My favorite pinball game of all time: “Slugfest Baseball”

May 3, 2017
Slugfest Baseball/Pinball Game Play

I started nostalgically searching for my favorite pinball game of all time, back in college, and OMG, I FOUND IT.  It was called “Slugfest Baseball” and this pinball game was amazing. I must have plugged 1000’s of dollars into that game – all in quarters.

PITCHING: It would pitch a pinball to you that you had to hit with a flipper with 4 different pitches: Fastball, curveball, change up, & sinker. The fastball & change up are self explanatory, but the sinker put backspin on the ball so it’d slow down right before it hit you. And the curveball would go off to the side using MAGNETS under the game top.

HITTING: Where you hit the ball made a big difference. You had to hit the highlighted sensors in the back for a single, double or triple, otherwise, it’d be an out. If the ball came back, naturally it was a strike. But if you were fast, you could rapidly pound the ‘steal’ button with a man on base and steal with the leading runner.

HOMERUNS: The big exciting moment came when the clean up hitter came up: An actual ramp would lift out of the game top for the duration of your at-bat. If you hit the ball up the ramp with enough velocity, it’d leap into the air and actually hit the upper deck above the sensors – which was a home run.

RUNS=CARDS: For every 5 runs you made, or a Grand Slam, you could actually get a real baseball card given to you. There was a dispenser under the game that would drop your baseball cards like little rewards for doing well. I actually got a Chipper Jones rookie card from the machine.

AMBIANCE: The game’s ambiance was fantastic. It played organ music and had a crowd noise. It had the voice of an umpire calling the balls & strikes, and when you hit it out of the park on a home run, the lights would turn off on the game and explode in a ridiculous celebration of the hit.

TWO PLAYER: The game could be played two player. One person could select from the 4 pitches and the other player would have to hit, and you’d swap after 3 outs. People used to gather around the game to watch people play. I skipped classes in college to finish games until the 9th inning. We must have played that machine into the ground.

…this game is probably the last remaining arcade game I’d buy if I had the room in our house.

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Where the Heck is Matt? 2016

May 1, 2017

Did you know that Matt Harding did another “Where the hell is Matt?” video compilation at the end of 2016?

Where the Heck is Matt? 2016

Where the Heck is Matt? 2016

In case you’re not familiar with Matt Harding, he’s been a source of happiness for me over the past 10-15 years.  So much so that I bought one of his orange t-shirts.

Just start at 2005 and keep watching:

Where the Hell is Matt? 2005

Where the Hell is Matt? 2005

Where the Hell is Matt? 2006

Where the Hell is Matt? 2006

Where the Hell is Matt? 2008

Where the Hell is Matt? 2008

Where the Hell is Matt? 2012

Where the Hell is Matt? 2012

Pedigree Child Replacement Programme

April 27, 2017

Yeah, New Zealanders are wacky.  And hilarious.

When your kids move out, move on. Adopt a dog with the Pedigree Child Replacement Programme at http://www.replacethem.co.nz

PEDIGREE® – Hard Man to Impress

PEDIGREE® – Hard Man to Impress

PEDIGREE® – Treehouse

PEDIGREE® – Treehouse

PEDIGREE® – Scared

PEDIGREE® – Scared

Pedigree… you’ve done it again. Dog adoption FTW.

April 27, 2017

These commercials make me wanna go out and buy a bag of Pedigree.

PEDIGREE® – Pick Me
With nearly 4 million dogs entering shelters yearly, there are so many furry friends waiting to find forever homes. Pedigree, a long-standing supporter of dog adoption, developed this film to raise awareness for dog adoption around National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day (April 30th) and National Pet Month (May).

PEDIGREE – ”Pick Me”

PEDIGREE® – A Vote for Good
What’s the one thing supporters of either party can agree on? Watch our social experiment unfold. #AVoteForGood #FeedTheGood

PEDIGREE–A Vote for Good

PEDIGREE® – Rescued
Beautiful and meaningful relationships start at the dog shelter. That’s where Dan, a veteran who was wounded in action, meets his kindred spirit, a dog that’s also been through a lot. This is another example of how Dogs Bring Out The Good In Us.

PEDIGREE® – Rescued

PEDIGREE® – “By My Side”
Dogs bring out the good in us. Not only in good times, when everything in life seems to be going our way, but also during the toughest times. The first film in Pedigree’s Learn From Dog series features Dan Lasko, a wounded warrior whose service dog helped him through PTSD and taught him that “Everything is going to be alright.”

PEDIGREE® – “By My Side”

Why I will never fly American Airlines, i.e. The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

April 24, 2017

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Recently, the following story hit the headlines of news outlets:

American Airlines employee allegedly hits woman with stroller, confronts angry passenger

I’ve had many issues with American Airlines.  Their planes were old & dirty, their crews were rude & entitled, their seating was cramped – and I’m a short, small guy, their customer service was atrocious.  But this is the story I tell when people ask me why I refuse to fly American Airlines (& United) and haven’t flown them for more than 15 years.

I used to cover the Walt Disney Company back in the early 2000’s as a client.  I’d just flown on American Airlines into DFW/Dallas Fort Worth from a company sales conference in New Orleans and was taking a connecting flight to MCO/Orlando to get to Disney Imagineering in Florida.

Needless to say, I was pretty tired.

“THE PLANE HAS A MECHANICAL PROBLEM”
But upon arriving at DFW, we had to get on and subsequently get off 3 different planes at three different terminals.  The reason?  The American Airlines captain announced to the passengers that each of the planes we had boarded had a mysterious & identical “mechanical” issue on each of them – and of course, no details were ever given. We even sat onboard the first plane and were stuck on it for at least 1 hour before deplaning.

Back then you had to take a tram from terminal to terminal and our subsequent “new” planes were all on separate terminals making it an even bigger ordeal for us to drag our hand-carry luggage from gate to gate.  It was such an ordeal that I distinctly remember seeing passengers carrying sleeping children over their shoulders, business men with sweat stains under their dress shirts from dragging their stuff between gates, and elderly folks – frightened that they might miss the new flight try to get to the gates on their own without waiting for wheelchairs.  I also remember seeing kind people helping others with children or the elderly carry their bags to the new gates.

MY TALK WITH THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT
Delayed more than 6 hours, passengers were near riot-level angry at the 3rd gate we’d arrived at, and I saw one of our crew’s flight attendants – with her hair a total mess – quietly handing out pieces of paper to people waiting at the gate, having just been kicked off the 3rd plane. I walked up to her, and asked her what in God’s name was going on. She took me aside and quietly told me a story similar to this:

“Imagine you lived in Dallas but your destination was Orlando and you only had 6 hours left that the FAA allowed you to fly by law. Now say, if you were the captain, your word about the plane’s flight readiness trumps anything else… so you could conceivably hold a flight on the ground by stating it had a “safety problem” until your 6 hours expired, at which point you & the flight crew would be forced to stay in your home town of Dallas per FAA regulations and a new crew would have fly in and take over.”

I blurted out loudly, “Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me.” She said, “This is all hypothetical, of course. Oh, by the way? Here’s a customer feedback form. Our flight is AA407 & in case you’re wondering, our captain’s name is [pilot name here].”  Every passenger in the gateway area was being handed a form.

2 weeks later, I got a written letter signed by the CEO of AA apologizing for the incident and a coupon giving me 25,000 frequent flyer miles, which was the equivalent of a free flight. I tore it up and swore to never flew with them again, if I could manage it.

EPILOGUE:
7 years later, AA was the only choice I had to fly into Dallas.  The price difference was too great between American Airlines and any other carrier that was on our company’s preferred vendors list.

So I got on hoping for the best.  I should have planned for the worst because sure enough the plane was delayed 4 hours and I had to sit in various gate areas because LAX was under construction and there was no concessions.  When we finally got on, I mentioned to the first flight attendant I saw that I was feeling rapidly nauseated and needed to use the bathroom as soon as I boarded.  Her comment was something about needing to expedite for “an on-time departure” and I told her, “What? Y’all are already 4 hours late. What do you mean ‘on-time’?”

And that was the end of that – the bat signal must have gone out one me, because every crew member did their best to ignore me for the rest of the flight.

————–

Personally, after years of terrible customer service, I really don’t believe American Airlines employees have any fear of ever being fired.  I don’t care about how “they’re only human” and all that jazz:  No one with that kind of concern in their mind would ever treat their customers the way they do.


What is a Quantum Computer? How does it work? Why is it so important?

March 19, 2017

I really like this explanation of Quantum Computing and what it’s potential is.

Quantum Computing is a science that has the potential to solve problems at 1000x the speed of today’s fastest supercomputers… search vast amounts of data in 1000x the speed of todays’ fastest searching algorithms.

This explanation is the simplest I’ve found to date:

You don’t know how Quantum Computers work!

MICROSOFT & QUANTUM COMPUTING
Microsoft has had large resources dedicated to this field of research for decades, featuring the leadership of one of the world’s preeminent mathematicians, Michael Freedman.  Michael Freedman is a Fields Medal Award winner, an honor often referred to as the “Nobel Peace Prize of Mathematics”, given to the world’s best mathematicians. Together, with numerous other Quantum Computing Researchers at Microsoft’s “Station Q” research facilities in UC Santa Barbara (and other locations), they are on the forefront of Quantum Computing.

Microsoft Quantum Computing Research have also published a video that has a more high level explanation of Quantum Computing and it’s value.  (Hmm.  Maybe I should have put this video first on this post considering it’s simplicity.  Oh well.):

Quantum Computing 101

Here’s a write up about Station Q, our Quantum Computing headquarters:

Here is the web site for Microsoft’s QC Headquarters:


Fareed’s Zakaria: Trump is a B.S. artist

March 19, 2017

Fareed offers his take on why Donald Trump fits the definition of a B.S. artist.

Fareed’s Zakaria: Trump is a B.S. artist