Get Your iPod from a Rotating Corkscrew

What a wonderful machineAh, the vending machine.

The overlord of the break room. The glowing ruler of the school hallway. A place to exchange your lose pocket change for a foil bag or plastic bottle full of tasty goodness. That is, until now…

According to this article in Monday’s edition of The Hartford Courant, Macy’s department store in the Westfarms mall is now offering various high-priced electronics via vending machines. That’s right, with a simple swipe of your credit card, an iPod can drop off a shelf and into your possession, just like a bag of Doritos. Now, personally, I’d rather be able to handle the product and examine all the specs before I make an expensive electronics purchase, but maybe this idea could work. If nothing else, it could make for some hilarious variations of classic vending machine malfunctions:

“The *@#$! machine ate my money!” – You know this one. You put the appropriate amount of cash in the machine. You punch the appropriate numbers for the snack you crave. Then… NOTHING HAPPENS! What the hell! The machine just stole the change that you worked so very hard to dig out from underneath the driver’s seat. Worse yet, unless there’s a janitor or something around, there is not a blasted thing you can do about it. You’re just out a buck-and-a-half. Just wait until this happens when somebody swipes their credit card for $300 trying to buy an iPod. There will be hell to pay.

Curse you evil machine!The Hanging Tease – This is the ultimate in vending machine frustrations. In goes the money, and you punch in the number. The corkscrew begins corkscrewing, and the snack tiptoes closer to the edge. The tastiness is soon to be in your hands. But then… IT STOPS! It’s HANGING THERE! Very possibly it is upside down. Unfortunately, it’s either pinned up against the glass, or snagged on the end of the corkscrew. Either way, it just isn’t falling down. Once again, unless there’s a janitor around, you are pretty much helpless. The easy solution is to scrounge up enough change to buy another of the same product, and to save one for later. Your other option is to body check the vending machine in attempts to free the snack. Small riots may occur if this happens to somebody’s iPod. There is also a high likelihood in people being flattened by tipping over vending machines in their rage.

Product damage – Seriously, how can having an iPod be shoved off a shelf and falling a good five feet to the retrieval area below be a good thing? I cringe when I see somebody buy a glass-bottled SoBe from the top shelf. It seems to me like these things should shatter way more often than they do. I’ve already broken one iPod from a fall that wasn’t any higher than your average vending machine. Granted, it wasn’t in it’s original packaging, but this still doesn’t seem like a good idea.

The Two-for-One – Now this… this is the one place where buying an iPod from a vending machine could turn into a jackpot for a lucky consumer. Every so often, you go to buy your potato chips from a machine, and instead of one bag dropping down, the corkscrew gets overzealous and pops out two bags of salty, tasty goodness. You must praise the vending machine gods when this happens, for it truly is a miracle. However, something tells me that stores might take steps to keep this from happening with expensive electronics devices.

“Honey, I’m stuck in the vending machine!” –  You know how every once in a while you see some crazy story about a little kid climbing into a vending machine and getting stuck? Well, imagine the temptation of an iPod in a vending machine. I can see full-grown adults somehow managing to get themselves (or at least an appendage) wedged into a vending machine in search of a free music player.

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Scorpions On a Plane! – Nope, not another Samuel L. Jackson movie. There really was a scorpion that stung a man on an international flight.

Spy Transmitters Hidden in Coins – This story is actually a little bit creepy. It’s a crazy world we live in. Note: don’t let the headline fool you. Canadians are not spying on us. Rather, it appears some other country is placing spy devices in fake Canadian coins.

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Why Ohio State Didn’t Win

Excuses? Ohio State had plenty of them.Well, it sure didn’t take long.

Only one day after taking a serious whooping at the hands of the Gators (see last night’s post for full analysis), Ohio State has determined all the reasons they lost the Bowl Championship Series National Championship game. That is to say, the Buckeyes have become making excuses. Lucky for us, we were able to catch some of the reasons cited by Buckeye Nation as responsible for their loss. Here they are:

  • “But… but… we hadn’t played since November. We were rusty. Florida had played two games since the last time we took the field. Clearly they had an unfair advantage.”
  • You know the Red Sox want him in their outfield.“Teddy Ginn Jr. was on crutches the entire game after his opening kickoff return. How were we supposed to run an offense without him?” (Side note: after seeing him on crutches, the Red Sox offered Ginn $70 million over five years to play left field.)
  • “Wait a minute. Weren’t we supposed to be playing Michigan in this game?”
  • “Unfortunately, this one was over before it started. Our first and biggest mistake was wearing the Arizona Cardinals’ colors in their building. After that, the suck just kind of happened naturally.”
  • “Troy Smith’s Heisman Trophy was confiscated by airport security back in Ohio. We had planned on putting it out there as our offensive line. Instead, we were forced to send out those five clowns.”
  • “Florida totally kept switching quarterbacks all game! Is that even legal?”
  • “We apologize to our fans, but we had to take one on the chin for the state of Ohio. We just couldn’t let the Ohio University Bobcats be the only football team from the state to get routed in a bowl game this weekend.”
  • “We did the best we could, but honestly, our players were all just blinded by the glare off of Eddie George’s head from the FOX set. We simply weren’t prepared for that.”
  • He just didn’t think it was right for him to coach in this game.Coach Jim Tressel decided to abstain from making rational coaching decisions in this game. After the game Tressel said, “I didn’t think it was appropriate that Ohio State would help decide the National Championship. There were two great teams out on that field and we relished being there, but I didn’t think it was appropriate for us to participate in something like that.”
  • “Shit! These guys were just way better than anybody else we played all season. Damn!”

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Some random news links:

Diet Pills for Dogs – This says something about the culture we live in. I’m not sure what, or if I even want to know, but it says something. (Credit: got this one from the 1/9/07 edition of Al’s Morning Meeting over at Poynter).

Man’s Wallet Returned After 62 Years – Along the same line’s as the story from yesterday’s post about the letter which was recently delivered though it had been postmarked in 1954.

Rats in Arizona Toilets – Yeah, that would creep me out.

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CHOMPED!

University of Florida GatorsFlorida wins all the TostitosThe hardware goes to the GatorsIt was exactly what everyone expected.

It was a blowout.

The best team in the nation proved it with authority, and made people question if the other team should even be there.

But wait, it was also so very, very different than what everyone expected. The three things mentioned above happened, but it’s not the red and silver who are celebrating, but rather the blue and orange. How can that be? Could Florida really be the best team in the nation? Who would ever have thought that the champion of the nation’s toughest conference would go into the biggest game of the season and down a team that had an inferior schedule in a weaker conference? Wait a minute. Wait. A. Minute. I think we picked Florida right here, on this very blog. Indeed we did. Alright, enough sarcasm. On to the analysis.

What went right for Florida:

Field position. Throughout the first half, the Gators turned great field position into 34 points. Only one of Florida’s first half scoring drives started inside their own 30, and that one was a 71-yard touchdown drive that started at their own 29. Florida started first half drives at the Ohio State 46 (resulting in a touchdown), the Ohio State 34 (touchdown), their own 29 (touchdown), their own 20 (punt), their own 42 (field goal), the Ohio State 29 (field goal), and the Ohio State 5 (touchdown). That’s an AVERAGE drive start of about a foot outside the Ohio State 46-yard-line. Even if you throw out that last possession (which began as a result of Troy Smith getting sacked and fumbling), Florida’s average drive start was at their own 47. Ohio State let Florida work with a short field far too often, and it resulted in a halftime hole they could never dig out of.

What went wrong for Ohio State:

Their offensive line. Yikes. Troy Smith was under siege all night long. He was sacked five times, and forced out of the pocket or hurried more than a handful more times. One sack near the end of the second quarter resulted in a fumble which gave Florida the ball at the Ohio State five-yard-line and led to the touchdown which pretty much put the game out of reach at half time. The Buckeye offensive line was just not very good all night and were simply over-powered by Derrick Harvey (3 sacks) and Jarvis Moss (2 sacks).

Turning point of the game:

There’s 3:43 to play in the second quarter and the score is 24-14 Florida. Ohio State faces fourth-and-one at their own 29. A 10-point deficit shouldn’t be cause for panic when your offense is led by the Heisman Trophy winner. Yet, panic is exactly what Buckeye coach Jim Tressel did. He chose to go for it and Chris Wells got stuffed on a halfback smash play over the right side. That’s a turnover on downs, which Florida quickly converts into a field goal. Having their coach flinch first really took out whatever wind might have been left in the Buckeyes sails. Troy Smith came back out on the field and fumbled the football, which turned into another seven points for Florida, and the game was effectively over by halftime.

Play of the game:

There’s a few plays you could turn to for this one, but I’m going to pick a slightly different one than a lot of people would. With just over six minutes left in the second quarter, Florida faced fourth-and-15 at the Ohio State 26, and held a 21-14 lead. Chris Hetland came in and lined up to kick a 43-yard field goal. The commentators on FOX proceeded to remind us that Hetland had a rough year and had converted on only four of his 13 field goal attempts. However, the snap came back, the hold went down, and Hetland blasted one straight through the middle of the uprights. His pretty much perfect kick gave the Gators a 10-point lead and more importantly inflated Florida’s confidence in their ability to put points on the board one way or another. Furthermore, it rattled Ohio State and coach Tressel, as would become obvious on the next drive, when Tressel would make the play call which served as the turning point of the game above.

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Looking back to yesterday’s post, we highlighted three match-ups that would be keys to this game. Let’s take a brief look at how each went:

Troy Smith vs. Florida defense (result: bigtime advantage, Florida)

The Florida defense was on Smith like white on rice all night long. The Heisman Trophy winner never had a chance. Of course, as we mentioned above, his offensive line didn’t help. The Florida defense recorded five sacks, forced and recovered a fumble, and picked up an interception against Smith.

Florida quarterbacks vs. Ohio State linebackers (result: another big win for Florida)

The two-quarterback system in use by Florida confounded the Ohio State defense all night long. On the first play of the second half, the Gators faced third-and-goal at the Ohio State two-yard line. Tim Tebow is on the field, so everyone expects him to keep the ball and head for the endzone. Instead, he hands off to DeShawn Wynn who heads straight up the middle for the score. Later, with 23 seconds left in the second quarter, again Florida faces third-and-goal, this time from the Ohio State three-yard line. Tebow on the field again, and he takes the ball from the center and starts to roll left. He’s just going to lower the shoulder and plow to the endzone, right? Wrong. Pass to Andre Caldwell for six points. The Buckeyes didn’t know what was coming from the Florida offense, and that was thanks to the Gators using multiple looks with both of their quarterbacks.

Florida running game vs. Ohio State front seven (result: slight edge, Florida)

The Gator running game was definitely not as successful as I thought it would have to be for a win. However, it was just effective enough. The combination of running back threats and quarterbacks who can run the ball left Ohio State with no idea what would happen in short-yardage situations. In addition, while they technically counted as pass plays, Florida threw a number of balls out in the flats which were caught either behind or at the line of scrimmage and used screens for their backs and receivers to turn them into respectable gains.

All in all, the game was the blowout that everyone expected.

Except that it was everything they didn’t expect as well.

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Just a couple of random links:

Pennsylvania Man Receives Letter Postmarked in 1954 – Ladies and gentlemen, the United States Postal Service.

Duke Lacrosse Player Speaks Out to Newsweek – Nice to see that he’s fighting to keep going in life despite the fact that the District Attorney in North Carolina seems hell-bent on ruining it. Someday, the Duke Lacrosse saga will be looked at as one of the tragic sports stories of our time. The lack of ethics from the prosecution have been nothing short of astounding.

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Monday Night Madness

University of Florida GatorsOne last hurrah for a great college football seasonThe Ohio State University BuckeyesTomorrow night, the #2 University of Florida Gators take on the #1 Buckeyes of the Ohio State University in Glendale, Arizona in the Tostitos Bowl Championship Series National Championship game. It is certainly tough to imagine this game living up to the Fiesta Bowl from a week ago (if you haven’t heard about the Boise State – Oklahoma contest, please come out from under your rock and go do some Googling), but many are expecting a very entertaining contest nonetheless. About a month ago, when the championship pairing was first announced, we posted our initial tale of the tape on this game. Right now it is time to take a more in-depth look at the three match-ups which will decide this football game, and thus the national champion via the USA Today Coaches Poll:

Troy Smith vs. Florida Defense

This is, of course, the big one. For Troy Smith, Monday night’s game is the opportunity to come up with the crowning achievement for his college football career. Smith has beaten Michigan three times in a row. He has won the Heisman Trophy. He has obliterated Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. All that’s left for the Ohio State quarterback is to hoist the Sears Trophy as the winner of a national championship. For the Florida defense, it isn’t so much whether or not Smith will put points on the scoreboard (he will), but rather how many and how quickly he will put them up. If the Gators can keep Smith somewhat in check and keep this one from becoming a barn-burner, Florida will be in decent shape. If it becomes a track meet, Ohio State might just run away with it.

Florida Quarterbacks vs. Ohio State Linebackers

Throughout the season, the Gators have used a two-quarterback system with great success. Chris Leak and Tim Tebow have mixed up the looks and kept defenses on their heels. Leak is a run-and-gunner who has a deadly accurate arm, and speed to get outside and rack up the yards if the defense loses track of him. Tebow is a little bit bigger (6’3″, 225 lbs.) and more powerful for use in short yardage and goal-to-go situations. Much has been made throughout the year of coach Urban Meyer’s use of this two-quarterback system. Some have applauded it, while others have criticized it. Either way, it has worked so far for the Gators, and it will be a key Monday night against Ohio State. If the two can continue to interchange effectively and give Florida two different looks against the Buckeyes, it will greatly enhance the effectiveness of the Florida offense. It will be up to the Ohio State linebackers to stay on their toes and keep track of who is on the field at all times so they can adjust their reads and blitzes accordingly.

Florida Running Game vs. Ohio State Front Seven

This is perhaps the most important of the three match-ups we’ve highlighted. I firmly believe that the success (or lack of success) by Florida’s running backs (and their quarterbacks carrying the ball as well) will have a very large effect on the outcome of this football game. If Florida can put together a successful running game, not only does it take some of the pressure of of Leak, but it also allows the Gators to control the ball and the clock. The more successful rushes Florida puts together, the longer the clock runs without the ball being in the hands of the Buckeyes and thus in the hands of Troy Smith. Obviously, anytime that Troy Smith is not on the field is a big plus for the Gators. A successful Florida running game will keep the score of the game lower, and I think that will play into the hands of the Gators. It seems a shootout would greatly favor Ohio State. On the other hand, if the Buckeyes defensive line can stuff the Florida run and force some three-and-out possessions, they will give Smith more opportunities with the football and thus more opportunities to score.

Final Thoughts

This should be one heck of a football game. I say Florida by seven, but only if they get that running game working and working well. If the Gators get stuffed routinely on the run, look for Ohio State to win by 10 or more.

Depending on the status of my internet connection (it’s been shaky at best now that I’m at home instead of at school), I’ll try to be back online after the game tomorrow or on Tuesday with some reactions.

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Just a couple links from the day:

Connecticut Children Headed for Success – Interesting. It seems kids raised and schooled in Connecticut are more likely to be headed for success than children in 48 states. Only West Virginia bested the Nutmeg State. Good news for me, I guess. Of course, I have no idea how they define “success.”

NASA Space Probes in ’70s May Have Killed Life on Mars – Interesting read.

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Breaking Up Your Own Wedding and Blowing the Big Game

Rewarding unReasonable Actions Everywhere… And, we’re back. Yes, I’m getting lazy. That’s what happens over winter break. Oh well. This is the weekly awards post (back after a one-week hiatus). Also in the works is another (more serious) BCS National Championship preview post coming later tonight or in the wee hours of Monday morning. But for now, on with the awards. Every Sunday, “The Voice of (un)Reason” presents two unReason of the Week Awards, one each in the field of sports and news. These awards honor the most ridiculous, inane, or downright stupid things we found over the course of the previous week. For this week, we honor the following:

Probably not the best time to crack a one-linerIn the field of news, we honor an Austrian Woman who cracked a joke at the altar which led the priest to call off the wedding on the spot. The couple had to wait two and a half months to do it all over again and officially tie the knot. Now, I appreciate a good joke as much as the next guy, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say the wedding altar is neither the time or the place. If her father was footing the bill for the wedding, I’m sure he was quite happy.

D’oh!On the sports side of things, we salute the Dallas Cowboys for their spectacular choke job in Seattle in last night’s NFC Wild Card Playoff. To recap, the Cowboys had a 20-13 lead, and had just stood at the goal line to protect the lead. Then, Terry Glenn fumbled the ball out of his own end-zone for a safety. Now it’s 20-15, and Seattle’s getting the ball back. Just over four minutes left, and the Seahawks strike for a 37-yard touchdown and a 21-20 lead after the two-point conversion fails. However, the Cowboys then slice through the Seattle defense to the one-and-a-half yard line and a chip shot field goal with just over one minute to play. It’s a 23-21 victory for Dallas, right? Wrong. Bad snap on the field goal attempt, bumbled around by Tony Romo, and the Seattle defense stops him before he can recover and scramble for the first down. Seattle runs out the clock and moves on to face Chicago or New Orleans next week. Good show, Cowboys.

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A Couple Other Links From the Week

Connecticut Woman Runs Over Wallaby – Wait. What? A wallaby? In Connecticut? Crazy.

Woman’s Bra Strap Lessens Injuries From Errant Bullet – You can’t make this stuff up.

Caltech Basketball Ends 11-Year Losing Streak – … By Beating Quinnipiac. No, just kidding on the last part. But, good for them to finally get one in the win column. That is a looooooooooong time between victories.

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Resolving to Keep Things Interesting

Happy New Year!A very Happy New Year to everyone!

Now, count me in among those who just don’t get the New Year’s celebration. It’s a whole bunch of hype and buildup for what? Midnight? Whoop-de-freakin’-doo! I see midnight every night. Heck, some nights I’m just finally getting around to eating dinner at like midnight. It happens. So I don’t really get why there’s all this hoopla over the start of a year as arbitrarily defined by our calendar. I understand from a mental standpoint a new year may offer a clean slate and a fresh start of sorts. But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t erase anything good or bad that happened during the previous year and it also doesn’t mean that the new year will necessarily be better or worse than the last. I’ll admit, I’m excited for the first couple months of 2007, but I’m excited because of the EVENTS that are happening, not because it’s a new year. Quinnipiac’s opening a brand new hockey and basketball arena. I’m starting my final semester as an undergraduate. College basketball and college and pro hockey seasons really kick into full swing. Baseball season is just around the corner. It’s an exciting time, but I’d be happy for these events if they happened in November or July, or whenever else. So, I just don’t get New Year’s. Maybe I’m just not cool.

In any event, here at the Voice of (un)Reason we’ve stumbled across (read: made up) the New Year’s resolutions of some prominent athletic figures:

Allen Iverson resolves not to throw a hissy fit over practice in Denver… at least until Carmelo stops sharing the ball with him.

Carmelo Anthony resolves not to punch anybody and then run 70 feet in the opposite direction… at least until A.I. stops sharing the ball with him.

The Giants tried hard to get him fired in 2006, but made the playoffs instead. They’ll try again in 2007.The New York Giants resolve to get their coach, Tom Coughlin,  fired… even if they have to implode in a first round playoff game and keep throwing each other under the bus all next season to make it happen.

Barry Bonds resolves to whine that racism is keeping him from being signed… that racism is why his new (and/or old) teammates hate him… that racism is why the media is targeting him… that racism is why he stubbed his toe on the bathtub in the morning… that racism is responsible for his appearance in this blog… that racism, and not steroids, shrunk his testicles… etc, etc, etc.

Gary Bettman resolves to continue his ongoing goal of driving the sport of hockey further into obscurity in America… his next step is to infuriate players and fans alike by changing the game’s jerseys.

The Sox would easily offer him close to $20 million a year.The Boston Red Sox resolve to offer a five-year, $90 million deal to bring B.J. Surhoff out of retirement… because they really need another outfielder who will only play 100 games and hit about .280.

John Daly resolves to wager a large sum of money on the Houston Texans to win the Super Bowl.

The Houston Texans resolve to draft a defensive back over Brady Quinn and Troy Smith if they are given the opportunity… they like their chances with David Carr.

The Detroit Lions resolve to fire Matt Millen… only to re-hire him for three times what they’re currently paying him… sorry Lions fans.

The Tigers hope to stop this in 2007.The Detroit Tigers resolve to make their pitchers practice throwing to the bases in spring training this time around.

The Cincinnati Bengals resolve to partner with a local bail bond company and establish a “Every Sixth Bail-Out Free” promotional program.

O.J. Simpson resolves not to kill anybody else… but if he did, this is how he would do it…

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No news links today. I took the holiday week off from constantly surfing the news. As such, you may have noticed there were no unReason of the Week Awards, either. They should return next week.

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A General for All Sports

Soon to be the winningest coach in college basketball history.Sometime in the near future, Bob Knight will collect his 880th victory as a college basketball coach and surpass Dean Smith as the all-time winningest coach in college basketball history. This may happen as soon as tomorrow night, when Knight’s Texas Tech Raiders host the Rebels of Nevada-Las Vegas. Of course, the debate as to whether Knight is the greatest coach in college basketball history, a control-freak nutjob, or something in between is entirely open for debate. However, one thing that is pretty much not debatable is that “The General” is one of the greatest motivators of all time. Throughout his career, he has gotten the most out of players whose talent is inferior to that of the players at the nation’s true powerhouse college hoops programs. All the recent Knight hoopla has once again brought his questionable coaching tactics and fiery personality to the center stage. It has made us wonder, given Knight’s take-no-nonsense attitude, how he would deal with some of the crybaby professional sports figures of our time. We hypothesize how “The General” would have dealt with the following:

Chad Johnson – “Ocho Cinco” is no longer a nickname, but the number of stitches the egotistical wide reciever must recieve after Knight clobbers Johnson upside the head with his clipboard following some ludicrous touchdown dance.

Barry Bonds – Steroid accusations and BALCO would be the least of Bonds’ worries if Knight was running the show as the Giants bench boss. Bonds’ roid rage would most likely be vastly overshadowed by Knight’s rage watching Barry dog it in left field for 130 games a year.

Terrell Owens – Owens drops potential first down pass on third-and-seven. Owens walks off field with head down. Knight pops Owens under the chin to get him to make eye contact. Owens storms off the field and attempts to commit suicide, except he fails when he drops the gun too. Wash, rinse, repeat.

The New York Giants – This would perhaps be the biggest test yet for Knight as he is forced to pick up the pieces following the unmitigated disaster that is the Tom Coughlin era. I bet Jeremy Shockey’s a lot less tough and reveals what a pretty-boy he really is when Knight violently grabs him by the face mask and tells him to “shut the hell up and just catch the damned ball.” Unfortunately, I don’t think even Bobby Knight could teach R.W. McQuarters how to cover a wide receiver or make a tackle.

Allen Iverson – “The Answer” would not be skipping practice on “The General’s” watch. Not if he values breathing, anyway.

Latrell Spreewell – I would love to see Spree try to choke Bobby Knight. Knight would have just strangled Spreewell right back.

Imagine if a chair hit Van Gundy right about now.Jeff Van Gundy – I’d wager it’s a lot tougher to hold on to and bite Alonzo Mourning’s ankles when you get clobbered by a chair that’s been flung across the court.

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Random link-age:

From the Department of Unfortunate Names – Check out the name of the U.K.’s Chief of the Defence Staff. You can’t make this stuff up. (Credit: got this one from Uni Watch).

Man Sets Himself on Fire to Protest Naming of School Vacations – Wait. What? Psycho.

The Anatomy of a Shopping Mall – Interesting article about how shopping malls figure out which stores go where. (Credit: found this one at Al’s Morning Meeting over at Poynter).

Man Continues to Drink During D.U.I. Arrest – What an asshole.

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