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Thursday, January 24, 2002

Wing Bowl X
Every year, on the Friday before Super Bowl Sunday, Philadelphians gather at the First Union Center for a different type of contest: The Wing Bowl. A tradition that started 9 years ago, the annual Wing Bowl festivities start at the crack of dawn. The audience tailgates in the parking lot while the contestants prepare to eat as many Buffalo wings as possible in a 30-minute time-span. Its become a hallmark of Philly life, with more than 20,000 people showing up for last years event. Only in Philly. Last year's winner is nicknamed "El Wingador", and he ate 137 wings in 30 minutes (the highest score of all time was 164 wings!)

Particularly interesting, and more disgusting than eating 100+ wings in 30 minutes, are the Qualifying Stunts performed by wing bowl hopefuls. A good stunt typically includes some sort of gross variety of food, eaten quickly and in mass quantities (strange, as I would think that has little to do with your wing-eating ability). Highlights this year include people eating: Four pounds of tripe in 20 minutes, a pigs head (including snout, cheek and the brain), A dozen hard boiled eggs with shells in 24 minutes, fifty raw clams in fifteen minutes, three pounds of head scrapple and bottle of hot sauce in 20 minutes, and one pound uncooked penne pasta with only 8 ounces of water in 20 minutes. Only in Philly...

1/25/02 - Update: El Wingador does it again. 143 total wings (81 in the first 14 minnutes). Three time champ. I love the nicknames these guys have; there was a 15 year old student in the contest - his nickname is Lord of the Wings...
Posted by Mark on January 24, 2002 at 11:27 AM .: link :.

Monday, January 21, 2002

Why be a Magician?
alan moore: magician is a site with various odds and ends written by Moore. I found most of it to be interesting. It includes some loose plans for a comic-book Grimoire, an article explaining why he became a magician, and some interesting correspondance with Dave Sim (creator of the long running independant Cerebus comic that I wrote about a while back).

Completely unrelated: Steven Den Best comments on the timely release of the new Ridley Scott directed, Josh Hartnett vehicle, Black Hawk Down.
Posted by Mark on January 21, 2002 at 01:55 PM .: link :.

Friday, January 18, 2002

Very Secret Diaries
Time to lighten things up a bit. This Cassandra person is doing a series of stories about Lord of the Rings characters' secret diaries. Its hilarious. Homosexual overtones abound. Check them out: Funny stuff, unless you think the homosexual overtones are heresy or something. Also, check out this Ninja site, its funny too. Mighty fine basassery. [thanks S�m�l]
Posted by Mark on January 18, 2002 at 09:33 AM .: link :.

Monday, January 14, 2002

Ordinary People
Radio Diaries is a collection of National Public Radio programs that were designed to give a voice to people not typically represented in the public forum. Particularly interesting are the prison stories (2001's main theme), though the audio journals of teenagers, workers, and the elderly are good as well.
This past year, five inmates, four correctional officers and a judge were given tape recorders. For six months, the diarists kept audio journals and recorded the sounds and scenes of everyday life behind bars: shakedowns, new inmate arrivals, roll call, monthly family visits, meals at the chow hall, and quiet moments late at night inside a cell. The series is an intimate and surprising audio portrait of prison life.
The series aired in on NPR's All Things Considered in January 2001.
Posted by Mark on January 14, 2002 at 10:45 AM .: link :.

Friday, January 11, 2002

In the beginning...
In the Beginning was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson: An intelligent essay dealing with the trials and tribulations of computer Operating Systems. Of course one of the big problems he discusses is Metaphor Shear (which is basically the point at which a metaphor fails), which is ironic because he uses quite a few metaphors himself in the essay. One of the best is when he relates the Hole Hawg (an incredibly powerful drill that with drill through just about anything, but also incredibly dangerous because it has no limitations or cheap safeguards to protect the user from themself.) with the Linux operating system. The essay is a great read, and goes into much more than just Operating Systems. Highly recommended.

If you like Stephenson's fiction, you might also want to check out The Great Simolean Caper, an interesting story set in the not to distant future. It shares some common ground with Stephensons other work (namely, Snow Crash) and is quite an enjoyable read. Its also a bit scary, because it brings up quite a few security and privacy concerns. With the advent of digital cable and set-top boxes, companies are starting to track what you are watching on television, whether you like it or not. I've seen the data myself, and I think the advertising industry is going to go wild when these numbers start piling up (the data I saw showed enormous spikes and troughs roughly coinciding with commercials). The sneaky set-top boxes in Stephenson's Caper might seem unlikely, but we're really not too far away from that right now...
Posted by Mark on January 11, 2002 at 03:27 PM .: link :.

Thursday, January 10, 2002

THEY are coming!
The Day They Let Bernard Leave by John Robinson (.pdf file) : A cryptic and ambiguous short story in which a man named Bernard has a very strange day. Everyone is staring at him; even, sometimes, being nice to him. Strange. Anyway, its a good read if you don't mind the ambiguity of it all. Is Bernard as lucky as everyone thinks? I'm not so sure. Anyway, Robinson is an interesting fellow, known to many as "Widgett". He runs a website called, NeedCoffee.com which is quite an interesting mix (not unlike Kaedrin, but more interesting and older:). He also has a production company called One Tusk and recently pubished a book of poetry called Love Letters Unsent to People Unmet. Check it out. Another story by Robinson: Necrogarchy, another interesting offering...

Sorry for the lack of updating lately. Things got a bit busy during the holiday season, plus I can't seem to run into much in the way of interesting stuff lately, so you'll have to bear with me. I did get my Best of 2000 movies list up (yes, thats 2000, its a year late, I know). Lets see, what else? I've been spending a lot of time at Everything2 lately. Its a fun place.
Posted by Mark on January 10, 2002 at 09:06 AM .: link :.

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