Winner, winner, pizza dinner

[I won a Trader Joe's gift card!]

If you shop at Safeway, they give you a 3 cent credit each time you bring in reusable bags. When you bring reusable bags to Trader Joe’s, you get to enter a raffle for a $25 gift card. Four years of shopping at Trader Joe’s times one trip per week per year finally pays off. So I’m $19 up by shopping at Trader Joe’s.

Within the span of four years, I have now won:

  • $25 gift card for iTunes
  • Google messenger bag
  • $25 gift card for Trader Joe’s
  • I am now revising my “one-win-per-decade” model.

    Small victories: Mets rival can only afford one ace edition

    On behalf of all Mets fans, I would like to thank Jaime Moyer. He coupled aggressive negotiations during the 2008-2009 off-season, leading to a two-year $13 million deal, with terrible pitching during the 2009 campaign. The $6.5 million he’s owed in 2010 has inspired a remarkable series of events which has been a roller coaster of emotions for Phillies fans all over eastern PA and southern NJ finally resulting in the trade of ace pitcher Cliff Lee for the upcoming baseball season. Without Lee, the Phillies will be a merely a good National League team, not a potentially dominating team destined to reach the World Series.

    So thanks Jaime Moyer, and give our best to Brad Lidge who, at $1 million per HR given up, earned every bit of his $11 million salary in 2009.

    Restoring my faith in humanity

    Just when the Twins suffered a brutal defeat at Yankee Stadium, sending their season to the brink…

    Just when I was facing a Notre Dame-less weekend and dreading the reality that I had to put on this shirt (Note that I am wearing the hat by design):

    [Just to be clear, I did not buy this myself.]

    Just when I had started three machines at laundromat, I knocked my book (Rock, Paper, Scissors – Game Theory in Everyday Life) down into the void behind the washing machines. From the end of the row I could see it standing up amid the pipes and cords and dust and socks in that place that only a licensed professional should go.

    How do I describe this item? It’s not lost, because I know exactly where it is. I can see it even. It’s just inaccessible. Is it still mine even? Does it belong to the laundromat now? Forget these philosophical questions. Do I buy another copy of this book? I’m only on the third chapter, and not really enjoying it, but I do want to learn more about game theory…

    Then the laundromat attendant guy shows up. I explain the situation. He starts laughing and looking around the washer. He is not optimistic, and tells me that the technician can get there from underneath the washer on Monday. Then we start to look at the counter for folding clothes that is back-to-back with the row of washing machines. He realizes that the panel underneath the counter is only held in place with a couple of screws. A couple minutes later, he grabs a power screwdriver from the laundromat office, removes the panel, and the book is recovered.

    No guff, no you’ll have to call the owner, or I can’t help you. Just a laugh, and then let’s see what I can do. God bless the Sunset, and God bless America.

    Why I Listen to NPR and You Should Too

    In preparation for the 4th of July, NPR had a special Science Friday segment on homemade fireworks. Some of the highlights:

    • A guy on the northern border called in to say that his 4th of July tradition is to shoot fireworks at Canada.
    • Steel wool is not only flammable but makes a great display when ignited by a 9-volt battery and swung around on an unfolded wire hanger.
    • Host Ira Flatow loves hitting a whole set of caps with a hammer.

    What a great country.

    Another way that I am awesome

    I was at the DMV yesterday to get my California driver’s license and register the Sled, and it was there that I discovered another amazing talent I have. The DMV agent took a look at each form and commented, “You did a good job on this.” Before sending me over to the photo booth, she told me, “You are very good at filling out forms.”

    Apparently I am a rare talent among northern California drivers.

    New Respect for the Amish

    AJ Jacobs from the magazine/website Mental Floss recently visited the Amish of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and discovered that the Amish love baseball:

    I spot a cluster of about 30 buggies. We pull over to see what’s happening. We have stumbled onto an Amish baseball game. Many discourage competitive sports. But here are 18 Amish teenage boys, their sleeves rolled up, their shirts and suspenders dark with sweat. Julie and I watch for a long time. These kids are good, but something is off about the game. I realize after a few minutes what it is: This is the quietest baseball game I’ve ever seen. No trash talk. No cheering from the parents in the stands. Near silence, except for the occasional crack of the bat. It is eerie and peaceful and beautiful.

    Read his entire report.