Consider this early pre-reading for the trip to East Lansing.


EAST LANSING, MI–Michigan State Coach John L. Smith was unable to finish a pastrami on rye sandwich at Side Streets Deli today, citing the overly generous portions of lunchmeat on the sandwich and the “really thick bread” it was served on.

“It was just too much for me,” said Smith, packing the remaining half of the sandwich into wax paper sheepishly. “All that meat and bread. I felt pretty confident going into the second piece, but one bite and I was finished. They really pile on the meat at that place, I tell you.”

Charlie Weis Ego Bloat

J pointed out to me there is a book about “Charlie Weis and Notre Dame’s Rise to Glory” which seems a little odd, since you generally need to both achieve glory and rise to have a “Rise to Glory”. I decided to do a little amazon sleuthing to compare Charlie with some other coaches who just maybe have a greater claim to a “rise to glory” given that they have won national championships — Tressel, Carr, Stoops, Carrol, Paterno. I’m looking for books with the coach’s name in the title, or where he gets an authoring credit of some form:

* charlie weis. Sure enough, we have “The New Gold Standard: Charlie Weis and Notre Dame’s Rise to Glory”:amazon written by some 3rd party. And we have “Echoes of Notre Dame Football: The Greatest Stories Ever Told (Echoes of)”:amazon with a foreword by the Super Genius himself. But most damningly, we have “No Excuses: One Man’s Incredible Rise Through the NFL to Head Coach of Notre Dame”:amazon coauthored by “one of football’s greatest minds who has helped shape today’s game” — if you think today’s game is all about pillow soft defenses I guess.
* Jim Tressel — just one book — “What It Means to Be a Buckeye: Jim Tressel and Ohio State’s Greatest Players”:amazon. Jim writes a foreword here, the book is not about him though. Kind of akin to the 2nd book in the Weis listings, the least self-aggrandizing title.
* LLoyd Carr. Nada. Apparently people in Michigan can’t write. Or read.
* Bob Stoops. Two titles, the obligatory “What It Means To Be A Sooner: Barry Switzer, Bob Stoops And Oklahoma’s Greatest Players (What It Means)”:amazon and “Heir to the Sooner Legacy: The Championship Story of Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops”:amazon written by some 3rd party. Apparently people in Oklahoma are doubly infinitely more literate than people in Michigan.
* Pete Carroll. No “what it means to be a trojan” title, just a 3rd party championship season “Conquest: Pete Carroll And The Trojans’ Climb To The Top Of The College Football Mountain”:amazon title.
* Joe Paterno. You don’t coach longer than Stoops and Tressel have been alive without getting a truckload of books written about you. Deservedly so. Some authored by him, most not. If I were to buy one, it would be Quotable Joe

So I’d have to say — Paterno is the clear accomplishment winner — great accomplishments, long career, many books. Stoops, Tressel, Carroll all seem to be right in line with their accomplishments. Carr needs a better PR firm. And Weis wins the pompous bombast title — maybe he should be coaching defense instead of writing a fricking book.

Recent Reads

Last book posting for a little while…I am heads down on a lot of other things and probably won’t get a lot of books read for a while.

* “Three Days To Never”:amazon by Tim Powers. If you’ve never read Powers before, this is a good place to start. Good characters, the typical Powers scenario of magic and evil just under the surface of our rational world. If you have read Powers before, I’m not sure this will add anything to your life.
* “Gone for Good”:amazon by Harlan Coben. A decent twisty coben mystery. Won’t stick to your ribs but a good beach/airplane book.
* “The Enemy”:amazon by Lee Child. Another great reacher story. Earlier in his career. I think I like the later career stories better.
* “The Man Who Stayed Behind”:amazon by Rittenberg. Very engaging memoir by someone who lived thru some of the most dramatic events of the 20th century. You can really feel the revolutionary fervor of mao’s china. On reflection it seems amazing how well the america revolution ended up — the quick settling into a durable democratic structure is quite a different than what china went thru or what france went thru.
* “Frameshift”:amazon by Robert Sawyer. been on the shelf forever. a decent medical mystery with better-than-average characters who you can really care about.

On other book fronts:

* Brad Feld’s vacation book list. Probably some gems in here
* This Collecterz thingy might be worth trying. I couldn’t get their site to accept any credit cards tho, all my banks rejected the charges. Oh well.

Water based fog system

Apparently I have failed to link to the system I use for my primary fog system at halloween — fogmachines. The system hasbeen trouble-free for me for years and puts out a ton of fog. It is very wet of course, but then it is usually wet around here at Halloween anyway

Just what is so freaking secret?

I’ve been thinking about HP’s actions — A Little Ludwig Goes A Long Way: "Pretexting" — and I’ve been wondering — just what is the board of a public company talking about that is so freaking secret? Why do they feel the need to treat a leak like a threat to national security? I really can’t wrap my head around this. I wonder why more board meetings aren’t open like many government proceedings are. I bet that would put a damper on ceo pay abuses among other board missteps.

Basic Lovefest

Feld Thoughts: Where Has BASIC Gone? — Feld and commenters participate in the discussion about BASIC.

I’ve recently come back to BASIC, programming BASIC stamps for Halloween. I have to say, it is quite fun to be able to jump into a program so fast without all the object/ui/typing/etc overhead of “modern” languages or “modern” incarnations of BASIC. totally dangerous of course, but still quite fun. i’d rather be able to use python or something a bit more au courant, but they don’t make Python stamps.

Halloween ramping up

All my gear and props delivered from door  to door storage over the weekend and unpacked today.  I’ve used these guys for storage for 4 years now and they have been great.

Got my pneumatic valves hooked up to EFX-TEK :: Prop-1 Controller. This is my planned controller strategy this year. Seems to work just great — I don’t have air hooked up yet but the valves are all click-clacking away under program control.

Also got my i-zombie lighting controllers today. As is obvious, I am moving away a little from pc-based control this year and towards a bunch of discrete systems — easier to debug, harder to manage.

Oh and Scott graciously showed me some of his past work — awesome. I am really motivated to give the axworthy ghost another try tho I may not have the time this year.

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Big Ten looked pretty lame today

Of course the Buckeyes looked brilliant in beating Texas in Texas as expected. So all is basically right with the world. But look at the rest of these outcomes — NCAA Football Scoreboard – CBS

* Wisconsin seemed to win handily over a weak opponent, they can feel good.
* Michigan and Michigan State won by big margins over weak opponents — but each gave up a lot of first half points.
* Iowa, Purdue, and Indiana struggled to win against clearly inferior opponents. I guess Indiana should feel good about any victory.
* Penn State and Minnesota thumped by top 25 teams.
* and Illinois and Northwestern thumped by weak opponents.

After the 11-0 Big Ten start last week I was feeling pretty good about the league. Not so much now.