February 28, 2010

Introducing the 2010 Ivy Lovers

c - Geovany Soto
My thought on drafting Soto is that he's got to have a better year than he did last year. If he doesn't, then the Cubs' season probably isn't going to be much fun either.

1b - Lance Berkman

I drafted Berkman in the 8th round, with the 95th pick in the draft. I was waiting on a first baseman, and I'm content getting him around that point in the draft. If he's still afraid of a little lightning, then I'll play Chris Davis instead.

2b - Dan Uggla

Our league uses OBP instead of batting average, so that eases the pain of drafting Uggla. 6th round second baseman who hits a ton of home runs? Deal.

3b - Ryan Zimmerman

Yeah, he's a National. So what? He'll thrive moving to the high-pressure Ivy Lover's clubhouse.

ss - Hanley Ramirez

Second overall pick. The guy in front of me took Pujols and everything that comes with him - the annoyingness, the Cardinal-ness, the balky back...I'll enjoy Hanley, thankyouverymuch.

of - Grady Sizemore
of - Jay Bruce
of - J.D. Drew

I like outfielders who can do a little of everything. Sizemore and Bruce fit the bill, although Drew doesn't run much. At all, really.

util - Brad Hawpe
Brad Hawpe doesn't run much, or play defense at all. Only one of things matters for the Ivy Lovers!

bench - Martin Prado
bench - Chris Davis

Another reason Soto needs to have a good year is that the Ivy Lovers aren't carrying a backup catcher. Fantasy Soto never rests!

sp - Cliff Lee
sp - Adam Wainwright
sp - Jon Lester
sp - Clay Buchholz

Strong starting 4, although I won't shed any tears if Wainwright crashes and burns. I'm willing to throw the Ivy Lovers under a bus if it means the Cardinals have a bad season too.

rp - Francisco Cordero
rp - Michael Wuertz

Saves? I probably shouldn't have bothered drafting Cordero and gone with a different starter, but whatever. These things work out.

p - Aaron Harang
p - Joba Chamberlain

Harang is a vampire and always pitches well against the Cubs. Why is he on the Ivy Lovers? Beats me. I thought Chamberlain would beat out Hughes for the Yankee's 5th starter job, but who knows. He might end up starting this year. Crazy things happen to pitchers.

bench - Joel Pineiro
bench - Chris Young
bench - Barry Zito

The back end of this pitching staff sure looks a lot better than the Cubs, right? Carlos Silva is disappointment embodied, if disappointment was 40 lbs. overweight. ZING!

February 27, 2010

Changing Seasons

Snow - ignore it.

Frozen lakes - while I appreciate their firmness when playing broomball, they don't matter here.

Archaeology - not happening right now. Doesn't matter.

March Madness - yet to occur; irrelevant.

Fantasy Baseball Draft on Sunday, 8:00 P.M. CST - Spring has arrived.

That's right, the team 'Ivy Lover' is about to be assembled for the 2010 baseball season. As I sound the conch to gather my ballplayers, the residual sound waves ripple throughout the atmosphere working their magic on the Wisconsin climate. This causes spring. It's science.

February 26, 2010

Smuggling Norwegian Babies

Today Calli and I (mainly Calli) are dog-/house-sitting for her aunt and uncle, who are away in northern Wisconsin for the Birkebeiner cross-country ski race. Couple things about this situation:

1. Dinah and Augie the dog are not best friends. I think Augie would eat Dinah given the chance, and Dinah would prefer to be back in Mount Horeb if she had any say in the matter.

2. The Birkebeiner commemorates an incident from the Norwegian Civil War in the 1300's when some loyalists skied the heir to the Norwegian throne to safety. I did not know this...pretty crazy.

3. The American Birkebeiner ends in Hayward, WI. I spent the first five weeks with the Wisconsin Historical Society on an archaeological survey north of Hayward, and this has got to be the most exciting thing that happens up there (excluding the occasional world lumberjack championships). When your town is known for a giant muskie, how exciting can things be?
4. Skiing. It should be done from top of hills to the bottom of hills, with chairlifts and mugs of hot winter drinks. This cross-country stuff is ridiculous.

February 24, 2010

More Olympic stuff

Curling is experiencing its quadrennial popularity boost. Much like the last Olympics, I find myself befuddled when I watch the surprisingly attractive curlers playing a glorified drinking game on the ice. Thankfully, somebody in the world has combined a basic knowledge of the sport with the ability to make an informative graphic...giving us a visual primer for the mystery that is curling.

There. All cleared up, right? Right.

When does broomball become an Olympic sport? I would absolutely watch Olympic broomball.

Finally, Slate has been compiling and graphing a Sap-o-Meter to keep track of the overwhelming use of sappy drivel in NBC's Olympic Coverage. I've added the meter's widget to the blog so you can keep apprised of what your emotional state is supposed to be while you're watching the festivities.

February 23, 2010

flipper bubbles

It's a very slow tuesday, so...let's watch dolphins play with air bubbles!

I think it's pretty cool to watch them goofing off underwater, but let's keep in mind the old Onion article about humanity being doomed if they evolve opposable thumbs. Not too farfetched, the Onion.

February 22, 2010


Today, I made lasagna. It wouldn't be that remarkable - everybody loves lasagna, right? We also all hate mondays and Nermal. These are facts of life. However, this time was a bit special because I made my own ricotta cheese.

How was it?

Phenomenal, and easy. I forgot my camera, so you'll have to believe me...but the ricotta cheese was really, really good. I found the instructions on Serious Eats, and I suggest you use their recipe if you're interested. Seriously though, I made cheese by microwaving white vinegar and whole milk, stirring, and straining. That was it.

Calli and I both enjoy a good lasagna normally, and we could tell that the ricotta was of a better quality than you normally find in the store. I can't stress this enough - I know my food tastes better the more involved I am in its creation, and when creating a major part of your dinner is so ridiculously easy...you just have to give it a try.

...and if you're wondering, yes. After we got done inhaling our lasagna, we spent the rest of the night picking on Odie and napping.

P.S. I will have you know that it took all of my willpower not to write about how now I'm a true native of Monroe, or embed a video of the Beach Boys singing "Be True to Your School." You're WELCOME.

February 21, 2010

Broomball version 6.0 update

Okay, this is going to be quick - my body is beaten and bruised...and compared to my ego, it's in great shape.

My goals:

prove that bandanas can be worn as broomball attire:
toss-up. I say success, everybody else says failure.

hat trick
FAIL - 0 goals.

no broken bones
success, but failing on this one was unlikely.

deny Joe any goals
FAIL - he opened the second or third game with three straight on me. Yikes.

February 20, 2010

Broomball, version 6.0

In two hours, anywhere from 12-20 people will descend upon Brittingham Park with brooms and shovels in hand, ready for yet another week of punishing ourselves.

My goals:

prove that bandanas can be worn as broomball attire

hat trick

no broken bones

deny Joe any goals

I think all of these are attainable, and will provide an update tomorrow.

February 19, 2010

Glee's Treasures, continued

Yesterday, I wrote about the blanket that Aunt Glee had collected in the southwest. Today, I'm just going to post a few of the other pictures I took of her giant collection in the church basement.

The most exciting thing we saw was what Cedric described as a war coat. It was similar in texture to a really nice suede, and the decorative beading was ridiculously intricate. Very cool.

We also discovered some moonshine!...bottles. Not quite as exciting as the real thing, but alas...

There were several musical instruments on the tables, including a harmonica, a violin, and an organ.

...and to top it off, a collection of the complete works of one W. Shakespeare:

February 18, 2010

Unexpected Swastikas

I did not expect to ever title a blog post quite like this, but I think it will make sense. My great-great-aunt Glee passed away in September, and she left quite the collection of amazing curiosities for the family to examine. As we sorted through everything, my now-late Uncle Cedric brought out two incredible pieces of Native American clothing that Glee and her husband had somehow acquired in the southwest (and then stowed away in their attic forever). The first piece I'll wait to write about until later, but the second was a blanket:

...which was then modeled by my father...

I'd read about how the swastika used to be a symbol associated with things other than, you know, Nazi Germany. Until then, however, I hadn't seen an instance of that in person.

THEN, this week in nerdy baseball news - more swastikas!

The photo above was the catalyst for a pretty in-depth research journey highlighted by a Rob Neyer reference on ESPN this week. Apparently, the Boston Braves wore caps with good-luck swastikas in the early 20th century - go here for the full story. It's worth reading - but don't take my word for it!

February 17, 2010

2.17 Food links

It's a busy day today - pitchers and catchers report, Purdue v. Ohio State, Ash Wednesday, Dagwood and Blondie's wedding anniversary...you see. It's full of excitement.

Because of that, I'll just throw up some links to some cool foodstuff.

Serious Eats presents the mouthwatering/disgusting (I can't decide which) FLOOD BURGER.

Chef Jamie Oliver presents his TED talk on childhood obesity:

The TED talks are immensely interesting - go on Youtube and watch more of them. You won't be disappointed.

GOOD combines maps and food, so I'd be remiss if I didn't link to them. I'm most curious about the one hotspot of vegetable consumption in Texas surrounded by vegetable-phobes. That same 'island' also has increased meat/poultry consumption compared to the surrounding area...what's going on there?

I'm not very good at photoshop, but if I could learn how to bake cookies using it I would do it all the time.

February 16, 2010

Good news

I received a Facebook post from Mike Schroeder this morning with a link to this article about Jon Leuer's potential return to the Badger basketball team. Reading it certainly brightened my morning. As unfortunate as Jon's broken wrist was, I'm reminded that it could have been worse - Brian Butch (who, by the way, had a good weekend) destroyed his elbow immediately before the Big 10/NCAA tournaments in 2007, and that season ended in bitter heartbreak. At least this season we get to have our hearts broken at full strength...

February 15, 2010


I, for one, am sick of winter and all that comes with it. My skis are still in the garage in Monroe, and broomball is fun - but my fingers almost froze off last time.

Weather.com is telling me that there will be snow once again, and I don't like it. Even if it is just a little bit of powder, I have officially passed into February Crankypants Mode. The only thing keeping me from full-blown Curmodgeon Status is this comic teaching you how to read tracks (from XKCD).

I just bought eight Cubs tickets, so there's a bit of a mental disconnect for me when I look outside and see snow everywhere.

Dear Spring,
Please hurry up and get here already.

February 14, 2010

I'll take one? two?

This was supposed to be a larger post with pictures of three beautiful pizzas that I made at home last Saturday, but my camera's batteries went on strike.

However, I'll still share a great idea from the internet for a dorky way to make pizza dough.
If you've ever thought to yourself, "How can I incorporate mathematics and uncertainty into my pizza slices?" then this pizza dough is for you.

Meanwhile, Happy Valentine's Day to you all.

February 13, 2010

Translating Valentine's Day

Apparently, tomorrow is Hallmark's Valentine's Day™. As such, let us all go and buy overpriced pieces of folded paper with sappy drivel and prepackaged chocolates to show our devotion to those we love.

Okay, I'm not really going to be that cynical. I have a couple of Valentine's-related links to share tonight. First, weathersealed.com has done a study on the most-used words by bloggers, separated by gender. The graphic is cleverly designed to illustrate the differences in how we speak/write.

The other link is a series of psychological tips for Valentine's Day, courtesy of Good.

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody. Find what makes you happy, even if that is only a Trader Joe's bag.

February 12, 2010

Winter Olympics 2010

Since the Winter Olympics are starting tonight in Vancouver, I have collected some things regarding the festivities.

Slate has put together a good Olympics preview page including:

a cool quiz of 10 various national anthems - with hints, which are (for me) essential.

an economist predicting medal counts

If there was an official Winter Olympics crush of MtD, it would be Sasha Cohen...but apparently wikipedia tells me that she blew it in the qualifying free skate and is a second injury alternate. Lame.

February 11, 2010


PBS is running the Faces of America series, and so far their sneak previews have been really, really interesting. The people that Dr. Gates interviews are eclectic and eloquent, and I highly suggesting visiting the site and watching the pieces.

The first interview I watched was with Stephen Colbert, and it is not only funny (which you'd expect) but touching as well.

The second I saw was Mario Batali. There weren't any crocs (that you could see) but it was pretty interesting as well.

I don't know that much about my ancestry, and I don't know that I feel any sort of emptiness because of that. That being said, if there ever was a King Ingebrit of anywhere, I am claiming that throne in a heartbeat.

February 10, 2010

Photos from an Imaginary Basketball Game

So. There's a big blank spot in my memory of last night from around 6 to 8. I just...don't have any recollection of what I did then. There's a vague (okay, pretty specific) feeling of disappointment and indigestion, but...who knows why?

It's not like the Badgers lost to an unranked Big Ten foe - AT HOME - that ended up pushing them from what would have been a tie for first place to fifth. No...that would be absurd!

If that HAD happened, and I HAD been there...these are the photos I would have taken (before the game slowly, inexorably went downhill and I stopped using the camera).

The seats weren't as close as I had thought, but whatever. It's Badger Basketball, who cares?

Wrong. While the seats were fine, all of the people around us were either old, Illinois fans, or OLD ILLINOIS FANS. Ugh.

This is a Badger huddle while they were up by 10 or so in the first half. Remember that? They were winning by double digits at points in this made-up game.

Goodness. Bruce Weber found a lot of things of to whine about last night. He spent more time on the court than Jared Berggren or J.P.Gavinski...maybe they could have stopped Mike Tisdale from going 8/11 from the field.

Dear Jon,
I don't know if your presence on the court last night would have meant a win. I just know that February, March, and early April have a chance to be far more enjoyable if your left wrist there heals. Quickly.

Get on that.


February 9, 2010

Illinois @ Wisconsin 2010

The Illinois Fighting Illini travel to Madison tonight to take on the Badgers tonight. I wouldn't bring this up except that I snagged tickets to the game tonight on StubHub...in Section 101, Row C.

Kohl Center

I have no idea how the tickets weren't gone right away, because they were priced very reasonably. Anyway, third row seats to a game that could see the Badgers jump to first place in the Big 10? Deal.

I'll put up some pictures tomorrow...unless they lose. If that happens, I will attempt to erase any memory of the game.

February 8, 2010

1001 Foods Project

Earlier this week, I alluded to a project in the works. For my birthday, I received this book as a gift.

1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die

1001 foods that I must taste before my time is up. You can't tell from the cover image, but the book is about 4 inches thick, totaling 960 pages.

Over the next ? years, I will work my way through this book - sampling each ingredient at least once, even if I've already tasted it. I haven't looked at the entire book, but I have read through the "fruits" section. So far, 6 continents have been pretty well-represented. This project might be lengthy and costly.


The first entry is Elderberry flower, which I think might get eaten in the form of a jam. I was originally planning to do the book in order. That plan got thrown out when it became apparent that I would quickly become sick of berries for. ev. er.

February 7, 2010

Anthemic Variations

Last Thursday, Craig Calcaterra at Circling the Bases linked to an article complaining about renditions of the National Anthem. I don't get too worked up about people doing it a little differently - I think we all have bigger things to worry about.

Watching Carrie Underwood sing the song before the Super Bowl, I was reminded of the post. I had no problem with her version of the song, but...holy cow, that last note was bad. Anyway, in Calcaterra's post there was a link to this video:

Seriously? The guy's career essentially ended because of that? Wow.

Here are some other classic versions of the Star Spangled Banner, both good and bad:

Marvin Gaye

Maurice Cheeks


Carl Lewis

the Grateful Dead

February 6, 2010


If you are overwhelmed by what are really insignificant little problems, or just want to get a sense of where we stand in the grand scheme of things, go look at one of Good's latest graphics.

Once you're there, scroll to the right...then zoom way way in. Get out the magnifying glass and there is your deadline, unpaid bills, or flat tire.

February 5, 2010


Being an anthropology major, I've had to write at least one essay answering the question "Is the use of tools what separates us from animals, or makes us "human?"

The answer, of course, is no. Crows use tools, and chimpanzees are very creative when it comes to manipulating the objects in their world.

None of these animals, however, are as cute as the otter.

Just LOOK at them!

February 4, 2010

Dork, redux

Oh? Solid purple circle puzzle not enough? Let's do this:

Yep. Circular stained-glass-esque puzzle, complete...yet another step towards citizenship in the Grand Federation of Dorkonia.

February 3, 2010

Graphics Roundup

Here's a collection of really informative, unique, and well-constructed graphics to inform your day.

Volunteers (by age and organization type)

I wonder how many of the volunteers are double counted, in that one person who helps with sports, church, and health organizations could be listed more than once. Still, a really interesting way to see how many people give time and to whom they give it.

Here is Good's list of their Top 10 Transparencies of 2009 - it's worth it to go look at the best ones.

Finally, courtesy of infostethics.com, Ward Shelley's oil painting multi-topic timelines are phenomenal. Beautiful, and they must have taken forever.

February 2, 2010


I will occasionally have the "falling dream" - you know, where you're falling from some unknown height. Usually for me, it takes the shape of swinging on some rope that's far too long for where it's tied, and I'll hit the ground or the side of some building, or whatever. Sometimes I find myself in a airplane with no top (of course) like an old-school biplane. Invariably that plane will fly some loops, and off I go.

The reason I bring this up is because I read a crazy article today on Popular Mechanics about surviving a fall from 35,000 feet. I doubt that I'll remember it next time I'm asleep and plummeting, but it's worth a read while you're awake.

February 1, 2010

New Project

So far, this blog has been a medley of muppet videos, slow pitch softball recaps, and pictures of cheese or dogs.

Well, I'm not going to abandon that.

However, I will be starting a long-range project on MtD. I don't want to say what it is quite yet, but it will involve a lot of food...and it very well may be disastrous.

Let us all take this with a (large) grain of salt, because here is a list of all of my other failed grandiose projects, just off the top of my head:

75 sq. ft. wall map (I am not admitting defeat, but I will concede I had thought it would be done about 18 months ago)
learning accordion
learning harmonica
Green Man Group
Cheese Races
Globe Puzzle
Fighting Meercats
Homemade boat