Trivial Opinions

My weekly trivial opinions on life, sports, movies and more!

Archive for March, 2009

2009 National League Predictions

Posted by Jack Deus on March 30, 2009

The best season of the year is almost here…Baseball Season. That means it is time for my annual division standings predictions. Below are my National League predictions. Click here for my American league predictions.

East

1st Philadelphia Phillies – Someone is going to have to prove they can knock down the defending champs before I can remove them from the perch of their own division.

2ndNY Mets – Will trail Philly most of the season, so at least the fans won’t have to deal with another late season collapse.

3rdAtlanta Braves – Did enough in the offseason to overtake Florida, but not enough to make it to the playoffs.

4thFlorida Marlins – This division could have 4 teams above .500 if Florida can duplicate last year’s overachieving.

5thWashington Nationals – You have to wonder if they will always be bad.

Central (* note – As a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan I can’t look at them objectively, so I didn’t include them in the rankings)

1stChicago Cubs – Can the two-in-a-row Central Division champs make it a three-peat? We’ll see what the Cardinals have to say about it, but I don’t see any other team challenging them.

2ndHouston Astros – Claim this spot by default. (see Milwaukee)

3rdMilwaukee Brewers – No chance is staying competitive without CC Sabathia.

4thCincinnati Reds – Seems like they just barely beat out Pittsburgh for the battle of the bottom spot in this division every year.

5thPittsburgh Pirates – Haven’t finish above .500 since Barry Bonds left for the Bay after the 1992 season.

West

1stLA Dodgers – Having Manny Ramirez for a full season could help a team from this division actually win more than 90 games. Or, it could blow up in LA’s face and Manny could be Manny after the All-Star break and completely tank their season.

2ndArizona D’Backs – Could have all of the young talent pull a Tampa Bay from last year, but I don’t see young lightning striking twice in back-to-back seasons.

3rdSan Francisco Giants – Did a few good things in the offseason, but was it even enough to break .500?

4thColorado Rockies – Losing Matt Holiday will hurt this team more than they know.

5thSan Diego Padres – Only Seattle and Washington lost more games last year than San Diego. I don’t see them making a drastic turn-around this year.

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Random Thought on Public Restrooms

Posted by Jack Deus on March 23, 2009

This probably isn’t the best way to start a post but here it goes…I poop a lot. Like, more often than an 80-year-old man with an addiction to prune juice. I also leave my house a lot. Naturally, then, I have to poop in public places a lot.

If I do something enough times I start to notice trends and think of ways to make the experience better. Here are some thoughts I’ve had about public restrooms.

 

-If you have to sit (to poop or if you are a girl who doesn’t want to hover), use toilet paper to wipe down the seat. This serves two purposes, 1. it cleans the seat (at least the visible stuff) and 2. you now know how much TP there is so you don’t run out in the middle of filing the paperwork.

-Use a paper towel (or TP) to open the door when you leave. A lot of people don’t wash their hands when they are done. The door handle is probably the most disgusting part of the whole restroom because theoretically the toilets get disinfected on a regular basis, but who thinks to clean the handle?

-Speaking of people not washing their hands…just because you can’t see anything on your hands doesn’t mean nothing is there. Germs are really, really tiny. I mean really tiny.

-This one is just for the guys…if you have to pee and there is an open urinal, USE IT. I actually use restrooms to poop and I don’t like having to wipe urine off the seat before I go.

-Ball up the paper towel before throwing it away. It takes up like 300% less room in the trash can.

-I’ve asked many friends and coworkers why they put an empty stall/urinal between them and someone who is already using the restroom (a phenomenon I just discovered since I will use whichever one is cleanest and closest to the door) and have yet to hear a good answer. Most people claim they want privacy and that they are uncomfortable doing the deed while they can see any part of someone else or someone else can see any part of them. Everyone has to use the bathroom, don’t be ashamed that you do too.

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Funny Google Searches

Posted by Jack Deus on March 16, 2009

I was doing some research for another post and typed “I want” into Google’s search bar and did a double take because the first recommendation was “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.” Apparently that is the title of a song I have never heard of and apparently a lot of people want to know the lyrics to the song. That got me thinking what other interesting things Google could point out for doing (seemingly) very mundane searches. Here’s a short list of what I found.

I want a…boyfriend (5th one down)…girlfriend (9th one down) oddly the ladies are more desperate than the gents in trying to find love on the Internet.

I want to…die (1st one). People couldn’t find a boyfriend or girlfriend so they want to off themselves now?

I need…a job (1st)…money (3rd). Wonder where these end up on the list in a better economy.

I need a….girlfriend (9th)…boyfriend (not on list). Spoke too soon. Ladies want a boyfriend, while guys need a girlfriend.

He wants…to be friends (2nd)…space (3rd)…a break (4th)…to take things slow (5th)…a divorce (6th)…to take a break (7th)…to break up (8th). I don’t think I need to point out the trend here.

She wants…revenge (1st). Tells you a little bit about how guys and girls use the Internet for relationship advice (i.e. girls use it, guys don’t).

Who …am I (4th). With 182 million hits I have to wonder if the same couple thousand people are just really confused, or if almost 2/3rds of the US population really needs to invest in a sharpie and have their moms start writing their name on their underwear waistband?

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10 Things Every Car Owner Should Know

Posted by Jack Deus on March 9, 2009

When studying to get your driver’s license, there is a manual that contains everything you will need to know to pass the test. Unfortunately, that manual doesn’t cover everything you should know about driving a car. Here is a list of things that aren’t covered in the driver’s license manual.

  1. How to tell which side of the car the gas tank is on. Have you ever witnessed something like this when at a gas pump? Or maybe it has happened to you? Look at the left side of this picture. That little triangle next to the gas pump icon tells you which side of your car the gas tank is on. If your car doesn’t have that triangle (or something similar), take a memory pill.
  2. How to calculate MPG (miles per gallon). Next time you get gas fill the tank all the way and write down the mileage of your car. Then, when you fill up again, take the mileage you are currently at, subtract the mileage from the previous fill-up and divide that number by how many gallons it took to fill up. Or, buy a car like mine that calculates MPG for you.
  3. How to change a fuse. Find the fuse panel. Open it. Look in your car manual to see which fuse controls the part of your car that stopped working. Grab the bad fuse and pull straight out. Replace fuse with one that has the same amperage rating.
  4. How to jump start a car. Get jumper cables. Connect the positive cable to the positive node on the dead battery. Connect the other side of the positive cable to the positive node of the good battery. Connect the negative cable to the negative node of the good battery. Connect the other end of the negative cable to a grounding point (look for a shiny, non painted part of the dead car or engine-use the negative node of the dead battery as a last resort). If you don’t feel comfortable using regular jumper cables, try these.
  5. How to change a flat tire.Look at your car’s user manual for the full procedure. A few tips the user manual might not cover: know how to use your car’s jack before you need it (tires don’t usually go flat on a warm, calm day when you aren’t in a time crunch to get somewhere), make everyone else get out of the car if possible (or have them sit perfectly still so they don’t rock the car while it is jacked up), loosen the lug nuts before jacking up the car, and complete the tightening of the lug nuts after you set it down.
  6. How to drive on a “donut.” Stay on paved roads and follow the rule of 50: don’t go more than 50 miles per hour (even on highways and interstates) and don’t drive more than 50 miles on it.
  7. How to lead/follow. Leading: obey speed limits, signal your turn way ahead of time, plan ahead so you can change lanes when there is enough room for both cars to get over. Following: get as close to the leader as you are comfortable with, and then get a little closer. If the leader is signalling to change lanes in busy traffic, try to get over first then let them merge in front of you.
  8. How to read a map.Practice, practice, practice. Yes, even you people with a GPS unit in your car. What if it breaks?
  9. What to do if you’ve been in an accident.Stay calm, don’t be a jerk. Wait for the cops if serious damage or injury occurred. If not, get the hell off the road before exchanging info.
  10. How to not get shot by the cops when you get pulled over. Pull over as soon as possible, or sooner (but do it safely). Turn the car off. If it is dark outside, turn on the light inside the car. Put both hands on the steering wheel so the cop can see them. Don’t do anything else until the cop asks you to do it. NEVER reach in your glove box for your registration before the cop gets to your car and asks for it. You aren’t speeding up the process, you are making him think you are either hiding drugs or getting a gun.

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10 Tips for Driving in the Snow

Posted by Jack Deus on March 2, 2009

I live in a state where it snows quite frequently between the months of October and March and, even though there is a six-month window for when snow could (and does) fall, I am amazed at how many people that live here don’t understand how to drive in it. For that reason, I have created this list of tips for driving in the snow.

Note-If you are one of those ADD blog-hoppers whose favorite five characters are tl;dr please scroll to the bottom for a very concise, one sentence summary.

  1. Clean Your Whole Car Off. If you aren’t able to park your car in a garage or some other covered parking structure, do us all (but mostly yourself) a favor and clean off your car. I don’t mean take 10 seconds to wipe the snow off the front windshield, either. I mean take 5 minutes and actually get all of the snow off of your entire car, including the top. This serves two purposes: 1. you will actually be able to see all the way around you and 2. when you are driving, there won’t be snow blowing off your car and onto mine other cars.
  2. Speed Up. Just because there is snow on the ground doesn’t mean you have to drive 10mph on the interstate. There is an old adage that say ‘speed kills’. I would like to add to that ‘difference in speed kills’. What that means is that if you are going 10mph because you have no clue how to drive in the snow and I am driving (a safe) 45mph I will come up on you quite quickly, so when I apply my brakes I will either ram into your car because I didn’t apply enough pressure, or spin out of control because I applied to much pressure. All of this could have been avoided if you had only chosen to drive a sane speed-even 30mph could have helped avoid that situation.
  3. Slow Down.Just because you drive a truck or SUV that has 4-wheel drive on it doesn’t mean you can safely drive 70mph on the interstate. Remember that adage I mentioned in number two: difference in speed kills? Well, that is quite literal when you come blazing up someones rear going 70mph when they are going 10mph. Just remember, 4-wheel drive helps you maneuver in the snow, it doesn’t help you stop.
  4. Turn Differently. Whether you are in a round-about in a neighborhood, on a cloverleaf interchange on the interstate, or taking some turn in between these extremes, turning can be a tricky proposition on the snow. What I have found works best is to take the turn at about half speed of what you would normally take it. If you normally drive 15-20mph in a round-about, take the turn at 10mph or a little slower. If you normally get off or on the interstate using a cloverleaf and drive 25-30mph, go 15mph. In addition to reducing your speed, you also need to take the turn as consistently as possible. That applies not only to the speed, but the direction of the turn. Most of the time the reason a car slides when being turned is because it was accelerating (or decelerating) or the direction it was trying to move is changed too much at once, i.e. you turned too quick. By keeping the speed and position of the wheels constant throughout the entire turn you will greatly reduce the chance of a spin-out.
  5. Stay in Your Lane. This one seems pretty obvious to me, but I see people all the time drifting in and out of a lane when they are driving in the snow. Just because you can’t see the lane lines doesn’t mean you get to drift back and forth wherever you want. If you find yourself drifting because you are having a hard time controlling your car, re-read #3, it should help.
  6. Get Out of the Passing Lane.There is an unwritten rule (in some places lawmakers actually wrote it down) that slow traffic should keep right. That still applies when snow is on the ground. If you are driving in the far left lane on an interstate or multi-lane road you better be passing someone and you better merge over when you are finished. An addendum to this rule is if you are passing someone who is driving 10mph by going 12mph, you better be the only two cars on the road or there better be another lane to your left that someone can use to pass both of you morons.
  7. Leave Plenty of Room. Stopping distances should be greatly increased when snow is on the ground, so do me a favor and get off my butt. It’s not going to get me to go any faster, and will probably get me to slow down, just to piss you off. Now that I’m done talking to the idiot in the van who was following me this morning, I will address the rest of you. Similar to how you cut your speed in half when taking turns, you want to double the distance when you start applying the brakes so that you can apply them half as hard and still stop when you need to. This also gives you more time to react if your car starts sliding.
  8. Learn How to Handle a Skid. I can tell you the steps you should take when your car starts to skid, but I won’t, in an effort to get you to actually do the work yourself, not think that since you read one article you now know how to do it. Until you actually go out and practice and find out exactly how to handle your specific car when it skids, all the reading in the world won’t help you.
  9. Watch the Road.I’m one of those people that multitasks when I drive. I adjust the radio, I grab a mint out of the glove box, I drink coffee, I talk on the phone. Sometimes I do so much at once that I steer with my knee for a few seconds. But I don’t do any of that when road conditions are adverse. The second best way to avoid losing control of your car during a snow-storm is to be constantly vigilant of your surroundings, so you can anticipate any obstacles you might face before you are forced to make a snap-decision. Of course, the number one way to avoid losing control of your car during a snow-storm is…
  10. Stay Off the Roads. I don’t know the actual percentages, but I would guess a good number of people that drive during a snow-storm (especially one on the weekend) don’t need to be out driving. Unless you have someplace that you have to be, do the rest of us a favor and stay inside, at least until the roads get plowed.

Summary for how to drive in the snow: pay attention, don’t be a moron, don’t be a jerk, and get the hell out of my way.

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