May 27 2015

Challenge: Terrible ideas for movie tie-in promotions. Name the movie and the worst possible company to do a tie-in. E.g. “Horrible Bosses”, brought to you by Comcast. Or, iRobot presents “I, Robot”.

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May 26 2015

Great stuff. The third track is outstanding.

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May 22 2015

Supreme crappiness

May 21 2015

There was a satanic ritual abuse scare in my neighborhood back in the ’80s

Back in 1984, in Rogers Park, Chicago, there existed (and still exists today) a Jewish preschool on Touhy Avenue, the street where I currently live.

It happened that a woman was picking her four-year-old daughter from school, and as they were walking through the hall, a janitor tried to tickle the little girl, and the girl told him to leave her alone.

So the mom asks the girl about it later, and the girl alleged that the janitor had previously tickled her private parts.   The allegations were reported to the police, who then interviewed something like 80 kids at the school.  Some of the kids apparently reported that there were satanic rituals going on at the school.  Some kids claimed they had seen the teachers there kill a baby, cook it in a kettle, and then eat it.

Ultimately, there was an investigation, the janitor was charged with molestation and the school closed down for a while.  Eventually, the janitor was acquitted, and two-hundred-something charges against the school and various teachers were dropped, because of either lack of evidence or a bumbled investigation, depending on who you ask.

In case you were wondering because of the superficial similarities, A Nightmare on Elm Street was also released in 1984.

I discovered this today because we published an article about a couple in Texas who just had their 20-year-old convictions tossed in a similar satanic ritual abuse situation.

And that led me to an article one of my co-workers wrote back in 1987 about the Rogers Park case.

Here’s the most authoritative version I’ve been able to find in my brief research.  It appears from this that the judge in the case felt like there was a real possibility that sexual abuse had occurred, but because it had become this satanic cult witch hunt, the investigation had been compromised, and thus there was reasonable doubt, requiring the acquittal.

Interesting story, eh?

May 20 2015

Home cooking for the savvy bachelor: Hamburgers, without triggering the smoke detector

So, I honestly can’t believe it took me so long to figure this trick out.

If you’re like me, you’ve made hamburgers or cheeseburgers at home plenty of times.  And, if you’re like me, you’ve learned to unplug the battery from the smoke detector before you start cooking the patties because it’s going to undoubtedly smoke up the house a little.  There’s even an episode of Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home in which Julia Child jokes that the best place to cook hamburgers is at your friend’s house, because it’s inevitably going to smoke the place up.

I mean, you want to get a good sear on those things, and since it’s ground meat, you definitely want to get it cooked well.  Beef fat’s got a low smoke point, though, so by the time the patty is cooked, the beef fat has started to burn, and you end up smoking everything up.

But it turns out the secret is simple.  For years and years, I’ve just thrown the patties into a dry pan because I knew they’d render plenty of fat when they cook, and I didn’t see any reason to add more fat.  But the secret is to use a little bit of oil with a high smoke point to get the patties started.  Just pour in maybe two or three teaspoons of something like canola oil into the pan (I prefer cast iron) before you put the burgers in, and that will raise the smoke point of the beef fat which renders as the patty cooks.

Simple and brilliant, and makes it much more convenient to cook hamburgers at home in a small apartment kitchen.

May 04 2015

How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing…

“Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”

Click here for the full article

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May 04 2015

My Alex Pardee painting arrived! I love it!


Apr 07 2015

ABA Journal nominated for a 2015 Webby award

Oh, hey, the website I work on just got nominated for a Webby award. This is the first time we’ve been a nominee since 2008.  I suppose it doesn’t hurt that we gave the site over the last year.

Vote for the ABA Journal, won’t you?

(UPDATE 4/28/2015:  Unfortunately, we didn’t win.  Booo.  Well, there’s always next year.)

Apr 06 2015

Wait, what?


Mar 30 2015

I think I found a bug in the friendly AI.