June 2nd, 2007
The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
- Bertrand Russell

Neros - Las Vegas, NV

May 18th, 2007

This steakhouse is located within Caesar's Palace and is not contained in the Forum Shops. We have eaten many times in the Forum Shops and wanted to try something "local" to the casino.

I had obtained a reservation for 7:30pm through the toll-free number provided by Caesar's to reach any restaurant in the casino. After wasting time sitting at the bar we were finally taken to our table shortly after 8:15pm! We were basically ignored and had to constantly ask when our table would be ready. I can be as cool and care-free as the next guy, but this was a business dinner, so I thought the wait was excessive. (To be fair, they eventually did get the manager who came to us and offered to buy the round of drinks we had in front of us. This was a kind gesture, but we wished we had ordered cocktails instead of the round of Cokes. And to that, we would have just preferred our table.)

I would like to say that once we were seated our experience improved, but I cannot. I have been to nice restaurants when there is an understanding that it will be a long meal and you may as well get comfortable. Neros is not that type of a place, but our meal took forever. They may have been understaffed, but it was impossible to get ahold of our server.

I started my meal with a bowl of the Lobster Bisque, which was the only highlight of the night. To credit Neros, it might be the best Bisque I have had in Las Vegas and was certainly one of the best I have ever had.

I had my "go-to" bone-in ribeye for dinner. I was very glad that it was served with the house steak sauce because the steak was dry. That is the restaurant's fault. What is not necessarily its fault was the fact that my steak was just a bad cut. I happened to get a piece that was replete with "bad spots" that were too tough to cut through and certainly not edible. That happens and I may have said something if the service had been better or if that hadn't been futile once before in Las Vegas.

I spoke with a few other people who had eaten there and their feelings were better than mine but lukewarm overall. I cannot see any reason why this would not be my ONLY dinner at Neros. There are too many good restaurants in Las Vegas to go back to one where you have had a negative experience.

Arena Football

April 10th, 2007

I am not sure if any of you have had the privilege yet to watch one of these games, but I saw the Georgia Force v Philadelphia Soul game last night - well part of it anyway. And here was a run down of what I saw.

-Teams owned by Bon Jovi and Ron Jaworski. :hangs head in shame:
-Different rules based on which stadium the two teams are playing in. Stupid. Just stupid.
-Players who don't even break a sweat.
-An overall feel that this is just some guys who got together to play touch football (since you don't have to tackle in this league). There is NO suspense, excitement, drama.
-Interviews with players who take their station in life way too seriously.

I will not watch an AFL game again. Nor should you.

I understand that the management team for the NHL has done a piss-poor job of marketing their product, but it is 100x better than the AFL. I am almost ashamed to live in a country where a major sports network will not option the NHL but they pick up this garbage. (Yes, I am a hockey fan. Yes, I am biased. The AFL is still a joke.)

Download One Shining Moment

April 3rd, 2007

Each year at the end of the NCAA March Madness tournament, CBS prepares a video montage of the games set to the song that makes it all possible. They are now available to download with archives back 20 years.

1987 - Indiana
1988 - Kansas
1989 - Michigan
1990 - UNLV
1991 - Duke
1992 - Duke
1993 - North Carolina
1994 - Arkansas
1995 - UCLA
1996 - Kentucky
1997 - Arizona
1998 - Kentucky
1999 - Connecticut
2000 - Michigan State
2001 - Duke
2002 - Maryland
2003 - Syracuse
2004 - Connecticut
2005 - North Carolina
2006 - Florida
(Clicking any of the above links will give you the option to download the video from 2007 as well.)

Site Re-design

March 21st, 2007

Welcome to the new-look Privatjokr.com. This is a long time in coming, as I have said since I started writing here that I wanted a new layout. I never got around to writing a new skin, and was too stubborn to use one made by someone else. I put a lot of time into this, and I hope you like it.

I am sorry it doesn't look right in Internet Explorer, but I will work on that. The key point for me was getting it pushed live when it worked in Firefox -- the browser of choice. There are even a few bugs left in Firefox I would like to get fixed, but I just couldn't stand looking at the default custom skin provided by the good people at b2evolution any longer.

The next project would be actually getting a logo. But I bet that will take two and a half years, too.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by.

-peter

The 48oz Club

March 12th, 2007

"Shula's Steak House formed the 48oz. Club in 1989 to honor the true beef lovers of America. The induction into this steak lovers club consists of finishing 48 ounces of the best beef money can buy - The SHULA CUT."

The 48oz Club

Goodbye to the Blue Plate

January 10th, 2007

www.michigan.gov/sosIt is with a heavy heart that I write this post today. With the expiration of my license tags around the corner I received my renewal information in the mail. Inside the envelope was a small information sheet regarding the end of an era. The State of Michigan is doing away with the plain blue license plates that we hold so dear.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, Michigan has a new standard license plate (white background, blue letters) that replaces the blue standard plate (blue background, white letters). Public Act 177 of 2006 requires the Department of State to stop issuing, renewing, replacing or transferring the blue plate.

The new standard plate is clean in design, rust-resistant, tamper-proof and easily identifiable. Unlike the blue plate, whose color scheme made it difficult to see at night, the new plate's fully reflective background makes it much more visible. (link)

Gone is the license plate that, when we see another while driving out of state, reminds us of home; gone is that license plate that signals "friend." It appears that the State is opting, rather, for a plain and boring, but "state of the art" plate. But why?

FISCAL IMPACT
The Department of State estimates one-time costs related to the new plate at approximately $11.0 million. Under the bills, the cost of the new plate would be funded from the Michigan Transportation Fund. The cost estimate is based on the design and production of 6.0 million plates, including postage and handling costs. The bills also would result in additional annual ongoing costs in future years of $690,000. The Department annually orders 1.5 million plates related to new vehicles and replacement plates. The reflective plate required by House Bill 5607 (H-3) costs $0.46 more per plate than the current blue plate.

The Department of State anticipates that the new plate would result in improved compliance with vehicle registration laws, more than offsetting one-time costs related to the new plate. This is based on a noncompliance rate of 3% (166,735 vehicles). Using an average registration cost of $92 per vehicle, the Department estimates that $15.3 million in additional revenue would be generated to the MTF (a net MTF increase of $4.4 million after one-time costs associated with the new plate). (cite)

So it seems that as a (for lack of a better term) ploy to get vehicle owners to not fradulently fake their registration, everyone with the blue plate gets a new plate. I hope you have a spot picked out on the wall for your comforting blue plate to hang.

www.michigan.gov/sosAnd who got the final say on this design? I can understand the blue bar across the top. I may have seen an out-of-state plate recently that was similar, so we are copying other states. But why put the state's website across the bottom? Other states have bookmarked the name of the state with the "www." and the ".gov" across the top with no problems. Why can't Michigan do that and leave room for some slogan, some poetic signature of the state across the bottom?

For more information regarding renewal if you are a blue plate owner, go here.
For complete information regarding House Bill 5607 pertaining to Public Act 177 of 2006 go here.

Goodbye Blue Plate, you will be missed.

Coupon Cash Value

January 4th, 2007

I figured I could not be the only person to ever wonder why the back of my coupon read that it had cash value. I also figured that I could not be the first person who for a brief moment considered that to be the solution to my money woes: gather up all of the Burger King coupons I can find and send them in, redeeming them for that 1/100ยข each. Before you know it, I will have amassed a king's ransom. I was immediately disappointed in myself for not having a handle bar mustache that I could twist between my fingers while I schemed.

But wait. 1/100 of one cent. That means 100 coupons equals one penny. 3900 coupons covers postage. I would probably need another 500-1000 coupons to cover the cost of my envelope. But 5000 coupons will not fit in a regular envelope. This is simply not economically feasible. My plans have been thwarted again...

If it is inconceivable that anyone would ever attempt to redeem the coupons for their stated cash value, why are they even given cash value in the first place?!

Well I did some digging around. Here is some of what I found.

Q: I HAVE NOTICED THAT THE BOTTOM OF MANY COUPONS SAY, CASH VALUE ONE TWENTIETH OF A CENT. WHY IS THAT STATEMENT IS ON COUPONS?

A: WE CALLED THE COUPON COUNCIL FOR YOUR ANSWER. AND IT SAYS, SOME STATE LAWS REQUIRE THAT IF A CONSUMER DOES NOT WANT TO PURCHASE THE PRODUCT ON THE FACE OF THE COUPON, THAT THE CONSUMER CAN REDEEM THE COUPON FOR ITS CASH VALUE.

AND SINCE MANY COUPONS ARE PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED ON A NATIONAL BASIS, MOST MANUFACTURERS HAVE DECIDED TO PUT THE CASH VALUE ON THE COUPON TO SIMPLIFY THE PROCESS. THINK OF IT AS A PROMOTION THAT HAS TO HAVE A STATED VALUE.

http://www.nbc4.com/answerstoaskliz2002/1448491/detail.html

Who knew there was such thing as a Coupon Council? Cool.

Another site suggests that the whole thing started around the Depression when the government provided books of stamps (not-so-distant relative to today's coupon) to the citizens. Rather than redeeming the stamps for items one did not necessarily require, he or she could redeem the stamp for its stated cash equivalent. It was then state laws around the country that have predominated over the issue.

More information on this story and more is available at the following sites: http://www.geocities.com/srivathsajoshi/lukuchap53.html
http://ask.yahoo.com/20030808.html

My Pet Monster

December 13th, 2006

Sometimes bouts of nostolgia happen under the most random circumstances. Many times they are triggered by something you have seen or heard or a feeling that comes over you. Other times, the explanation may not be so simple. I cannot explain what caused my latest jaunt down memory lane, but what a strong feeling it was.

It was with an incredible fondness that I remembered my favorite childhood toy. It wasn't my big wheel. It wasn't my basketball cards. Sure, Nintendo was great, but it wasn't that either. It had been years since I had last thought about My Pet Monster.

http://www.bigshottoyworks.com/images/art/my%20pet%20monster_large.jpg

Maybe this is the root from which a long series of family jokes stem. Maybe my family gets a hoot from teasing me about quantity of friends because I grew up relating better to a fanged ball of blue fuzz than I did to most other people.

I think they're just jealous of me and My Pet Monster.

(Pictured is a newer, updated version of My Pet Monster. They made it significantly easier on the eyes. I opted for this picture to save face a little bit. You would definitely wonder about me if you saw what it REALLY used to look like...)

December 1st, 2006
You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it.
- Neil Gaiman