Saturday, November 5, 2011


Doomsday Update: World Still Exists

I kind of feel bad for Harold Camping. He's like the Susan Lucci of predicting the end of the world. Don't give up, dude: eventually you'll nail the day when all us sinners die in a fiery apocalyptic doom. You can do it!!!

Harold Camping's Oct. 21 Doomsday Prediction Fails Again


The Ten Most Anticipated Games of Fall 2011

10. Rage
October 4th for PS3, 360, PC, iOS
Considering its pedigree, it’s been flying under the radar somewhat, but the latest major title from first-person shooter inventor id Software should not be ignored. Taking inspiration from Fallout 3, Borderlands, Motorstorm, Burnout, and id’s own Doom and Quake, Rage combines open-world gameplay, first-person shooting, off-road combat driving, and even role-playing elements for a truly unique post-apocalyptic experience. Rage also features some of the most dynamic, adaptable, and varied AI to date, sending enemies at the player that realistically navigate their environments and respond tactically to the situation and player’s position. The game’s multiplayer also features a mission-based co-op mode, and an additional six-player mode that makes use of the game’s vehicles. That’s to say nothing of some of the best graphics we’ve ever seen. Welcome back to the wasteland.

9. Dark Souls
October 4th for PS3, 360
2009’s Demon’s Souls is arguably the only true sleeper hit of this generation of consoles. From Software’s series is back with Dark Souls, and it’s bringing with it all the polarizing, deep gameplay and incredibly difficult trappings and traps of the first game: Littered with old school challenge and brimming with style, Dark Souls will undoubtedly be as frustrating as it is rewarding and immersive. The Souls series also takes a unique approach to multiplayer - while you can still stab each other to death, or help each other stab something else to death, more interesting are the blood spots left by other players who died at a given location, and the ability to leave other players messages, warning them of traps or leading them into them.

8. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
November 20th for Wii
The Zelda series headlined the release line-up for the Wii, and now it’s about to be the console’s swan song. It’s also setting itself up to be the only serious title remembered for using the Wii Motion Plus, an attachment to the Wii’s controller that makes it much more accurate. Skyward Sword uses this attachment for highly-precise sword fighting, with enemies requiring strikes in specific places or from specific directions to dispatch them. The game features a hybrid of the graphics from previous Zelda titles The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, and is intended by series creator Shigeru Miyamoto to resemble a watercolor painting come to life. Nintendo’s hallmark series seldom ceases to amaze, so get ready to dust off that Wii one last time.

7. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
November 15th for PS3, 360, PC
Ezio and Altair’s stories are coming to an end, and this time they’re bringing bombs with them. The Assassin’s Creed games have gotten significantly better and more varied with each iteration, and Revelations is looking to be the biggest jump in quality yet. Players will get to play both assassin protagonists in this game, along with their current-day ancestor Desmond Miles, and three playable characters and time periods can only be a good thing. The multiplayer mode introduced in Brotherhood is also returning and being expanded, adding story-oriented quests. The Creed franchise has been one of the best and most successful of the past 5 years, and done so without being a first-person shooter. Here’s hoping this blade only continues to sharpen.

6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
November 8th for PS3, 360, PC, Wii, DS, iOS
The follow-up to the best-selling video game of all time in the U.S., the next entry in the multi-billion dollar franchise, Modern Warfare 3 barely needs an introduction. Where does this series go after the prior games’ controversial scenes of shooting up an airport and assassinating Fidel Castro? World War 3, obviously. The standard faire of kinetic, cinematic campaign and addictive, multi-faceted competitive multiplayer are a given, but Modern Warfare 3 also boasts a new co-op Spec Ops survival mode. This mode combines elements of the Zombie Modes and Spec Ops modes from previous Call of Duty games, with endless waves of enemies spawning at tactical locations relative to the players, rather than fixed points. November can only mean it’s time to climb behind the red dot sight once again.

5. Star Wars: The Old Republic
TBA 2011 for PC
For seven years, World of Warcraft (WOW) has completely dominated the Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) genre, but Electronic Arts isn’t taking that lying down. The biggest game publisher in the world is hoping the perfect storm of the Star Wars brand, Mass Effect creator Bioware’s talent, and a whole lot of its own money is enough to topple the Activision Blizzard giant. But this isn’t just WOW in space: Bioware is promising more context for missions than any previous MMO, a conversation system similar to that of their Mass Effect series, and the implementation of a cover system for the second time in MMO history. The cinematic trailers for The Old Republic are better than the combined films in Lucas’ prequel trilogy, and whether you’re going to play a Jedi, a Sith, or a Bounty Hunter, the only thing that still seems far, far away is a solid release date.

4. Battlefield 3
October 25th for PS3, 360, PC, iOS, Wii U
The Battlefield series is back, it’s coming to consoles, and it has Activision’s Modern Warfare franchise centered squarely in its crosshairs. With destructible environments, huge maps, vehicles, realistic gameplay, and the best graphics ever, publisher Electronic Arts is throwing everything they have at gaming’s biggest and most profitable genre. The series continues to set itself apart with tactical, class-based gameplay that thrives on teamwork. Tired of the cramped corridors and waist-high walls that permeate other shooters today? How about the ability to fly jets in competitive multiplayer? Battlefield 3 may be taking on one of the biggest franchises is gaming history, but it’s doing so with a very big, very pretty gun.

3. Batman: Arkham City
October 18th for PS3, 360, PC, OnLive, Wii U
Arkham Asylum, like the caped crusader himself, came out of nowhere in 2009 to become one of the best games on the current set of consoles, and the best superhero game ever made. Studio Rocksteady returns this year with Batman: Arkham City, loosing the dark knight and his cavalcade of villains into an open-world Gotham City. The Metroid-inspired exploration the first game did so well is back, the excellent counter-based combat is even better, and the art style is gorgeous. The talent from Batman: The Animated Series are returning, and additional characters like Catwoman and Robin are now playable. The only thing missing is the Batmobile.

2. The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
November 11th for PS3, 360, PC
Two words: unlimited dragons. Bethesda’s previous game, Fallout 3, was so well-received that players made their way through it in spite of crashes and glitches, but Skyrim features a brand new engine that promises to change all that. The fantasy setting and lush, vibrant graphics make this one stand out in a sea of gray first-person shooters, while 10 playable races, hundreds of character customization options, and dynamic AI and story promise challenge, variety, and replayability. With the freedom to go anywhere in Skyrim from the moment you press start, we can’t wait to dual-wield a mace and a fireball spell.

1. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
November 1st for PS3
The Uncharted series has been the de facto set of games not only to prove the power of the Playstation 3, but also to show off your new HDTV to your friends. The second game was a quantum leap forward from the first, and a leap forward in cinematic gameplay for the whole gaming industry. Uncharted 2 was supposed to be the total package, but now Drake’s Deception is making that package look puny, with studio Naughty Dog being fully committed to an overhauled competitive multiplayer, and the addition of a standalone co-op mode. Characters realistically emote, the player’s view focuses like a real camera, and the physics are awe-inspiring, with sections of levels moving independently of one another and Drake himself. If Uncharted 3 embodies the same jump in quality that Uncharted 2 did from the first, we won’t just be looking at a frontrunner for Game of the Year, we’ll be looking at one of the best games ever.


McRib Is Back!

Enjoy until November 14th. From the L.A. Times:

McDonald’s McRib is back ... again.

For the second time in as many years, the barbecue-sauce-slathered pork sandwich will start showing up in McDonald's restaurants nationwide.

When the McRib made a limited-time reappearance last fall after a 16-year hiatus, customers went whole hog and drove up McDonald's U.S. sales 4.8% in November.

All this for a sandwich that doesn't even live up to its name. There are no ribs to speak of in the McRib -– just a pressed, boneless patty. There are also slivers of onions and pickle slices.

But the product has inspired legions of fans, Facebook pages and even a McRib Locator mapping website that tracks McDonald's restaurants that sell the sandwich...


YouTube Clip of the Week: This Land Is Your Land
Tom Morello performs at Occupy Wall Street

10/13/11 - Tom Morello (aka The Nightwatchman) brought his acoustic guitar to Liberty Plaza (aka Zuccotti Park) to support the protesters. He played four songs, the third of which was Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" - the complete version, i.e., including the censored verse.


Kool Websites

Free Tarot Readings Online

Robalini on Tarot: I'm a big believer in the concept of the Tarot. My theory is this: the human brain has access to things we can barely even begin to understand, including visions of the future or potential futures. Likewise, the brain likes to take images and symbols and turn them into logical narratives. So with the tarot, the human brain takes random images and turns them into a cohesive story of what is likely to happen, based on the brain's ability to forecast (if not outright see) the future. The Tarot thus allows people to embrace truths they know, deep down, are inevitable, good or bad.

Here are three great Websites I found that can be used to get free Tarot readings:
Robalini's Review: From Labor Day until Christmas, this is the funnest website to go to, as they celebrate the holiday seasons of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas better than anyone else...

"Yes, I am a real person! Like many of you, I juggle a rewarding career with something even more important to me—my family. So, for over 20 years, the Ginny's catalog has been dedicated to making life a little more fun, a little easier—and to making those magical moments with your loved ones..."

Officially Licensed NASCAR Apparel, Accessories...

Straight Talk offers two No-Contract plans:

1) The “ALL YOU NEED” plan for $30 a month to receive 1000 minutes, 1000 text or multimedia messages, 30 MB of data transfer for data phones and 411 calls at no additional charge.

2) The unlimited plan for $45 a month to receive unlimited talk, text and data Nationwide anytime with calls to 411 at no additional charge.

66 Things You Can Grow At Home: In Containers, Without A Garden

From apples and figs to bananas and guavas — and hops.

NOS Energy Drink offers enhanced mental focus and high performance energy, so we're always there to help you Fuel Victory...

The Dukan Diet was created by French medical doctor Pierre Dukan, who devoted his career to helping people lose weight. Since its introduction in France in 2000, the Dukan Diet swept across the country and remained the number one diet there ever since. The Dukan Diet book has gone on to become an international phenomenon, selling over 7 million copies around the world and has been translated in 14 languages. It’s the perfect companion to your Dukan Diet Coaching Program!

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University prides itself on being a major comprehensive research university that retains the sense of a smaller liberal arts institution. Although enrollment is over 30,000, Texas Tech students boast of one-on-one interaction with top faculty and an environment that stresses student accomplishment above all else. We're large enough to provide the best in facilities and academics, but small enough to focus on YOU. We are committed to enhancing the cultural and economic development of the state, nation, and world.


Awesome Quotes: George Carlin

“But God loves you. He loves you, and he needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, but somehow he just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more.”


Restaurant of the Year: Michael Mina, San Francisco
252 California Street; 415-397-9222;

According to Esquire Magazine, who also named Rihanna the sexiest woman alive...


World's 10 Best Universities
Source: U.S. News & World Report's

1. University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
2. Harvard University (United States)
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
4. Yale University (United States)
5. University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
6. Imperial College London (United Kingdom)
7. UCL (University College London) (United Kingdom)
8. University of Chicago (United States)
9. University of Pennsylvania (United States)
10. Columbia University (United States)


NFL's Worst Weather Cities

Here is each city with an outdoor stadium and their rating. The higher the number, the worse the city weather:

Buffalo 85.9
Cleveland 62.4
Pittsburgh 56.3
Green Bay 55.6
Kansas City 52.8
New England 51.6
Miami 51
Chicago 46.7
Seattle 40.1
Cincinnati 39.2
Tampa Bay 38.4
Philadelphia 33.9
Denver 33.7
Baltimore 33.1
Washington 33.1
Tennessee 32.2
Jacksonville 31.8
NY Giants/Jets 31.8
Carolina 24.6
Oakland 17.7
San Francisco 15.4
San Diego 8.6

And here's the rating for the 10 teams who play in domes:

Minnesota 70.5
Detroit 55.3
Arizona 51
Dallas 45
St. Louis 44.5
Houston 43.5
Indianapolis 42.4
New Orleans 34.7
Atlanta 26.2


Unraveling the Dead Sea Scrolls
Six facts courtesy of

1. Teenage shepherds accidentally stumbled upon the first set of Dead Sea Scrolls.

In late 1946 or early 1947, Bedouin teenagers were tending their goats and sheep near the ancient settlement of Qumran, located on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea in what is now known as the West Bank. One of the young shepherds tossed a rock into an opening on the side of a cliff and was surprised to hear a shattering sound. He and his companions later entered the cave and found a collection of large clay jars, seven of which contained leather and papyrus scrolls. An antiquities dealer bought the cache, which ultimately ended up in the hands of various scholars who estimated that the texts were upwards of 2,000 years old. After word of the discovery got out, Bedouin treasure hunters and archaeologists unearthed tens of thousands of additional scroll fragments from 10 nearby caves; together they make up between 800 and 900 manuscripts.

2. Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were sold in the classifieds section.

Athanasius Yeshue Samuel, a Syrian Orthodox archbishop of Jerusalem, bought four of the original Dead Sea Scrolls from a cobbler who dabbled in antiquities, paying less than $100. When the Arab-Israeli War broke out in 1948, Samuel traveled to the United States and unsuccessfully offered them to a number of universities, including Yale. Finally, in 1954, he placed an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal—under the category “Miscellaneous Items for Sale”’—that read: “Biblical Manuscripts dating back to at least 200 B.C. are for sale. This would be an ideal gift to an educational or religious institution by an individual or group.” Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin, whose father had obtained the other three scrolls from the initial collection in 1947, secretly negotiated their purchase on behalf of the newly established State of Israel. Unfortunately for Samuel, much of the $250,000 he received went to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service since the bill of sale had not been properly drawn up.

3. Nobody knows for sure who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were written between 150 B.C. and 70 A.D., remains the subject of scholarly debate to this day. According to the prevailing theory, they are the work of a Jewish population that inhabited Qumran until Roman troops destroyed the settlement around 70 A.D. These Jews are thought to have belonged to a devout, ascetic and communal sect called the Essenes, one of four distinct Jewish groups living in Judaea before and during the Roman era. Proponents of this hypothesis note similarities between the traditions outlined in the Community Rule—a scroll detailing the laws of an unnamed Jewish sect—and the Roman historian Flavius Josephus’ description of Essene rituals. Archeological evidence from Qumran, including the ruins of Jewish ritual baths, also suggests the site was once home to observant Jews. Some scholars have credited other groups with producing the scrolls, including early Christians and Jews from Jerusalem who passed through Qumran while fleeing the Romans.

4. Almost all of the Hebrew Bible is represented in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Dead Sea Scrolls include fragments from every book of the Old Testament except for the Book of Esther. Scholars have speculated that traces of this missing book, which recounts the story of the eponymous Jewish queen of Persia, either disintegrated over time or have yet to be uncovered. Others have proposed that Esther was not part of the Essenes’ canon or that the sect did not celebrate Purim, the festive holiday based on the book. The only complete book of the Hebrew Bible preserved among the manuscripts from Qumran is Isaiah; this copy, dated to the first century B.C., is considered the earliest Old Testament manuscript still in existence. Along with biblical texts, the scrolls include documents about sectarian regulations, such as the Community Rule, and religious writings that do not appear in the Old Testament.

5. Hebrew is not the only language of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls are in Hebrew, with some fragments written in the ancient paleo-Hebrew alphabet thought to have fallen out of use in the fifth century B.C. But others are in Aramaic, the language spoken by many Jews—including, most likely, Jesus—between the sixth century B.C. and the siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. In addition, several texts feature translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which some Jews used instead of or in addition to Hebrew at the time of the scrolls’ creation.

6. The Dead Sea Scrolls include a guide to hidden treasure.

One of the most intriguing manuscripts from Qumran is the Copper Scroll, a sort of ancient treasure map that lists dozens of gold and silver caches. While the other texts are written in ink on parchment or animal skins, this curious document features Hebrew and Greek letters chiseled onto metal sheets—perhaps, as some have theorized, to better withstand the passage of time. Using an unconventional vocabulary and odd spelling, the Copper Scroll describes 64 underground hiding places around Israel that purportedly contain riches stashed for safekeeping. None of these hoards have been recovered, possibly because the Romans pillaged Judaea during the first century A.D. According to various hypotheses, the treasure belonged to local Essenes, was spirited out of the Second Temple before its destruction or never existed to begin with.


Amusing Celebrity Story of the Week

"Julianne Hough reveals the secret to her successful relationship with Ryan Seacrest"

Yeah, here's the secret: find an unconvincingly closeted gay celebrity with a lot of power in Hollywood, feign you are his girlfriend, and then watch your career flourish. See, it's a recipe anybody can follow!!!


Bummer Stock News: Netflix is down 800,000 subscribers to 23.8 million in the quarter following it's announced price increases. The company's stock fell 27 percent on the news:


Lindsay Lohan Nude!

Yep, it's official: Playboy will pay LiLo nearly one million bucks to pose nude:


Found: Jack, a white cat who had been missing at JFK airport for exactly two month on October 25:


Signed to Play Elvis: Eric Bana, in a movie based on the meeting between the rock king and Nixon. For what it's worth, Bana was Rob Sterling's favorite choice to be the next James Bond (although the franchise has done okay with who they picked.)


10 Years Old: The iPod

Apple's winner that changed the business of music is now a decade old. From (which also has some great photos):

A 5GB hard drive. Ten hours of battery life. A 160 x 128-pixel, LED-backlit black-and-white screen. Twenty minutes of anti-skip protection. Back when Apple first debuted the iPod on 23 October, 2001, those specs seemed pretty good, although it was fairly pricey compared with the Nomad and other MP3 jukeboxes. Also, this new iPod only worked with FireWire, and needed a Mac to pair with its software program, iTunes...


Farewell: Theo Epstein, Boston Red Sox GM and the man (along with manager Terry Fracona, who also recently left) behind their 2004 and 2007 World Series victories, who will now try to end the other great curse of baseball after signing with the Chicago Cubs. After their notorious September meltdown where they blew a nine-game lead, the Sox are certifiably in chaos...


RIP: Dan Wheldon, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, after a fiery 15-car pileup at the at Las Vegas Motor Speedway...

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