Saturday, March 25, 2006

torii!

It came before me in a dream. We held a "guess the location of the photo contest" here at felix's daily starfish and waffles, and the winner came away with untold riches. Exactly what kind of untold riches, you ask? Why gold and platinum, of course. And where did the untold riches come from? Mostly my opium money.


I took this photo at sunrise with my Kodak F300 camera. Try to guess where this is. You have absolutely no idea, do you? Haha, I thought so. Don't even try to guess. You are going to be soooo wrong.

Because I always obey my subconscious like one of those new Japanese servant robots, I thought it might be fun to hold the contest. Instructions ... see the photo above ... read the following riddle haiku hint ...

Torii - but from where?
No, not from an island but
A peninsula

... and click on the comments link below* to guess the location of the photo. Fame and fortune await the first person who guesses correctly!

* By the way, don't even think of accusing me of being a "fat comment slut" for directly asking you to post a comment because (1) I'm quite fit and have never been fat and (2) you are under no obligation to comment. You smart ass, you.

Friday, March 17, 2006

french me, i'm irish

Because felix's daily starfish and waffles is now primarily an educational website, we had initially planned on posting a three-part, 5000-word treatise on St. Patrick, dude who drove all of the snakes out of Ireland. But after some sober second thought, we figured it would just be more fun to drink. Erin go Bragh!


This St. Patrick's Day, get sloshed in style with the silky, smooth Shamrockhopper. Recommended by 4 out of 5 Irish bears.

Yes, it may be St. Patrick's Day but, please, show your liver a little dignity. Instead of torturing it with the heinous crime that is green beer, how about mercifully euthanizing it with something a little more divine? May we suggest the Shamrockhopper ... a minty, white-chocolatey drink that's as velvety as it is high in calcium. What better way to show you're not English?

Shamrockhopper
0.67 oz. Crème de Menthe (Green)
0.67 oz. Crème de Cacao (White)
0.67 oz. Baileys Irish Creme
4 to 5 oz. Skim Milk

In the order listed, pour the above ingredients over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Stir. Sip. Make a wish. Get lucky!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

goodbye, coach


Brilliant, grumpy, profane, passionate, outspoken, temperamental, caring, hilarious, wise and - human. The legendary John Chaney, longtime coach of the men's basketball team at Temple University, retired on Monday.

Those who know me know that I'm a college basketball fan. Those who know me well know that my team has always been Temple. A big reason for this? Coach John Chaney, a Hall of Famer, who, at age 74, decided to retire on Monday. He will be sorely missed - and not just for his basketball genius.

I'll share a few more of my thoughts on Chaney and Temple basketball in a future post (which I'm sure will be of interest only to me and nobody else around here). For now, I'll let some of the columnists on the different newswires do the talking.

Goodbye, Coach. Thanks for the memories.

***
Chaney's coaching voyage was rough sailing at times - but it's a journey worth saluting and remembering

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
By Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

John Chaney never won a Division I national championship and never made it to the Final Four. The last five seasons, his Temple Owls haven't made it into the NCAA tournament.

But Chaney, who retired Monday, should be remembered as one of the greatest coaches of all time.

His name should be mentioned with the Dean Smiths and John Woodens because what he accomplished, given where he came from and what he had to overcome, is as impressive as anyone's list of national titles and Final Four appearances.

He also had a lot of success on the court at Temple, which isn't the easiest place to build a winning program. He's a Hall of Famer because he has won 741 games as a coach, including 516 at Temple. The Owls went to 17 NCAA tournaments and five regional finals in Chaney's first 19 seasons there.

But his wins and losses are only a part of what makes Chaney such an icon.

He grew up in extreme poverty in Jacksonville, Florida, and spent his high school years in a tough Philadelphia neighborhood. He survived in large part because of basketball, then he had to overcome racism during his early years as a coach in order to land at a Division I school. Temple was the only school willing to give him a chance.

Chaney always approached his job with burning passion, as if he were on a mission. He stuck to his values and principles, the foundation of which are honesty and integrity.

Chaney never has forgotten where he came from and never worried about taking a stand - no matter how unpopular or the consequences - against injustice. He believed his most important job was to give kids, many from tough circumstances, an opportunity to grow into young men. He believed in every kid, even the ones many others quit on, and brought them along with his old-school principles of discipline, tough love and accountability.

As good as he was at giving kids a kick in the rear to motivate them, his real genius was his ability to know when to back off, give them a hug and encourage them to keep working hard.

Chaney often was criticized for speaking out against rules like the NCAA's Proposition 48, which clearly affected poor and urban kids, but he backed it up with results.

He took kids who didn't meet academic requirements and pushed and mentored them all the way to graduation.

He believed kids shouldn't be penalized because they are too poor to live in a good school district.

He wanted kids with a similar background to his, kids who weren't born with silver spoons in their mouths, to be able to use their athletic talents to get a better life.

Chaney wasn't without his warts, and, unfortunately for some, his warts are all they will remember.

There was the outburst against then-Massachussets coach John Calipari in 1994, the goon incident with St. Joseph's last year and several other well-publicized outbursts.

The difference between Chaney and others of his ilk, is that he didn't have a "God complex" and knew when he crossed the line. That's why he was often tearful, contrite, open and honest in the aftermath. You knew his apology was genuine and heartfelt.

Todd Jones, a columnist for the Columbus Dispatch, captured it best when he wrote "Those episodes shouldn't define Chaney, nor should they be whitewashed from his legacy. That's because his career and life - when he was both right and wrong - was about honesty.

"So recall his faults, just as he would want."

College basketball lost a great coach Monday.

It lost a better man.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

my simulated reality tv life: episode eleven

March. Generally a windy, dreary, forgettable month, where you spend half your time waiting for winter to end and the other half worrying about would-be Brutuses (Bruti?) daggering you in the back. Quite frankly, you're better off staying at home and watching simulated reality TV. Which is - lucky coincidence - where we come in. Yes, folks, your wait is almost over: it's time for an all-new episode of My Simulated Reality TV Life! New to the series? Click here to start at the very first show. Miss the last episode? Rerun, available here. March, Smarch, Schmarch ... just defy whatever it is, sit back and enjoy the spectacle!


Wife Bridgette is sporting a sassy new hairdo - the mysterious, mesmerizing ponytail - so simulated Felix goes in for a closer look. Heehee, simulated Felix ... you cheeky bugger, you.

Episode Eleven
It's not really a glamorous life, but it is nice to come home to a loving wife and baby. Call it beauty in simplicity. But even with simplicity, there's still the occasional surprise. Like Bridgette's new hairstyle. Looks hot! So the simulated me goes in for a closer inspection. Mmmm, ponytail. Looks hot! The simulated me gives Bridgette a hug. Simulated me is happy. Bridgette is happy. Isn't it nice that it doesn't take much for simulated me and Bridgette to be happy? Like peas in a pod, we are. Wow, I can't believe I just wrote that.

In my simulated world, it's a lazy Sunday afternoon. Baby Felicia is taking a nap. The housework is all done. The simulated me and Bridgette are all alone. Obviously, this is a prime opportunity for us to ... disco? Apparently so. On goes the stereo and out come the dance moves ... hours and hours of dance moves, as measured in simulated time. Eventually, the music stops. We stare at each other for a few mintues. Bridgette smiles, then heads outside to pull some weeds in the garden. The simulated me scratches his head. You loser! You didn't even try to score!


Disco! Simulated Felix and Bridgette busta move on the living room dancefloor.

That night, Bridgette agrees to look after Felicia while the simulated me and my buddy, Malik, head into town to get a beer. There sure are some freaky looking types and shady characters in this simulated town. For a moment, I get kind of worried about raising a little one in this crazy simulated world we live in. But only for a moment. Because then the beer kicks in. Nothing like drowning your worries with a couple dozen bottles of quality import beer!


Simulated Felix and buddy Malik discuss the March weather. Meanwhile, a weird, uni-browed stranger looks on. Is the uni-browed stranger gay or racist? You decide!!

The next morning, the simulated me appears to wake up with a bit of hangover as evidenced by the foggy way I try to drag my ass out of bed. Bridgette's already up and, presumably, with Felicia. Yep, I think I'm going to have to use up one of my sick days. I pick up the phone and get the boss on the line.

"Owwwww ... my ovaries are killing me! Sorry, I won't be in today."

You'd think that an army drill sergeant wouldn't have bought that excuse, but hey, here we are - worked like a charm! Pure genius, simulated Felix, pure genius! I throw myself onto the couch and turn on the TV. Ahhh, nothing like daytime TV when you're hungover. Now where did I put my beer?

Don't forget to tune in to the next episode of My Simulated Reality TV Life!


There's just too much violence on daytime TV these days. Simulated Felix recoils in horror as the quiet serenity of Sesame Street is shattered when "Silent E" finally cracks under the pressure and guns down all of the other letters.


An important parenting lesson - try to refrain from playing with your kid too actively right after her 9am feeding. Otherwise, she might projectile vomit all over you and your swanky tracksuit. Note to simulated self: find out exactly what it is in Bridgette's breastmilk that's causing Felicia to barf in azure blue. What is that? Antifreeze?


Felicia's teddy bear explains to Bridgette: "I admit it, it was me in those films. But I'm not ashamed. I was in college and I needed the money. Besides, I can honestly say that all of my nude scenes were tasteful."

Friday, March 10, 2006

think less, act more

Good advice, but maybe easier said than done for those of us who tend to overanalyze things somewhat.


Brilliant sculpture ... bad example? Auguste Rodin's The Thinker, in the courtyard of the superb Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, California (2005). Gorgeously situated in Lincoln Park (complete with views of the Golden Gate Bridge), the Legion of Honor is one of the best art museums on the Pacific Coast. If you go, stop by the museum café on the basement floor to pick up a really great sandwich for lunch. I took this photo on a late afternoon with my Olympus Stylus 35mm.

***
A question for the masses (haha, right) who read starfish and waffles: on Sesame Street, when Cookie Monster madly munches down on a plate of cookies but it's obvious that he isn't actually eating the cookies but just making the crumbs fly out of his mouth, is Cookie Monster, therefore, eating cookies or isn't he? This is the type of question I've been grappling with for 20+ years. And maybe that's the problem. Somebody tell me it isn't too late to change.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

wild animal kingdom: year of the dingo

Woof, woof! It's the Chinese Year of the Dog, which suggests a year highlighted by loyalty, truthfulness and friendship. This, of course, is not surprising - in many cultures, these laudable traits are virtually synonymous with the dog. But what if that dog happens to be a dingo?


Man's best friend? Perhaps ... or perhaps not. Don't let this innocent-looking dingo fool you. In the Year of the Dog, he'll eat your kidney and your firstborn at the earliest opportunity. Mmmm?

(Cue National Geographic theme music here).

Ever since one of our predecessor companies financed Charles Darwin's voyage to the Galápagos Islands many lunar calendar moons ago, we here at starfish and waffles have been actively pushing the boundaries of animal, biological and wildlife research. Call it a passion, an obsession, or what have you ... we just think the animals of our kingdom - the wild animal kingdom - are really neat. Yeah, that's right, you heard me: I said "neat."

Here, we take a closer look at the dingo, quite possibly the smartest, wildest, and most-maligned dog in the world. I'm sure you're already quite aware of the dingo's propensity for eating babies. Well, tonight, we bring you exclusive scenes from the results of a groundbreaking scientific experiment, which studies the interactions between a wild dingo and a 17-month old baby in a highly controlled environment. But this baby isn't just any baby ... it's my own - and only - nephew. Altruism be damned, I say, for tonight, science takes precedence! Let's get to the pictures.


A dingo quietly stalks his prey while the unsuspecting victim plays with a bouncy red ball. Luckily for the baby, he's quite a bit bigger than the dingo. Had the size discrepancy been less pronounced, we suspect the dingo would have already pounced by now.


In a brilliant display of cunning, the dingo employs a tactical approach worthy of Genghis Khan. Yes, folks, this is nature's version of the classic bait-and-switch: instead of immediately attacking, the dingo befriends the baby by playing ball with him first ... and then when he least suspects it, the dingo will likely surprise his target with a bite on the leg! Success, for the dingo, seems imminent.


But in an unforeseen twist of fate, the baby catches wind of the dingo's plans and the hunter suddenly becomes the hunted!