Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sports Nerds

A colleague of mine mentioned the other day that he plays fantasy football. I said that it was a nerdy thing to do, and he tried to argue with it. Now, I don't mean anything negative when I say "nerdy," but apparently people that are really into sports find it to be offensive. (I also don't mean anything negative about the person in question--he's a great guy.)

[Image taken from here.]

But the bottom line is that people that are really into sports have a lot in common with nerds.

I should point out that I don't think everyone who enjoys watching sports is a nerd, just like everyone who's seen Star Wars obviously isn't a nerd (otherwise I think 99.999% of the population would all be nerds).

The most obvious resemblance is due to fantasy football. This goes beyond the mere term "fantasy," and it's such a nerdy thing to do that it hardly needs explaining.

Fantasy football, it is argued, is somehow "real," whereas the things which concern traditional nerds, Warhammer 40,000 for instance, are apparently less than "real." The thing is, I'm not sure what resemblance an athletic competition has to real life. Neither one is real in the sense that it has any bearing on a person's day-to-day life--or on anyone's day-to-day life--and that to me is the defining difference between real and not real. Football is no more real than Babylon 5. Both are exhibitions for entertainment purposes, and the fact that one is entirely preplanned makes no difference.

The focus on statistics (both in and out of the fantasy football leagues) is incredibly nerdy, and I don't see how focusing on the statistics of, say, Peyton Manning, is any different from focusing on the statistics of a Timber Wolf BattleMech.

Trivia is also a huge source of resemblance between the two varieties of nerds. Look, I don't care who won the 1944 Rose Bowl anymore than I care which numbered episodes of Star Trek involved beings of pure energy.

ESPN (along with its offshoots) is probably the most thrashing indictment of any perceived difference between sports nerds and traditional nerds. They have an entire network, ESPN Classic, dedicated to the great athletic competitions of yesteryear. Sounds like people watching the original Star Trek series to me.

The nerdiest thing you'll find on the ESPN networks, though (aside from discussions of fantasy football), is the completely irrelevant arguments they make and then televise. Discussions of hypothetical situations abound: what would happen if Team A defeats Team B and Team C beats Team A? Wow! Wouldn't that be awesome! Or wait--who's better, the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team or the 2004 USC Trojans? Of course, it would also be really cool to see what would happen if Spawn and Batman were in the same comic. But wait a minute--there's actually a comic to see what would happen if Spawn and Batman were together, so, which one is more "real" now?

This is just a start, though. There are many other resemblances you could find, if you worked at it. And the only point I'm trying to make here is that all nerds are the same. Sports nerds, no matter how much they want to be, are no better than sci-fi nerds. There are, of course, many other varieties of nerds, and that is the subject of the following illustration, which is by no means all-inclusive (click to see larger):

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Exterior Paint

The exterior is (mostly) painted now. These pictures were taken on Saturday, November 18.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My High School Wins State Football Championship

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Aron Eddy's 10-yard run in overtime completed second-ranked and unbeaten Pierce's comeback from a three-touchdown deficit and gave the Bluejays a 34-28 victory over No. 3 Bishop Neumann in the Class C1 championship game today.

Pierce prevailed after Neumann failed to get off a 23-yard field goal attempt on the initial overtime series.

Eddy was stuffed on his first carry in overtime, but he found a hole on his second and slipped out of the grasps of Kyle Bartek and Keith Chvatal before falling forward into the end zone.

Eric Koehlmoos ran for a game-high 76 yards and completed 8 of 11 passes for 155 yards. Dylan McGill was 15 of 26 for 241 yards for Neumann.

Courtesy: Associated Press
I got the story courtesy of KOLN/KGIN.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I think Giuliani may have just earned my vote.

Personally, I think I prefer John McCain, but with all the flak Republicans have gotten for the last several years, I don't know whether or not he could beat any of the Democrats except for Hillary. Giuliani has appeal to either side, and I think he could beat any of the Democratic contenders.

By the way, you can't seriously think that Hillary is electable. She sticks her foot in her mouth more than George W. Bush, she waffles on the issues more than John Kerry, and she would motivate every Republican in the country to vote just so she wouldn't get into office, regardless of who they were inadvertently voting into office.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Great Sale

I just found out that someone ordered 171 copies of "Dome at the Sunken Gardens", and that makes me feel special. I kind of wonder why they ordered so many. I would guess it's for resale, but who knows?

Dome at the Sunken Gardens

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Full Metal Chili

I promised it before, so here it is: the recipe for Full Metal Chili.
Here are the ingredients you'll need:

- 1 pound hamburger (or up to 1 and a half pounds)
- 1 can (46 oz) tomato juice
- 1 can (16 oz) kidney beans
- 1 can (16 oz) pinto beans
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) chili powder (without this, it's not chili)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2-3 teaspoons any combination of Tabasco or Louisiana hot sauce

- chopped scallions

Brown the hamburger and drain the fat. Chop the onion, not too fine, but not too chunky. In a crock pot or kettle (crock pot recommended) mix all the ingredients together. I like to use three teaspoons of hot sauce, but that's too spicy for most people, so one teaspoon each of Tabasco and Louisiana hot sauce (cayenne pepper sauce) is probably best.

If cooking in a crock pot, which is recommended, run it on hot for an hour, stirring every ten minutes or so. At this point it's ready, but ideally, you should run it on low for at least an additional three hours, stirring whenever you feel like it.

If cooking in a kettle, bring it to a boil, stirring regularly, and then put it on low for another three hours or so.

That's all there is to it! It's a pretty spicy recipe, and very soupy. If you like it thick, this is not the recipe for you. If you don't like it spicy, then this is not the recipe for you. But if you like good, soupy, spicy chili, this is a great recipe. It's good if served by itself, or with crackers, cheese, or cinnamon rolls.

By the way, I have a pretty nifty desktop background for your computer in time for Halloween, available in 1024x768 or 1280x1024.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Our House

We're building a house down in Hickman, Nebraska, and every time we go to look at it we're just amazed at the progress. I thought I'd share it with all of you.

September 11:

September 17:

September 21:

September 30:

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tuck You in, Warm within, Keep You Free from Sin, Til . . . Santa He Comes?

I have to thank Khorbin for alerting me to . . . And Christmas for All! The Holiday Tribute to Metallica. It's just Christmas-sounding instrumental versions of ten Metallica classics. At first, I thought it was a travesty, a sinful desecration of some of the greatest compositions of all time.

Then, I started thinking, hey, if you have to listen to Christmas crap anyway during the traditional festivities and other such fun stuff, then why not make it some good Christmas stuff?

And then I heard it.

Don't waste your time with it. Whether you think it's a good idea or not, the result is terrible. The use of Christmas-themed instruments doesn't automatically change it to a Christmassy mood. But it did fundamentally alter the way it sounded. So what you're left with isn't Metallica, and it isn't Christmas either. It sounds more like ringtones or elevator music. It's just a waste of money. Stay away from it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

8 Random Facts About Myself

Normally I don't do these kinds of things, but since it was SusieQ who tagged me, I think I'll do it--but I won't tag anyone else.
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts. 2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves. 3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. 4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. 5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
Of course, as I said, I won't be tagging anyone else. I'm going to use SusieQ's 8 facts as my inspiration.

1. When I was very young, I was given a stuffed rabbit, which I named Harvey. I took him everywhere I went. One time, I left him in a local retail store, and we didn't discover this until after they were closed. I didn't sleep that night, and, needless to say, neither did my mother. We were there when they opened the next day to retrieve him.
Later, he was getting quite threadbare, so he was taken away from me so he could be saved in the cedar chest. I was told that he went to help the Easter Bunny do all his work, since this was around that time of year. A few months ago, I got him back, along with a very similar rabbit for my son.

2. In the 2000 photo of all the freshmen at Concordia University in Seward, which last I knew was hanging in the Student Life Office, you can spot me because I had sprayed my hair purple that day.

3. I was the 1996 Pierce County Spelling Bee champion. I was told that on the written portion I only missed one word, "excise," out of what I believe were 100 words. Everyone gasped when I correctly spelled the word "acquiescence" during the oral portion when it was down to me and the runner-up. We actually made it to the last word in their pre-selected list, and I won with that word: "cardiac." Kind of an anti-climactic word, yes. This was when I was in eighth grade. I made it to the top 10 the previous year, but was eliminated because I forgot the first "h" in "rhythm."

4. I had a band in high school, for which I played bass. We all were pretty terrible, as we were all just then learning our respective instruments. We played "Twist of Cain" by Danzig at our high school's talent show. Minutes before we were to go on stage, my friend who was supposed to do the vocals completely forgot the rhythm (won't forget how to spell that one) to the lyrics, so I took over, and played bass as well. It was simply awful, but not as bad as our original, meandering, aimless song, which was really a very simple riff overlaid with weird, simplistic guitar solos which were supposed to be interesting because of the cool effects pedal my friend had.

5. This past weekend I made, with the help of my wonderful mother-in-law, some peach rhubarb jam. It was made with 5 cups of rhubarb, a cup of water, a can of peach pie filling, 4 cups of sugar, and two packets of Jell-O. It ended up far too runny, so next time I'll drop the cup of water from the recipe.

6. I hate tomatoes with a burning, fiery passion. Yet, I enjoy marinara sauce, pizza sauce, and salsa. Tomato juice disgusts me, but my own recipe for Full Metal Chili (which I will someday share, when it gets colder outside) requires tomato juice as the base.

7. I have never experienced the negative effects of too much alcohol (i.e. passing out, vomiting, blacking out) because I have always drank responsibly (and I rarely ever touched it before I turned 21). I have experienced slurred speech and impaired motor skills, on occasion, but I use that as my signal to switch to drinking water or coffee. I have a high metabolism, so I experience the effects quickly, but they leave me quickly as well.

8. Right now, Laura and I are taking shifts at night for taking care of Link. I stay up with him until at least 3:00 a.m. (although I usually take a nap) and then she takes over. I then sleep until about 10:00 a.m.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed learning a little about me. I should post more often, shouldn't I? It was kind of enjoyable.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I've Never Tried This Before

But here goes . . . video on my blog.

Lily and Russell eating cupcakes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Say Hello

Say hello to Lincoln Donald Hoffart, born on Wednesday May 23 at 4:19 p.m. by cesarean section, and weighing 8 lbs, 6 ozs at 20 1/2 inches long.

Lincoln Donald Hoffart

Lincoln and Daddy

We think thus far that he has my eyes, toes, and skin tone, but Mama's cheeks and legs.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Genetic Engineering and Natural Selection

I have for a long time been concerned at the fact that as humans we have all but removed ourselves from the process of natural selection. It turns out that since chimpanzees and humans split from our common ancestor, chimpanzees have had more (in terms of quantity) beneficial mutations than have humans, providing proof that this is the case. Our technology has allowed this to be so, and as technology advances, it becomes more and more the case.

Last night, Laura was reading an article about allergies. They are increasing in prevalence at an alarming rate. There's even an Eskimo (I believe in this case it's an Inupiat) boy who is allergic to bearded seal and something-or-other whale, two staples of their diet. This trend certainly can't be attributed to anything in the environment--it must be that nature would weed out these traits in an unhappy way, by killing off those with the trait before they get a chance to reproduce.

But today this doesn't happen. Now, people die more from unhappy circumstance than from having undesirable traits. I don't believe that we should change this. It seems wrong to let people die when we have the technology to save them. I, for one, would be dead without our advanced medical technology, since I needed an appendectomy at a young age. If you think about it, there's a good chance you would be dead too, even from something as minor as a flu. Plus, I have imperfect vision, which would not be a good trait for a hunter.

I've begun to think of our removal from natural selection as a natural selection strategy in itself. I think about cockroaches and how they've been removed from the process for millions of years simply because there's no reason for them to evolve. But we are different from cockroaches because our technology has actually caused us to deteriorate our gene pool rather than to stagnate it. But what if technology ceases to work as a crutch?

I had previously thought of a partial solution to the problem. I advocate the illegalization of reproductive assistance technology. You know: in vitro fertilization and the like. This would serve the purpose of eliminating from the gene pool those who can't reproduce naturally. I was discussing this with a law school friend about a year ago, and she pointed out that it's not really any different from any of our medical life-saving techniques, at least if applied before reproduction takes place. And as far as that goes, she's right to an extent. It is only a partial solution to the problem. Even so, I still advocate this position for the moral purpose of encouraging adoption. But what is the solution?

Enter the science of genetics. People cringe at the idea of genetic manipulation and the term "designer babies." There's some kind of sense that it's wrong, that it's playing God. But there's nothing we can put our fingers on to say, "Here! This is the reason it's wrong!"

But what if we used this technology for the very limited purpose of eliminating unwanted traits from the gene pool? Instead of engineering the prettiest babies, we'll only be concerned about engineering the healthiest and the fittest babies. Allergies will be a thing of the past. Cancer will be rare. The field of optometry will be an unknown, and spectacles will be curiosities of an age past. Is there anything wrong with that? It's the same thing as what we're doing already by fixing all of our problems, only it's one step better because we're preventing them from happening in the first place.

Now, I'm not really sure how you do this without using the reproductive technology that we already have. Perhaps you can't, and in such a case I would consider changing my position on that. But if people accept this position on moral grounds, then we may see the solution to one of mankind's biggest upcoming problems, and by the end of my lifetime. Before that we of course need to solve our energy issues and global warming, and then after this we can send people off to colonize other planets (I was pretty excited about the discovery of that possibly-inhabitable planet a mere 23 light years away).

So, is this moral position correct?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Edgar to be in the News

Well, it sounds like my wife's hometown of Edgar, Nebraska, is going to be in the local news. In this small town of 500, there was a murder-suicide in the bar just last night--and the victim lived across the street from my in-laws. As I understand it, the motive was that the victim was messing around with the perpetrator's wife.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Internet Sure Is Faster These Days

I finally got this e-mail that was sent on December 17, 1960 (which, incidentally, was my negative 45th anniversary). I guess back in those days the Internet was a lot slower, and when it has to cross the Pacific Ocean it took even longer. It also appears that the 'net is going to get even faster in the future--I've gotten a lot of e-mails today that won't even be sent until January 18, 2038. Isn't it amazing how much technology can improve in just 78 years!

Friday, April 13, 2007

My First Book!

I'm pleased to announce the availability of my first-ever book! It's eighty pages long, with over ninety of my best and most popular photos in it, and right now it costs $24.99 in softcover or $38.49 in hardcover. And I'm pretty pleased with the quality too. If you've been wanting to buy one of my photos and just didn't know which one to get, this is for you. Or, maybe you just want something new on your coffee table or in your office's waiting room. Anyway, at least give it a look--on the Blurb web site you can see the first 15 pages in a reduced resolution PDF file, and you could also find out how to make your own book if you want.

What are you waiting for? Check it out!

Here are some pictures of my softcover copy of the book (I've got some hardcovers coming in the mail real soon):





Wednesday, March 21, 2007

American Idol

I think we can all safely never again use the word "douchebag," and we can forever more use the word "sanjaya." Laura said of his performance last night that he looked like "a 13 year old in front of his stupid-ass webcam." I just hope he's an organ donor, because that would be the most good he could ever do for anyone. He picked a great song and did it completely wrong. The sad thing is that the judges actually seemed to like it (except for Simon).
Another one worth mentioning is Gina Glocksen. She also picked a great song--"Paint It Black"--and completely ruined it. I can't help but think that the whole "rocker chick" thing is a facade, because it's just not believable. She looked and sounded like a drunk chick at a karaoke bar last night, and after hearing Sanjaya and then Gina both destroying perfectly good songs, I remarked casually that I was "going to go drown myself in the toilet."

Why doesn't everyone just vote for Melinda Doolittle? She is incredibly talented. While for the past two weeks she has picked terrible songs, she has always completely nailed them down and made them quite listenable. If everyone voted for the best only, she would win next week because nobody else would get any votes.
Of course, that kind of thing won't happen, since I don't vote and there are probably a million other people that are thinking the same thing that also aren't voting.
I should probably also mention Blake Lewis. I get the feeling that regardless of the results, he is going to be the most successful of the contestants this year in terms of record sales and career longevity. Laura said she would actually buy his album if he came out with one (and I'm sure he will). He's certainly quite talented at rearranging existing songs, so I suppose he could probably write pretty well too.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mosel-Brummels Wedding

My good friend Crystal Mosel (now Crystal Brummels) got married this last weekend (to a good guy named Peter Brummels), and I had the enjoyable job of taking candid shots throughout much of the hubbub, using my parents' Canon Powershot S3 IS. I posted a few others over at my photoblog here and here, but just for fun here are a bunch more:

Groom at Rehearsal
Here's the groom, Peter Brummels, giving a speech at the rehearsal.

Bride at Reception Decoration
And here is the lovely bride surveying the chaos of getting the reception hall ready.

Bride and Bridesmaids
The bride, a teacher, posing with her bridesmaids (my 7-months pregnant wife Laura is on the far left, and the others are all college friends of ours--Tina Bentley, a teacher who drove all the way from Idaho, is next to Laura, Sarah Scherer, also a teacher and my wife's former roommate, is on the far right, and Molly George, a med-tech, is in the center--apologies if I misspelled anyone's name).

Bride and Mother
The bride and her mother.

Embarrassing Picture of Molly Posted Just for Fun
I showed this to everyone else in the room first and got a laugh, and when I showed it to Molly she insisted on immediate deletion of the offending image. I'm posting it here for the world to see now, just for fun.


Sarah getting her hair sprayed and ready for action!

The soloist, Liz Gaunt (also an alumnus of Concordia University in Seward) and her son (Isaiah or Isaac, I can't remember for sure) reacting to the conversation.

Crystal and Augustus ("Gus")
Crystal and her dog Augustus, better known as Gus.

Beringer White Zinfandel
There were many, many such bottles at the reception dinner. They provided well for us all!

Best Man's Speech
The best man, Peter's brother, giving his obligatory speech.

Groom's Speech
And finally, the happy couple! Thanks much to them for letting us be a part of it all (I was also an usher). Three cheers!