (4-5-0) 81


What a shitshow. Nobody really felt like scoring points, I guess, except for one of each of your running backs. Fucking Kelvin Benjamin, man, didn’t even try to score any points. I didn’t watch the game, but if Camcam is your QB, it’s your fault if you don’t get any catches. Doug Baldwin was not going to score any points, not sure why you started him, or why he’s even on your roster. Quit fucking wasting my time with this shit jesus.

Rockus Town Cantalopes (4-5-0) 59 vs Cheez Curdz (6-3-0) 99


GOD DAMN RTC, you just do not know how to choose a D/ST do you? You know you can see how many points a defense has scored, and also how well the offense it is going up against is going to do, right? At least T.Y. had one of his ‘on’ days. Otherwise this would have been, I don’t even want to think about it. I challenged CZCZ, because she was asking if I was proud of her for doing so well, but I really can’t because for the 3rd year in a row, she’s at least 2 spots ahead of where her points total should allow her to be. I also challenged her on what kind of pre-game intel she uses. ESPN projections.

Rham Emanuels (3-6-0) 85 vs CAN’T WAIT (5-4-0) 109


THANK FUCKING GOD someone started Roethlesberger. I was watching the game and I was like ‘no one is smart enough to start him.’ Also if you had done the smart thing ad started Edelman over Garcon, you would have won Emanuels. Dumb. Dumb move. RGIII is not going to make a noticeable improvement in the receivers. Why in the fuck are you starting Knile Davis, CW? It doesn’t make sense. It’s p amazing Gronk has stayed healthy for this long. GREAT WORK.

Settlers of Catanzaro (4-5-0) 103 vs Sasquatch Reloaded (6-3-0) 117


Sweet, this is the third game this season where I’ve scored more than a hundred points and have also lost. Fuck that. My highest scoreres were my D/St and Alfred Morris. One of my favorite things is when football players grow huge beards and then cram those beards into their helmets. Which is really the only reason I started Fitzpatrick. FUCK that is an impressive team ‘Squatch. You’re not going to win the championship, though, and you know it. In fact, my prediction is you lose the championship, Manning-style.

Team Butter Bars (4-5-0) 130 vs Rainy City Bitch Pigeons (2-7-0) 75

Fuck me, 130 points. If only you had known that the Texans were going to be playing Mark Sanchez’s eagles. Then you probs would have started them. Luck is a really gross looking dude. Legit neckbeard. I’m going to call ‘ you got lucky’ with Mike Evans. Literally everyone (except for fucking Doug Martin) on RCBP’s bench was on a bye week. And you got 75 points, which is actually really good for your team, I would say. Keep it up. I’m surprised Steve Smith hasn’t bitten anyone yet. Andy Dalton wasn’t what your team needed, it would seem.

RANKINGS!

1) Cuncel Da Saeson (7-2-0) – Fewest points scored against.

2) Sasquatch Reloaded (6-3-0) – Overwhelmingly the points leader.

3) Cheez Curdz (6-3-0) – 5th place, in terms of points

4) CAN’T WAIT (5-4-0) – 6th place, in terms of points

5) Team Butter Bars (4-5-0) – Best of the worst

6) Settlers of Catanzaro (4-5-0) – 2nd highest points scored against

7) Rockus Town Cantalopes  (4-5-0) – Sliiiiiiiding

8) Team Discovery Channel (4-5-0) – Boy, so close to .500, but so far away

9) Rham Emanuels (3-6-0) – This may be the worst place you’ve been in

10) Rainy City Bitch Pidgeons (2-7-0) – Worst points total (by 95 points); highest points scared against (lol)

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Brett Favre Memorial League: Week 8: Kyle Orton Enters the Ranks of the Elite Edition

Posted on October 28, 2014

This weekend was cool because I got to watch some football in the afternoon because there was a London game. However there was like a 45 minute gap between that and the 1:00 games. And I had to watch the NFL Network. It’s an experience I hope I never have to repeat.

MATCHUPS!

Cheez Curdz (5-3-0) 98 vs Team Butter Bars (3-4-0) 82

If this was a fair world, CZCZ wouldn’t have won simply by merit of putting out the Colts defense. That it only got -4 points is something of a miracle. I do have to say that I’m impressed that she did not start Jimmy Graham. TE controversy! If you had started Luck and Fitz, you would have won, TBB. That having been said, if CZCZ had done the sane thing and started Maclin, well it wouldn’t have even been close.

Settlers of Catanzaro (4-4-0) 109 vs Rainy City Bitch Pidgeons (2-6-0) 81

I pretty much owe this win to the Miama Dolphins defense. 28 points. My god. Also, this is the first week that I benched Witten, and he puts up 13 points. Fuck that. Dwayne Allen is awesome because Luck only throws to him when they’re scoring goals. So p much every other time they get points, it goes to Dwayne. Every 3 weeks there’s a long shot to T.Y. or it gets run in by Bradshaw. Those are the 3 options. Also I’m not sure how Jay Cutler got 21 points, but I’m not going to ask questions.

Rockus Town Cantalopes (4-4-0) 107 vs Rham Emanuels (3-5-0) 109


RTC you deserved to lose this one. Why? For starting a defense that was going up against the Broncos. Dumb. Just plain dumb. Which is pretty sad, because you’ve got a pretty great team. They’re all pretty hit or miss, but when they get together (like they did this week) HOOOOO LAWS!!! But you blew it. Rham you should definitely count on Roethlesberger getting 44 points a week. Because the mere fact that you’re starting Trent Richardson shows me how desperate you are.

Sasquatch Reloaded (5-3-0) 99 vs Cuncel Da Saeson (7-1-0) 122


Man this is a non sequitor, but I am super pumped for the Brian Bosworth 30 for 30. There was just a commercial for it, but I’ve been waiting for like a year for it. Also if the Boz never went as Duke Nukem for Hallowe’en, well then that was just a waste. And then it was followed by a commercial for a woodsplitter. Jesus, which kind of idiot doesn’t start Andre Ellington. Doesn’t make up the difference, but still. Julius Thomas was your lowest scoring player, CDS. That’s how fucked up this week was.

Team Discovery Channel (3-5-0) 73 vs CAN’T WAIT (4-4-0) 144


TDC, you’re looking like a solid 3-5 team right about now. I think you have about every backup in the  league. And Matty-Ice is not the mighty force we thought he was going to be this year. Lollin at Tre’s 3 point. You were looking for 7-8 weren’t you, admit it. You thought it was a lock. CW could have won most of his matchups, on an average week, with just Gronk, Sanders and Brady. WTF, how does Kniles have 15 points? CW had 55 points on the bench, as well. Fucked up.

RANKINGS!!!!

1) Cuncel Da Saeson (7-1-0) - 2nd lowest points against, so feel great about that

2) Sasquatch Reloaded (5-3-0) – This is a fair place for you to be

3) Cheez Curdz  (5-3-0) – Pointswise, you’re in 5th

4) Settlers of Catanzaro (4-4-0) - I’m p uncomfortable being this high up

5) Rockus Town Cantalopes (4-4-0) - Slippin

6) CAN’T WAIT – (4-4-0) - Garbage

7) Team Butter Bars (3-5-0) - Regressing to the mean

8) Rham Emanuels (3-5-0) - Maybe you should give a shit about the sport

9) Team Discover Channel (3-5-0) - Not in Law School, what excuse do you have now?

10) Rainy City Bitch Pigeons (2-6-0) - You disgust me.

A note: RCBP has scored almost 100 points less than TDC and is on pace to be the worst team in the history of the league by an extraordinary margin.

BOLD PREDICTIONS!

Sasquatch Reloaded vs Setters of Catanzaro

Currently I’m projected to get a little over 70 points, which sounds about right. 50 of those points will come from the Defense I start.

Rham Emanuels vs CAN”T WAIT

Tom Brady keeps it honest by getting -40 points. Trent Richardson scores one point.

Team Butter Bars vs Rainy City Bitch Pigeons

Marshawn Lynch is going to be benched for stuffing a Skittle in Pete Carroll’s butthole. Aaron Rodgers plays a couple of downs for the Titans, just for fun, gets 10 points.

Cuncel Da Saeson vs Team Discovery Channel

Arian Foster slips in some tofu. Matt Bryant changes his name to Viniateri, in hopes of getting some points.

Rockus Town Cantalopes vs Cheez Curdz

Well both of you have like 6 guys on bye weeks, so I can’t predict, I just can’t do it.

Yeah BITCH! Football!

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