Sunday, March 29, 2009

Passing it On

The lyrics of Avenues and Alleyways, sung here by Tony Christie, make no sense until you're told that the opening instrumental and the final chorus (where the soul of a man is easy to buy ...) are the music from the opening and closing credits, respectively, of The Protectors, an early 70's British crime-fighting import staring Robert Vaughn and Nyree Dawn Porter. The only thing I really remember about the series was that Nyree Dawn Porter was in every episode.

Kids: Yes, we did really look and act like that. Someplace in your house are pictures of your mum and dad in this kind of clothes. Grab them. They'll come in handy when they threaten to change the will.

I stumbled on this a few days ago, and haven't been able to get the frakking song out of my head. I figure if I can pass it on to even one person, it will leave me alone.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Download Today's Sports

For years, The Sporting News was the bible of the Baseball world: complete records, weekly stats, team information, publishing yearly guides, rule books, etc. As a bonus, it would cover other sports as well, at least during baseball's off season.

Many of TSN's services have been replaced by such things as Retrosheet, the Emerald Guide, and, of course, the web sites of ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and even TSN's own site.

Trying to remain relevant while its popularity steadily declines, TSN has come out with Sporting News Today. If you are looking for investigative journalism, look elsewhere. SNT is a daily collection of articles, mostly from wire services, about what happened last night in sports. The four biggies (baseball, basketball, football and hockey), mostly, but other stories show up as well. At 40+ pages per day, it's the sports section your local paper never had, even when you had a local paper, and it had a sports section. For those of us far way from home, it's a godsend.

You can read SNT on the web, but I've found the best viewing is with the PDF download. This is predictably named, so I wrote a short script to pull it off the web, open it up with my favorite PDF viewer, and erase itself when I'm done. Feel free to modify this as and where you will. (With a few obvious modifications, it's excellent for looking at many daily comic strips.)

#! /usr/bin/perl

# Should download PDF version of Sporting News Today
# You probably should register first

# Make sure everything goes on in /tmp:

chdir "/tmp" ;

# Find the date

$daystring = `date +"%m %d %Y"`;


@date=split(" ",$daystring);

$m = $date[0];
$d = $date[1];
$y = $date[2];



# Get it:

system("wget $address");

# Read it, then erase it when you're done

system("xpdf /tmp/$name; rm /tmp/$name");

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Snooping on Snopes

If you've ever been forwarded an email that says something like Bill Gates will give you $1,000,000,000,000 if you forward this to twenty-five people in the next 10 minutes, then you probably know that before you tell the sender what an idiot he/she is you should check it out first at

If, however, you want to find out about the people behind Snopes, check out the article in Reader's Digest.