Monday, June 29, 2009


It's been a while. First off, just wanted to wish safe travels to everyone going to Cambridge this summer. Have an awesome time.

Fans of the blog know I love infomercials. Snuggies, ShamWows, and the like. And so I was shocked and saddened at the recent death of Billy Mays, the undisputed king of infomercials. Like the late great Mr. Jackson, Billy was only 50. Early reports say that he suffered a head injury during a rough flight landing that initially didn't seem serious but turned out to be.

Billy had an old school pitching style he learned as a kid selling products on the boardwalk at Atlantic City. "Hi Billy mays here for..." No one could do it like this guy. But best of all, he was completely aware that people made fun of his style and embraced it. He just knew that's the way he did it and nothing was gonna change him. Mays was also an avid user of all the products that he promoted. Hats off to you, Billy, you will be missed.

More to come soon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I recently discovered a new awesome show. Thanks go out to Amelia's colleagues for the info. The show is called Mantracker, and airs on the Science Channel. Here's the premise: Two people are taken out to the wilderness and given a map and compass. They have to get to an endpoint, usually at least 20 miles away. They are tracked by "Mantracker" and a guide who knows the terrain. Mantracker and the guide are both on horses, the prey are on foot. Mantracker doesn't know the endpoint, and the prey get a 2km head start. If the Mantracker catches them, they lose. If he doesn't the prey wins. There is no prize, only satisfaction.

The show is packed with action from start to finish. There is never a moment where you can say "ok, they're safe. I'm gonna go get a sandwich" On the episode last night, the guys tried to set some false tracks to fool the tracker. He was onto their plan though, and had them in eyesight within 15 minutes. Of course, he doesn't just have to spot them, he has to CATCH them. Honestly, I don't yet know what that entails, seeing as the prey won last night. I have grand visions of a lasso or a blow dart, or even a paintball gun. That would be awesome.

The music in the show is excellent. You know how most shows have dramatic music leading up to a commercial break? Well Mantracker has dramatic music ALL THE TIME, because it's ALWAYS dramatic. It really is fantastic.

Watching the show, I was most taken not by the skill of the prey, or the tracker, but by the cameramen. The camerawork is incredible. So many shots from so many angles. And I feel like if I was the prey, trying to hide my tracks and not make footprints, it would frustrate me to have a camera team along for the ride. After a little research, I just discovered that they go back and re-shoot some shots for dramatic effect, and that sometimes they send out fake camera crews and prey. They also make the tracker explain his reasoning to try to get him to just avoid tracking cameramen. A little disappointing, but still give the camera guys a lot of props.

If you haven't seen it, you should check it out. Wednesday nights. Its summer. There is nothing good on TV. You have no excuse.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I've been putting of posting about this waiting for the details to develop. Frankly, it's a sad comment on the state of the nation that this is not that big a story but people continue to obsess about Jon and Kate Plus 8, or as they will soon be known, Jon Plus Four and Kate Plus Four.

Actor David Carradine was found dead on June 4th. Reports and conclusions have differed, but a Thai forensic expert concluded he died of autoerotic asphyxiation. He was found with rope around his neck and his genitals. However, different reports have come in about some of the details. One said he was found hanging from the ceiling by a rope. Another said he was curled up on the floor. Another said his hands were tied behind his back, indicating that it was neither suicide nor accident. A photograph showed his hands tied above his head.

But wait, there's more. Naturally, the family would have trouble believing that he committed suicide or died by accident in some strange sex act. Could there be another explanation? Certainly. Attorney Mark Gergaros suggested that Carradine may have been killed by a secret society of kung fu assassins that Carradine was trying to uncover. That's right. A secret ninja society thought he was getting too nosy, so they killed him in, well, an interesting way.

First, isn't a secret society of ninjas kind of redundant? Being secret is pretty key for ninjas to start with. If there was a job description, "keeping secret" would probably be right after "extreme martial arts skills" and right before "must be ok with being awesome." There's no out in the open group of ninjas. So how can there be a secret society of ninjas? I just assume that all ninjas are part of a secret society, because they are ninjas.

Second, this is a fantastic story to go with, because (a) it explains everything, and (b) it cannot be disproven.
Q: Suppose some security camera footage showed no one else in the room with David Carradine. What then?
A: Well, they are ninjas. Do you think they are gonna get caught on a camera? Not a chance.

Q: It looked like he committed suicide.
A: Would a ninja want it to look like murder? Not a chance.

Q: Ok, that's all well and good, but isn't the fact that this idea about ninjas just evidence that it wasn't ninjas? A true kung fu assassin would never let a story like this leak.
A: Normally, I would agree with you. But surely you are aware of the long time feud between pirates and ninjas. Pirates have been getting a LOT of press recently. Ninjas just wanted to remind everyone out there that they were still around, and clearly, very much a threat.

Q: It can't be disproven?
A: Absolutely not. We're talking about a secret society of NINJAS. The authorities would have a hard enough time finding a secret society of plumbers. Think they even have a shot finding ninjas? No way.

Just remember people, ninjas are out there. If you are alive and reading this, you must be on their good side. So I guess the lesson is simple: Do not try to uncover secret societies of kung fu assassins. Just don't.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bagels in the morning....and afternoon....that's it.

If you walk through Washington D.C. on a normal workday around 1:00, you're dining options are virtually endless. However, walk those same streets not 4 hours later and it is a ghost town in terms of eateries. Hundreds of restraunts are open for lunch but close around 3. And it's not just in the District. It's everywhere.

The absolute worst offenders are bagel places. I don't know who decreed on their death bed that all bagel places were to be closed once the lunch rush was over. This would make sense if no one got a bagel hankering after 4:00. But frankly it just doesn't happen that way. Sometimes I need a bagel in the evening or at night like the Cuban 5 needs a change of venue.

So when this whole law thing is through, I will pursue my true calling in life. I will open a bagel place that stays open til 9 PM. The menu will feature dinner entres featuring bagels. Because lets face it, bagels have holes, why shouldn't they be served the whole day? It's gonna be huge, be on the lookout.

No disrespect to Chesapeake, Einstein Bros, Manhattan Bagel and the like, but I've never been one to follow the crowd without reason or rhyme. Bagels are awesome.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

High School Yearbooks

Its been a while. Don't hate the player, hate the casenote. Well, right back to it then I guess.

In the house projects I've been involved with since I got home, I recently discovered my old high school yearbooks. Looking back through what people signed was an excellent, hilarious experience. If you have old yearbooks somewhere, I'd highly recommend it. I thought I might share some.

Two disclaimers
1) I went to a science and tech high school. We were big nerds.
2) My nickname in high school was Chipee. I apparently both looked and sounded like a chipmunk.
3) We had a pool table in our senior lounge. I played. A lot.

-"You damn chipmunk, next matball game you'll feel my rage. I will make sure you have rubber marks on the side of your head so bad you'll have to get skin grafts. Have a nice summer :-) AND SLEEP LIGHTLY"

-"Yo JT Sorry, But I'm getting off the bus soon so I'll have to keep this short. You're pretty cool for a chipmunk. That's about it. CYA next year."

-"Yup, Chipee, if anyone can take the verbal abuse I gave, it was you. Sorry I said you were a squirrel. CYA next year."

-"Hello, I'm signing this for the second time, which is entirely pointless because I have nothing to say. Weeee!"

-"It's a moose. Get it?" (This was next to a picture of a moose that looked like...well...something else)

-"JT, Have a Tall summer."

-"Hey JT, you seemed to lose a lot of money this year. You've got a problem, and we can get you help. Never go to Vegas."

-"Hamlet beats Moses any day! It was a lot of fun working in the snack bar with you this year. Be careful with that sword next year."

"Botcher, First the OM Team and then Team Botch. What great team will we be on next? When the world gets you down, just remember you are a midget in love. Have fun being a nanny this summer. Fight the good fight."

"JT, econ and gov were great. Botch on!"

"JT, it's ya boy Omair hittin up yo yearbook with an entry. Beyond your insane pool talent, you were Rick James and I was Charlie Murphy. Darkness! Cicada! You've been gayed! Beyond that, you were a super cool guy with an infectious smile. Good luck at W&M next year. Oops, almost wrote UVA! Peace out, your darkness brother for life. PS Word! He's allllright!"

"JT! The man who rules the pool table. Have fun becoming a sports commentator! Watch hockey, football, soccer, and cricket, become world famous, and someday kids will be playing JT Football 2034 for Playstation 8! Have fun in life."

Good times. I encourage anyone with the ability to do the same.