Sunday, April 29, 2007


During the evening of Saturday, April 28th 2007, at a restaurant in Epping, New Hampshire, humankind came to know the pastime of the air, for it was on this occasion that lifelong duck enthusiast Hazel Carolynn Dellario, age five years, described for the first time the rules of Skyball, or "The Sport of Birds." How she came to know these details of the competition of the winged remains open to conjecture, though scholars of birdfolk point to her connection with ducks as the most likely avenue.

Though the rules below remain incomplete, this author plans further conversations with Ms. Dellario to solidify our understanding of this amazing avian diversion.

The Sport of Birds

Rules and Regulations of Play

Skyball consists of two teams of five birds each, with the winning team being the first to achieve ten points.

Field of Play:
The game is naturally played in the air, typically among the cover of tall trees. The arboreal setting not only provides interesting obstacles for play, but also seating for spectators, a break against the wind which might otherwise interfere with the ball, not to mention a protection from the prying eyes of other species.

The Ball:
A skyball is a collection of underfeathers adhered to each other with bird saliva, roughly two inches in diameter. Ms. Dellario did confirm after some probing that the feathers are collected from recently deceased birds, an apparently uncomfortable detail rarely discussed amongst the community, though Skyball scholars have speculated that the feather collection may prove a posthumous honor for the deceased, presumably chosen because of her love for or prowess at the sport.

Points are scored for each team by kicking the ball through each of the ten labeled goals. While each of the ten goals scores one point for the possessing team, the goals must be scored in ascending order. Any scoring out of order will result in a reminder from the officiating authority followed by a return of the ball to play.

It's important to highlight the fact that, unlike most popular human sports, Skyball goals are not possessed by one team for the duration, or even a portion, of the game. The goals are shared by both teams, and as such the allocation of a valid point is determined by which team held possession of the ball when the point was scored.

Deadlines, deadlines

Sorry I've been away but we had an alpha to deliver, and as usual I didn't receive the code I needed to do my work until less than a week before. Working at the end of dependency chains blows, but I've been successful in raising the issue so I reasonably expect improvements in the future.

In other news, I saw Le Nozze di Figaro courtesy of Kuman on Friday night at the Shubert in Boston. Great performances all around, though the lead mezzo didn't project well (though we didn't care because of the orchestra seats we enjoyed). The madcap plot of Figaro reminded me of Shakespeare's comedies and William Wycherley's The Country Wife and The Plain Dealer. UNH must put on some decent drama, so I'll need to do some checking.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Still Siezing!

I thought there were laws against it, yet here's a brand new site that's using the blink tag. Now, please excuse me; my Klonopin is wearing off.

Electricity Is Good

We just had a power outage that lasted 26 hours following a snow storm (yeah, so what if it's April?). Makes me want to generate my own all the more.

Btw, remind me to tell you how Dad and I played ball for the first time.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


This afternoon Slashdot brought me to a blog that carried a story about a Brazilian court making a chimpanzee a litigant. The blogger mentioned his belief in "the philosophy of Human exceptionalism," hence that reference in my reply below.

There's no evidence that rats are sentient beings, but plenty of evidence that both chimps and great apes are.

I also believe as you do that human life matters, but that doesn't mean that other species aren't as exceptional as we.

Please consider your evolutionary history. Homo sapiens modern once shared this planet with at least two other sentient species, Homo Neanderthalensis and Homo Erectus. Both other species showed advanced tool use, ritualistically buried their dead and created art.

We are almost certainly the most intelligent species on the planet, but intelligence neither determines sentience nor rights. I am more intelligent than a human infant, but that infant holds as many rights as I do. If chimps display self-awareness (recognition of themselves in the mirror is one test of this) and use of language (well documented cases of chimps using American Sign Language exist, in addition to the more well known Koko the ape) then they can do everything that my small children can do. Aside from the roughly two percent genetic difference between us and them, what else separates our species so severely that they shouldn't hold the same rights as we?

After posting that I checked out the blog and realized that Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at The Discovery Institute, home of Intelligent Design. Ah, so that's where the belief in Human exceptionalism comes from.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Truly Terrible, Terry

If you haven't yet read Terry Jones' (Yes, that Terry Jones. No, the one from Monty Python. No, I didn't know Terry Jones was a tight end for the 49ers. Shutup!) recent piece in The Guardian regarding the treatment of fifteen UK naval personnel I ask that you do so now.

Following is my response which I emailed to Mr. Jones today (not the tight end, the other one):

Dear Mr. Jones,

Regarding your opinion piece in The Guardian of March 31, 2007, I must join you in sharing my outrage at this Iranian hostage situation. As an American, I offer my condolences to the fine British servicemen and women who will likely return home without experiencing electrocution, waterboarding, naked human pyramids, vicious dogs, stress positions or even a good old fashioned beating. Still, I hold hope in my heart that they might slip and fall down a flight of steps, thereby acquiring a memento of their visit. Honestly, I can’t remember a single country I’ve visited in which I haven’t broken at least one bone.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher A. Dellario with a fracture of the tibia, L4 and L5 vertebrae and a severe concussion.

Chris Wallace Bags McConnell For Hypocrisy

Wow, Fox News did real reporting and called prominent Republican Senator Mitch McConnell on the carpet for his hypocrisy regarding presidential aides testifying under oath. In fact, I haven't seen one of the other networks do such a good job of beating someone with his own words in some time. I don't get to say this often but great job Chris Wallace and Fox News.