penn_state_kickoff Here’s something that’s made me wonder a bit. At the right is a football (American, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚ Taken from Wikipedia and edited a bit) kickoff. We all know what it looks like — ball tilted a bit towards the kicker, so we can kick it in the center of its length.

What confuses me is the difference with rugby. Below I’ve got a picture of the basic equivalent to a kickoff in rugby. Notice that here the ball is actually tilted away from the kicker. I guess this is because the rugby, while similar to a US football, is actually rounder at the ends, so you can actually kick it there, and probably get the ball further, since it’s harder.

rugby-kickBut since I’ve never met anyone who’s played both American football and rugby, I don’t know how to confirm this!

(And for those that actually know rugby and recognize the player: yes, I’ve “inverted” the picture left-right to make it resemble the US Football picture. But this shouldn’t change the discussion…).

Flu Shots

fluMy work doesn’t provide flu shots for us, so we’ve got to do it ourselves — really ourselves. You can buy a shot in any pharmacy for about $7. Then, you can get an official nurse to give it to you, but you can also get a family member or, yes, I do it myself…


ballotI think I’m being disenfranchised! It’s probably unintentional, but it’s a bit annoying… here’s how it goes…

I vote in Connecticut. To get an absentee ballot, I have to request one via snail-mail. They’re not sent until a while before a vote, and obviously you can’t wait until the last minute. So you have to plan and make sure you request it at the right time. In addition, you can’t get get them sent to you regularly — you have to request one for each election, including different requests for primaries and general elections. Basically, they make it a pain. Intentional? You tell me. Apparently, in other states you can register as a permanent absentee voter and get theย  ballots sent to you automatically. Not me ๐Ÿ™

I can usually deal with this 19th century technology, but this year is even more painful. I requested my ballot a bit more than a week ago, and I just got the reply. So far, so good. Usually it comes with an envelope (duh…), some instructions, a ballot, and two other envelopes. You’re supposed to put your completed ballot in one, “inner” envelope, and then send this envelope in the second, “outer” envelope they’ve given you. I guess this is to try to keep my vote secret.

But I didn’t get the “inner” envelope (they call it envelope ‘B’). I’ve written an email to the town clerk, but it’s hard to imagine that this will get cleared up in time for me to vote. It’s not hard to guess which direction absentee voters probably vote. You think this is on purpose?

An American Fast-Food Chain in Paris

A while ago a bunch of banners showed up on some of the buildings on my street protesting the possibility of a McDonalds coming there. I just came across the Facebook page for the anti-McDonaldists, so I thought I’d post it. The banners are gone from the buildings and I still haven’t seen a Mickey-Ds (the French equivalent to “mickyD” == ‘macdo’), so they seem to have won for the moment. But it sounds like McDonalds tries periodically, and I guess they only have to succeed once…