Monday, December 31, 2012

Twisdom 2012

Every once in a while, I tweet something that stands on its own. Sometimes it's poetic, sometimes silly and sometimes just a little observation that has a kernel of wisdom in it. Here are some of those tweets.

When it's good, it's called a finish. When it's bad, it's called an after taste.

I'm not going to sink to your level; I'm going to bring you down to mine.

"That's a good life lesson, dad: never give a rabbit a hammer."

 If you ever stop calling slug bugs, you are dead on the inside.

A website just prompted me to "Please prove you're not a robot" by entering anti-fraud words. See? The anti-AI bias has already started.

If you have kids, you are entitled to complementary whine with every meal.

If you want to know me, you must first watch "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai" ten times. You probably do not want to know me.

"Nobody's perfect"? No, I reject that. We're all perfect, because God made us that way. We just need to remember it.

Anti-profanity software changed "cocktail" to "c**ktail" in a headline - thus INSERTING profanity where there wasn't any!

You'll have to speak up - I'm not listening.

People like to crane their necks to see an accident; if they could, they would sit in their living rooms and push a button to make it happen.

I just want to scream into the void. I don't want anything to scream back.

I'm kinda nervous. According to Gloria Estefan, the rhythm is coming to get me, and this is apparently happening tonight.

Pull: the other push.

Why does everyone keep calling each other XO?

We abandoned... With email: etiquette. Chat: decency. Blogging: hope. Texting: grammar. My_: common sense. FB: reality. Twitter: detail. G+: fun.

If you're wearing baggy pants and the thin strand of elastic holding up your old ratty underwear breaks, you're no longer wearing underwear.

I would like to transfer my consciousness into a robot body now, please.

Height and depth are the same thing, just seen from different points of view.

"No offense" means "I'm about to say something offensive" not "I can say what I want without consequences."

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade, but if life gives you apples, make apple pie.

If it takes you more than one tweet to communicate something, you're using the wrong medium.

A person lives a different life every 5 years. Look back at your own circumstances 5, 10, 15 years, etc. and tell me it isn't so.

We would all benefit from a 3rd eye on top of our heads, so we would always look up and see how big the universe is and how small we are.

Earlier today, my phone dropped a call. The error happened at 4:04. Coincidence?

R.I.P. Neil Armstrong. Your small step may be over, but your giant leap lives on.

I'm having a hard time teaching my monkey to be altruistic.

Kevin Costner has less acting range than Keanu Reeves.

Only one letter separates "bogus" from "bonus."

I'm as invested in Iron Man saving the world as you are in your team winning the pennant; no real world benefit to either; whose fandom is more valid?

Autocorrect automatically capitalized "David" and "Bowie" but not "god."

Elephants don't wear no pants.

I am happy to announce an exciting new announcement! This is that announcement! Now that I've announced it, be sure to announce it yourself!

I support gay marriage because I support marriage. I support gay rights because I support human rights. People are people end of discussion.

This just in: Disney rumored in talks to take over Roger Corman Studios, The BBC, Martha Stewart Living, and Honey Baked Ham Company...

The Circle of Hell for bleeping swear words out of songs on the radio is lower than the one for swearing in songs in the first place.

The tallest mountains in the Solar System? They're on Jupiter of course. Some are over 4,000 miles high—more than 10x the size of the Moon!

Why has no one started a vodka label called Yakov yet?

I'm giving up pumpkin pie for Lent.

Whenever a word appears in something's name or slogan that should have gone without saying, they're overcompensating for its absence.

Every once in a while, the dreary December sky looks starkly beautiful despite itself.

Every time I hear "chicken thighs" it cracks me up. Don't know why. You'd think "chicken breasts" would be the funny one, but no.

I think women would better understand how men felt about shopping if there were no such thing as returns.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Random Top Ten: Best Geek Franchises

Across all media (film, television, books, comic books, video games, you-name-it), these are the franchises that keep geeks coming back for more. Am I right or wrong? Leave you comments below...

1. Star Wars
Created by George Lucas; debuted in 1977. The ultimate sci-fi fantasy space opera, Star Wars changed the cinematic landscape, became the defining moment of an entire generation or two, and is practically a religion among geeks - even those who profess to hate it can quote the entire first trilogy verbatim.

2. Batman
Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger; debuted in 1939. The world's foremost superhero, despite the fact he has no actual superpowers. Instead, he's just a brilliant detective and martial artist, loaded with cool gadgets, and scary as hell: they don't call him the Dark Knight for nothing!

3. Star Trek
Created by Gene Roddenberry; debuted in 1966. No vision of the future has proven as compelling - nor as uncannily prescient - as Roddenberry's. But what really made it develop such a cult following was its humanity: compelling characters and timeless questions of morality.

4. Doctor Who
Created by Sydney Newman, Donald Wilson and C. E. Webber; debuted 1963. This British television series may not be the most widely known in America, but it has a huge cult following worldwide, and deservedly so. Following the exploits of The Doctor, a Time Lord who travels through time and space with his human companions, it is full of delightfully unexpected twists and turns, and every episode unravels like a exciting puzzle.

5. Middle Earth
Created by J.R.R. Tolkien; debuted in 1937. The granddaddy of all fantasy worlds, Middle Earth has recently experienced a revitalization thanks to Peter Jackson's two film trilogies: The Lord of the Rings and now The Hobbit. But even before that, shades of Tolkien could be found in nearly every subsequent fantasy author's work, as his blend of mythology and epic adventure has always been hard to resist.

6. Spider-Man
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko; debuted in 1962. I wanted to be Spider-Man when I was a little kid. So did every little kid. He was a kid like all of us, a pipsqueak who was powerless and misunderstood, and just happened to get bit by a radioactive spider. Could happen.

7. Superman
Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; debuted in 1938. The very first superhero and still one of the best. I'm praying that we finally get a movie worthy of his legacy when Man of Steel comes out next year.

8. Godzilla
Created by Tomoyuki Tanaka; debuted in 1954. It may not have been the first, but Godzilla defined the giant monster movie genre, and the franchise and its many spin-offs are still going strong today.

9. The Universal Monsters
Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein was first published in 1818, and Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1897. Universal Studios would make films of both novels in 1931, sparking a long and successful run of monster movies that would also include favorites like the Mummy, the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Many of these monsters existed in a "shared universe," crossing over into each other's films throughout the years. These classic monsters remain popular to this day, and their movies are still occasionally revived by the studio.

10.  James Bond
Created by Ian Fleming; debuted in 1953. The ultimate superspy, at his best 007 will leave you feeling shaken and stirred. And as his latest film Skyfall shows, he's still got a lot of mileage left in him, looking as timeless today with Daniel Craig in the role as he did when Sean Connery first uttered the famous line: "Bond. James Bond."

Honorable mention: Harry Potter
Created by J.K. Rowling; debuted in 1997. This is a relatively new entry, but it already has a rabid fan base. If the franchise is kept alive, it may some day rival the others on this list. The main hero's story always felt a bit underwhelming to me in the series, but the world itself it wonderfully detailed and rich for further exploration.

Honorable mention: Indiana Jones
Created by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg; debuted in 1981. Indiana is one of the most loved characters in all of geekdom, but his body of work is pretty thin. Raiders, of course, is incomparable, and Last Crusade is awesome. If everything beyond that was half as good, we'd have a contender.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ding-dong, the Emperor is dead!

As it turns out, that six-film series George Lucas made called Star Wars was semi-autobiographical. It wasn't immediately obvious, because the beginning of George's real-life arc syncs up with prequels that began decades later, but here at the end it all makes sense.

In George's tale, he shows how a young, hot-shot director (young hot-shot Jedi Knight) does things no one else has ever done before and promises to create the greatest movie franchise in the history of Hollywood (bring balance to the Force) only to suddenly sell out (turn to the Dark Side) and mass-murder the childhood memories of fanboys everywhere (mass-murder youngling Jedi everywhere). In the service of his dark master (money), he creates his own company (Death Star) and exerts iron-fisted control over his financial (Galactic) empire, crushing all hope with his ass-clown excuses for storylines (evil Sith powers) and ridiculously CGI-happy animation team (ridiculously incompetent stormtrooper army).

This week, after he was too old and tired to have any fun with it anymore, he finally looked at us with his own, human eyes, saw the error of his ways and repented, saving his own soul in the process, overthrowing the evil empire he helped bring to power and restoring hope to fanboys (Galactic citizens) everywhere.
Yes, like all of you, I naturally harbor a lot of resentment towards the guy, even if, to extend the analogy (uncomfortably at this point), he is the father of all my hopes and dream. But I have been studying the Star Wars franchise ever since my dad (some “crazy old wizard”) first handed me a movie ticket and a bucket of popcorn (a lightsaber and a blindfold) in 1977. And I always believed there was still some good in him. After all, this is the man who invented (befriended) Wookiees. The man who put Princess Leia in a metal bikini when I was 12 (wooed Princess Amidala when he was 12). So he couldn’t be all bad, he just couldn’t.

And this week he proved it. So where does Star Wars go from here? Well, the spirit of Lucas (Vader) will continue to loom large over the franchise (Galaxy) going forward, but there will be new people charting its path now, and hopefully the fans' voices will be heard. They may make some mistakes along the way, but this is definitely what we’ve waited for all these years. Right now fanboys everywhere (the Rebellion) are in disarray, divided over what direction to continue and how to clean up the mess. But at last the fight is over. He has given us the chance to begin again. Let’s not let his sacrifice be in vain.

Long live the Republic!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fandom: reality vs. douchebaggery

A few days ago, I witnessed an ugly incident at the ice arena where my son plays hockey. Now youth sports centers are no stranger to such incidents: while most people practice common sense, there are enough lunatics out there that "bad sports parent" behavior has become an accepted part of the cultural landscape. I see parents bullying and berating their children all the time, not to mention referees, coaches and other parents. And I see children exposed to this assholishness developing bullying behavior of their own in the locker room. As a guy who never really participated in organized sports, I look at this and see how such a system left unchecked could easily degenerate into madness, and I am not surprised that all too often we see just that in the sports headlines.

Fortunately, I do see more sanity than douchebaggery - like my son's coaches who really do work on fundamentals and teamwork and exhibit a far greater degree of patience than seems humanly possible when dealing with the chaotic mass of ten year olds they call a team. But the nut cases are out there, and they never fail to amaze me. I can't understand how a grown man can scream at a seven year old boy for not being coordinated enough to stop on a dime on ice skates while precisely directing a puck to the exact corner of the net that "he should have known" the goalie would leave open. At that age, you should just be happy he's getting exercise and having fun. Have some perspective!

But what made the incident a few days ago extra baffling to me was that it didn't even involve a sport the kid was playing. In the lobby of the ice arena, a college football game was playing on television, and the son and his father were watching. After one play, the son joyously called out what he thought was a first down. His father, annoyed that his team had just turned the ball over, proceeded to yell at the boy for not knowing what had actually just happened. I don't remember the exact wording, but the gist of it was: "Are you blind? How can you be so stupid as to not know that?"

OK, some people are just assholes. That means some people are going to have assholes for parents. (And let's be honest, it's probably a pretty hefty percentage.) So that's nothing new, and it's just something we as a society have to deal with. But I want to talk a little more about this obsession with sports, because I think we sometimes give sports fan assholes a little bit more of a free pass than everyone else, and that annoys me.

First of all, I want to say that I am a sports fan. Not the world's biggest sports fan, mind you; I'm not obsessed, but I enjoy watching now and again. (Yes, douchebaggy sports dude who looked at me with disdain for wearing my Green Lantern t-shirt on the day of the big Michigan vs. Michigan State football game: it is possible to be a sports fan and not feel the need to broadcast it every single second of every single day.) And I really enjoy playing sports (especially basketball), even if I don't do it as much these days as I used to. So I am in no way anti-sports. But...

Spectator sports are just entertainment. That's all they are. They're not world politics, they're not religion, they're not family, they're not even a way for most of us to make a living. They're on the same level as playing video games, reading comic books or romance novels, crocheting, playing banjo, listening to rap music, watching American Idol, or geeking out over Star Wars. It's possible to be exactly as invested in all of those things as it is to be in spectator sports. And those things have exactly as much potential to do good in the real-world as spectator sports do (i.e., not much directly in and of themselves).

So the next time you see a sports parent out of control, imagine them yelling, "No, no, no! Luke Skywalker's lightsaber was blue until Return of the Jedi, you scruffy nerf herder!" Or, "How many times do I have to show you how to do a bullion stitch before you get it right, you fat-fingered fool?!" That should put it in even sharper perspective. And if this asshole is someone you love, please intervene. They don't have a "really competitive streak." They're just a dick.

I'm all for entertainment, but let's keep it in perspective and call it what it is, OK? Spectator sports are a way for us to pass the time. They are make believe. If you think of them as anything more than that, you have lost your grip on reality. There are more important things in life to worry about, so let's enjoy the time we have together, and spend our play time wisely.

P.S. - While we're on the subject, I do not find politics entertaining. Please find another audience to pester with your stupid birth certificate conspiracies. (Ditto religion as entertainment.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Where is Gotham City?

The location of Gotham city in the Batman mythology has moved around quite a bit over the years. These days, it is common to place it in southern New Jersey, just south of Atlantic City. As far as I'm concerned, though, it needs to be tied to a real-life, major U.S. city. Just as all Marvel superheroes live in New York, so too should all DC superheroes have a place in the real world to call home. I'm not happy letting them live in Neverlandin my mind, all adventure stories need to be integrated into one, real-world-based narrative.

I'll deal with Superman's Metropolis in a future post. Today, it is time to unveil the true location of Gotham:

Boston, Massachusetts

Don't believe me? Let me explain.

First of all, Boston fits the profile. It's one of the most prominent U.S. cities and most populous metropolitan areas. It has a densely packed downtown, loaded with skyscrapers and other interesting buildings. It also has a rich and storied history, including organized crime, city corruption, convoluted politics, and plenty of old money living beside impoverished neighborhoods. Best of all, this big city has no other major superheroes claiming it.

Boston has the second-most amount of Gothic architecture in the U.S. New York is first, but we know Batman doesn't live there, because that's where Spider-Man and all the other Marvel heroes live. (This also explains why Batman doesn't cross paths with Marvel heroes muchhe's a Red Sox fan!)

The Boston area is no stranger to bats: it is home to an estimated one million of them, mostly small brown bats and large brown bats. They originally lived in caves and rock formations, but with very little natural habitat left for them, most bats in Boston now live in the attics of Boston's old, Victorian era homes. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to believe one of those homes is a large manor built atop a still-active cavern.

No city matches up completely with the map of Gotham developed over the years (especially since that map keeps changing), but Boston comes pretty close. Take a look at maps of both cities below: the basic layout of their downtown areas is very similar, with the main difference being that Gotham is surrounded by water on all sides, where Boston is a peninsula, connected at the southwest. It wouldn't take much to rearrange Gotham into Boston. (Note: the maps below are not to scale.)

Another factor in Boston's favor is convenience. When the Justice League of America was founded in 1960, it was based in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. (An obvious stand-in for Newport.) This is important, because the closest major city to Rhode Island is Boston. As the only founding member without super speed or flight powers, it would make sense that the team's headquarters would be located close to Batman's hometown.

Finally, one of the most important landmarks in DC Comics is Arkham Asylum, which lies on the outskirts of Gotham. This home for the criminally insane is inspired by and named after the sanatorium in the fictional city of Arkham, Massachusetts found in "The Colour Out of Space" and many other horror and science fiction stories by H.P. Lovecraft. In Lovecraft's writings, Arkham is modelled after Salem, Massachusetts, which lies on the outskirts of Boston, and the sanatorium is modelled after the real-life Danvers State Hospital in nearby Danvers, Massachusetts. Between Lovecraft's stories, the infamous Salem Witch Trials, and the ghosts of the Revolutionary War, the area certainly has a history of the supernatural—all of which lends itself to dark tone of the Batman mythos.

So that's my take on the real Gotham City. What about you? If you had to pick a major U.S. city—other than New York—as a stand-in for Gotham, what would it be? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Only human

Here are a few things I've learned. This is not an opinion, and it is not a judgment. It is an observation. It is a summary of what I have found to be the way people work. It's the system that is preprogrammed into us, and while that system may occasionally spit out something unexpected, 99% of the time it is pretty predictable. So keep the following in mind...

  1. Anything that has a deadline will be done last-minute.
  2. Anything that does not have a deadline will be done immediately or not at all.
  3. There are two kinds of deadlines: "first deadline," which is an arbitrary deadline that takes into account that everyone will wait until the last minute, and "absolute deadline," which is going to happen with or without you. It pays to know which kind you're dealing with.
  4. At least half the people in this world have no concept of sarcasm or irony and will take everything you say at face value, you big jerk.
  5. People make decisions mostly on the basis of emotion. A logical, scientific approach is not instinctive for most people. We are beings of complex chemical reactions, not computer circuits.
  6. Nobody knows for certain what they're doing. Not doctors, not judges, not your boss, not your parents, not political leaders, not religious leaders, not scientists, nobody. Nobody knows if God exists, nobody knows why the universe is exactly the way it is, nobody knows what's going to happen one minute from now, and nobody knows even 1% of what just happened to them one minute ago. In terms of knowledge, they can barely tell you more than you will find out on the Internet, and with no more accuracy. For every question we as a species answer, we generate a hundred new questions. We will never know all the answers. So take all lessons and advice in context and with a grain of salt, and don't worry that you don't know everything, because neither does anyone else.
  7. People will follow anyone who acts like they know what they're doing. (Even if they're a douchebag. Sometimes especially if they're a douchebag, because they can be extra convincing, and because it's easier to follow than to confront.) They do this because they want to believe that someone knows what's going on.
  8. If you repeat something enough, people will believe it, no matter how ridiculous it is.
  9. Every time you repeat something, no more than half of your audience will hear it. You will never reach everyone, no matter how compelling your message is.
  10. If you can convince 10% of the people, the majority will follow.
  11. No matter what you tell children, in the end they will do what they want. This holds true for adults as well, although adults have usually learned to be more subtle about it.
  12. You cannot influence a child (or an adult) to do the right thing by telling them, only by showing them.
  13. If you force someone to do something, you take away their opportunity to learn why they are doing it in the first place. If you motivate them to do it, they will become good at it.
  14. If adults acted as children do, they would be labelled sociopaths. Children are sociopaths. Don't hold that against them, though: they physically lack the capacity for responsible behavior, or for understanding what makes a moment special. That's why it's called childhood.
  15. Having children is simultaneously the best and worst thing that will ever happen to you.
  16. People will look for reasons to queue, both physically and intellectually. It is more comfortable to wait at the back of the line for an hour than to go to the front and ask to be let in, even if the latter is an option.
  17. Very few rules carry repercussions if broken. Rules without repercussions are actually only guidelines. People who know this, will treat them as such.
  18. Even if you drive reasonably, traffic tickets are inevitable. They are hidden mobility taxes.
  19. When you are in a car, you cease to be a human being to people who are not in that car.
  20. No matter how well you do in anything, you will only be rewarded if you promote your accomplishment. For the most part, other people are not paying close enough attention.
  21. Your boss is not your friend, and your employees are not your friends. Your teacher is not your friend, and your students are not your friends. Your parents are not your friends, and your children are not your friends. These can be quality relationships, but within that context they are not friendship. Friendship only truly exists among equals.
  22. Being right will not make you succeed. Succeeding does not make you right.
  23. It is better to make the wrong decision than to make no decision.
  24. You will only regret the chances you didn't take in life.
  25. Money cannot buy happiness, but lack of money is a hole that gets filled by misery.
  26. Misery is not the opposite of happiness, boredom is. People choose misery over boredom all the time.
  27. In general, people are really good at avoiding thinking about unpleasantness. That's a good thing, as the world is full of it. If we did not know that children would be able to learn to cope with it, we would stop having children and the human species would end.
  28. People would rather have a little of something good right now than a lot at some point in the future.
  29. People will gravitate to what stimulates them, even if it leaves them empty.
  30. True happiness does not come from pleasure; it comes from purpose. Laziness and self-destructiveness are not our preferred state: they come from lacking a sense of purpose.
  31. The world is a better place because different things make different people happy.
  32. The universe doesn't give you points for being unhappy.
  33. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Take time to enjoy the beauty in life. Love along the way. Laugh along the way.
  34. Everything is about the journey, not the destination. Taking your time while doing something worthwhile is always more intrinsically pleasurable than doing it as quickly as possible.
  35. People are all basically the same, no matter time nor place. They are the same deep in the Amazon rain forest as they are in New York City. They were the same in ancient times, and they will be the same in the distant future. Cultural and technological differences are very shallow; basic human nature runs deep.
  36. By the same token, you are not intrinsically superior or inferior to anyone else.
  37. Everybody is perfect. A lot of people will try to convince you it's the other way around, but they are wrong. We're all flawed, we're all broken, yes, but that's part of our beauty. People are poetry. Cherish everyone.
  38. In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Number nicknames: 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100 and 101

OK, this is it—the moment you've all been waiting for. (Or, most likely, not really.) After posting the nicknames for numbers 0-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80 and 81-90, here are the last of my number nicknames...

91. The Lollapalooza

OK, here's the thing: the numbers in the 90s are neglected, so some of these are going to be a stretch. Like this one: 1991 was the year that the Lollapalooza music festival was born. OK, it's not Woodstock, but it's pretty cool. And Lollapalooza is fun to say. Go ahead, try it.

92. The Christopher Columbus

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

93. The Clinton

After the year he took office, 1993.

94. The Private Eye

This satirical British magazine uses the number 94 all of the time as a running gag. Why is that funny? Don't ask; they're British.

95. The Dolly Parton

For her song and movie 9 to 5. Get it? OK, stop rolling your eyes, I said the 90s were difficult.

96. The Platonic

Head-to-toe and back-to-back. If you need any more explanation than that, I don't know what to tell you.

97. The Wreck

This one comes from the famous wreck of the "Old 97," a Southern Railway train officially known as the Fast Mail. It ran from Washington, DC to Atlanta, Georgia. On September 27, 1903, the train derailed at Stillhouse Trestle near Danville, Virginia. The wreck inspired a famous ballad that is a staple of old-time music.

98. The Oldsmobile

The Oldsmobile 98 automobile was the flagship model of the Oldsmobile division of General Motors.

99. The Bottle of Beer on the Wall

OK, I could have gone with "The Gretzky" (his number was 99) or "The Luftballons." (Honestly, this number had more possibilities than the rest of the 90s put together.) But again my criterion was: which one is the most fun to say? And so the most inappropriate children's song ever written wins.

100. The Century

From the Latin centum, meaning one hundred: one hundred years, one hundred miles or one hundred of anything you like.

101. The Freshman

All introductory college classes end in "101": "English Composition 101," "Algebra 101," etc. This series of posts was "Number Nicknames 101." You been schooled, sucka. Peace!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Number nicknames: 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89 and 90

We're almost there! In previous posts, I have posted the nicknames for numbers 0-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70 and 71-80. Here now are the nicknames for the next 10 numbers...

81. The Reagan

Ronald Reagan took office in 1981. If you look closely at the number 81, you can also see the blueprint for his "supply-side economics" policy (fat cats first, and those without come after).

82. The Airborne

After the famous 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army, an infantry division that specializes in parachute landing operations.

83. The Barney Stinson

On the television show How I Met Your Mother, character Barney Stinson (played by the 100% awesome Neil Patrick Harris) constantly uses 83 for all of the random, made up numbers and statistics he quotes.

84. The Big Brother

Big Brother was the name of the dictator in the famous 1949 dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell. In the novel, everyone was under constant surveillance by Big Brother's regime. Good thing that was only fiction and we're not under 24/7 surveillance everywhere we go these days. Heh heh. (Shhh... Big Brother is watching you...)

85. The Ochocinco

in 2008, NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson changed his last name to Ochocinco (Spanish for "eight-five"), after his jersey number 85. I was going to write "insane NFL wide receiver," but this is in no way atypical for an NFL wide receiver.

86. The Get Smart

In the wonderfully wacky spy show Get Smart, Don Adams played blundering superspy Maxwell Smart, also known as Agent 86.

87. The Gettysburg

Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" is one of the most influential speeches ever given. All most people can remember about it, though, is that it starts: "Four score and seven years ago..." For the math and history challenged among us, I'll just spell it out: a "score" is 20, so "four score and seven" is (4 x 20) + 7 = 87.

88. The Keys

A piano has 88 of them in total.

89. The Sooner

In the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889, people lined up to race to claim the free tracts of land. Some, however, snuck in and got there sooner, giving Oklahoma its nickname: the Sooner State.

90. The Right Angle

If you've made it this far, I'm guessing you like numbers well enough to understand this reference.

Next time: the final entry—numbers 91–101!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Number nicknames: 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79 and 80

In previous posts, I have posted the nicknames for numbers 0-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60 and 61-70. Here now are the nicknames for the next 10 numbers...

71. The Blackbird

After the SR-71 Blackbird aircraft, one of the sweetest machines to ever flip gravity the bird.

72. The Par

While there are occasional exceptions, the total par (expected number of swings for an expert) for a typical eighteen-hole golf course adds up to 72.

73. The Sheldon

In Season 4 Episode 10 of The Big Bang Theory (the 73rd episode in the series), Dr. Sheldon Cooper (played by actor Jim Parsons), says: "The best number is 73. Why? 73 is the 21st prime number. Its mirror (37) is the 12th and its mirror (21) is the product of multiplying, 7 and 3. ... In binary, 73 is a palindrome, 1001001 which backwards is 1001001."

74. The Hurricane

A storm is considered a hurricane if it has sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour.

75. The Diamond

A 75th anniversary is known as the "diamond anniversary."

76. The Trombones

After the finale "76 Trombones" from the musical The Music Man. The lyrics to the chorus, in part, read: "Seventy six trombones led the big parade / With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand..."

77. The Hockey Sticks

Because sevens look like upended hockey sticks.

78. The Old Record

The original standard playing speed for records was 78 rotations per minute. At this speed, you could fit about three minutes per side on a standard 10-inch record.

79. The Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius famously erupted in the year 79, burying the city of Pompeii in hot, toxic ash in the process.

80. The Around the World

After the beloved Victorian era novel by Jules Verne (and subsequent film adaptations) Around the World in 80 Days.

Next time: numbers 81-90...