Wednesday, February 07, 2007


DAN WRITES... Hey Jim,

While spending a fine evening of good company and spirits with your son, we happened across an extremely catchy tune that is still in my head to this day. The song was "25 or 6 to 4" sung by the band Chicago. Although I now know the correct words (I was singing it 250624) what exactly do those numbers mean? are there multiple meanings that I am missing?

Well, it’s not a terribly complicated song. Lets look at the lyrics:

Waiting for the break of day
Searching for something to say
Flashing lights against the sky
Giving up I close my eyes
Sitting cross-legged on the floor
25 or 6 to 4

Staring blindly into space
Getting up to splash my face
Wanting just to stay awake
Wondering how much I can take
Should I try to do some more
25 or 6 to 4

Feeling like I ought to sleep
Spinning room is sinking deep
Searching for something to say
Waiting for the break of day
25 or 6 to 4
25 or 6 to 4

So... our young man from Chicago is having a rough time “maintaining”. It’s after 3:30 in the morning (more accurately, about twenty five or six to four*) and he just can’t seem to figure out whether he should go to sleep or stay awake. He wants to sleep, he wants to stay awake, he wants to say something... Oy! He just doesn’t quite know what he wants does he? Along with these lyrics is music that is a bit topsy-turvy, edgy and unnerving.

When we put this music and lyrics into the perspective of when the song was released, 1967, it can only mean one of two things. He’s either coming down from an LSD trip or a night of speed. From the line “Should I try to do some more?” you would have to assume it wasn’t LSD. You wouldn’t take another dose of LSD to get you through those moments at the end of your trip when it’s just no fun anymore. On the other hand, he may be coming down from LSD and thinking about taking some speed to get him through until dawn but that is really neither here nor there.

Think about it. I mean we’ve all been there before, haven’t we?** You’ve been up all night, speeding or tripping your brains out, you’re dead tired, you're crashing so what was fun is no fun anymore. You could either wait it out and try to get some sleep but the sun will be coming up before you know it so maybe you should take another snort and stay up and go to bed early tomorrow. Tough decision. So now all this stuff is racing through your head... “What do I have to do tomorrow?”... “If I go to bed can I even sleep?”... “If I get to sleep, what time do I have to get up?”... “If I stay up, what time can I go to bed?”... “What do I have going tomorrow night?”... “Would I feel better if I got some sleep or would that just make me feel worse?”... “Geeze-Louise! What the hell was I thinking?! I’m NEVER going to do this again!” (Yeah, right!)

So there it is in a nutshell. Now that you think of it, it was pretty obvious wasn’t it?

*I’m not sure you would use this phrase anymore. Today everyone has digital watches so you would look at your watch and say “Three thirty four or five”. Back in the days of analogue dial watches, any time between 30 minutes and 59 minutes past the hour was referred to as time until the hour. Quarter ‘till or “to” the hour was H:45.

Sorry if this is already obvious to everyone, but I just wasn’t sure if this was lost lingo or not.

** See the previous post about “I lie a lot, but I wouldn’t lie about that, unless I’m lying about this”.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Officiating Super Bowl LXI


After watching the SuperBowl last night, I learned a disturbing fact. The NFL Field Judge who officiated was #58, Jim Saracino.

When I "ask Jim," how do I know that I'm asking Jim Saraceno and not Jim Saracino?

And Jim, when you provide me an answer to this question, how will I know you're not lying?

And how will I know that you're not lying when you answer THAT question???

And Droz writes... Hey Jim,

I also noticed the official during the Super Bowl. Unfortunately I noticed him because he got a call wrong. Do you think this ruins any chance you had of becoming a referee in the NFL? Did you ever aspire to be referee in the NFL?


So first, let me say that I can’t get all the calls right all the time. This was my first game as a ref. I usually just watch the game on TV but I came up with this great idea to get a better view of the game. Just show up in a striped shirt and tell them I’m one of the refs. Who’d know the difference, right? So it worked fine until I had to make a call. Hell I wasn’t even watching that guy, I was checking out one of the cheerleaders when I realized I was supposed to say “In” or “out” or “safe” of something. I figured I had a 50/50 chance. Oh well, C’est la vie!

Anyway, here is the announcement of the officiating crew for Super Bowl LXI:

Corrente Named Referee For Super Bowl XLI
January 31, 2007
By SportsTicker

MIAMI (Ticker) - Tony Corrente has been bestowed with his first Super Bowl assignment as a referee.
The NFL announced Wednesday that Corrente, who is concluding his 12th season as a game official, will head the seven-man crew of game officials selected to work Super Bowl XLI between the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts.
Corrente served as the alternate referee for last year's Super Bowl between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks.
The rest of the Super Bowl XLI officiating crew will consist of umpire Carl Paganelli, linesman George Hayward, line judge Rod Marinucci, field judge Jim Saracino, side judge John Parry and back judge Perry Paganelli. The Paganelli's are the first set of brothers ever assigned to officiate a Super Bowl.
Under the NFL's officiating program's evaluation system, the highest-rated officials at each position with the appropriate experience earn the right to work the Super Bowl. Officials must have five years of experience and previous playoff assignments.

Mark Burns is the replay assistant and will be working his second Super Bowl. Jeff Triplette, Butch Hannah, Carl Johnson, Buddy Horton and Rich Reels will serve as alternate officials.

So here is what a couple of Bears fans had to say about me and my crew:

I don't understand, why would you pick the WORST crew for the Super Bowl?????

This looks like the all-Italian team!! I'm just glad we don't have to endure 3 plus hours of Hochuli!!!

Well, everyone is a critic and the Bears fans are just plain sore losers. But some time you just have to say “What the Heck?!”

Oh, and the question about lying... well I lie a lot but I wouldn’t lie about that, unless I’m lying about this.

p.s. My son reminds me that this is neither the first nor the worst call in sports history. For those who may be new here and want to read about a truely bad call, one that probably affected the outcome of the 1985 World Series, you may want to follow this link to an older "Ask Jim" post.

Saturday, February 03, 2007



Today, Feb 1, 2007, marks the 50th anniversary of the Wankel engine:

When are they going to put Wankels in all cars? Aren't they of simpler design, with less moving parts and more efficient operation?

Though Wankel engines are simpler designs with higher outputs per physical size and displacement, they are less efficient and have higher emissions. The lower compression ratios inherent in the Wankel engine mean there is a smaller percentage of the fuel actually being burned. This means two things, higher emissions and lower gas mileage. In today’s market, neither of these would matter as big engines with huge torque and horsepower numbers accompanied by poor gas mileage lead sales, so I’m guessing that they are wanting in the torque and horsepower department too. Even though the idea of a rotary piston is simpler, that is only for a single cylinder engine. Once you go to multi piston engines, it becomes very complicated again.

In the past, there has also been a reliability issue. Seals were always a problem and though they have come a long way in fixing that problem, I don’t know if they have gained the confidence of the public.

Basically it boils down to which engine is going to be the most reliable, powerful, and efficient for the price. As soon as someone comes up with an engine that will beat the reciprocating piston internal combustion engine, the car manufacturers will put them in their cars and the public will buy them.