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I published another app

It is a fun, two-player word game that tests your vocabulary and creativity.

Login with facebook (or email) and challenge your friends or play a random opponent.

How to Play
1. Start a game with a friend or random opponent
2. Make up a definition for a word you’ve probably never seen before
3. The turn passes to your opponent who makes up a definition for the same word
4. Both players must choose which definition is correct: the actual definition or the definition made up by the opponent
5. You get one point for choosing the correct definition and one additional point if your opponent picks your definition (first to five wins)

The free version is ad-supported and limited to a word bank of 250 words. The full version has no ads and has a word bank of 500 words.

Have fun!

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I published an app!

See that exclamation point? I don’t overuse those puppies. I am truly excited about publishing this app. It was a lot of fun, and I hope, the first of many. Download it from the app store. It will be free until 6/8/2012. I built out a website to support the burgeoning app enterprise: http://ahelms.com/apps

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Merry un-Xmas Mix 2010

My daughter on Christmas morning

2010 was a great year for music.  Instead of compiling a list of favorite holiday songs like I have in years past (Merry Xmas Mix and That Was The Worst Christmas Ever), I decided to make an album with 18 of my favorite songs from the year.  To qualify for my Merry un-Xmas Mix, a song only has to meet two standards: 1) I enjoyed listening to it in 2010. 2) It is family-friendly.  Cee-Lo, Jonsi, Kanye West, and Mumford & Sons all had songs disqualified for failing to meet the second standard.

The songs, and how and why they made my list follow.

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US 1 Ghana 2, 2010 World Cup

Bocanegra

I have been following the national team since 1994, as what I would consider a serious bordering obsessive fan since 1999.  I’m totally bummed about the result of today’s match.  Tonight, when the disappointment started setting in, I realized that I am most disappointed that I won’t have the pleasure of watching this team play again in this tournament.  As a fan, I can’t ask for much more than that.

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US 1 Algeria 0, 2010 World Cup


Landon Donovan’s stoppage time goal lifted the US to a fully deserved first-place finish in group C ahead of England, Slovenia, and France’s D team, Algeria, where dirty play, frosted hair, and hideous haircuts are all the rage.  After a nervy start in which Jay DeMerit and Steve Cherundolo whiffed on clearances, which resulted in good chances for the Algerians, the Americans took over and dominated the match until the final whistle.  Perhaps DeMerit was distracted by a gash in his tongue that required five stitches after the match.  Who would have guessed?  The US kept its doctors busy: Clint Dempsey’s lip required four stitches after being split open by a punch/forearm/elbow from Algerian defender Yahia.  The referees didn’t see the punch: if they did, Yahia would’ve been ejected earlier than he was and the US would have gotten a penalty.  The missed penalty, ejection, and a blown offside call that disallowed a perfectly valid US goal could have been major talking points if the match ended 0-0.  Fortunately for the US and its fans, on this day, Donovan made the petty details irrelevant by scoring a glorious goal.

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US 2 Slovenia 2, 2010 World Cup

There are many lingering questions after yesterday’s riveting 2-2 tie.

  • Is Malian referee Koman Coulibaly incompetent, corrupt, or both?

I think he’s simply incompetent.  If he was paid off or had a vendetta against the US, he certainly would’ve sent off Clint Dempsey in the first minute of the game when Dempsey provided the opportunity by elbowing a Slovene.  Coulibaly made many, many mind-baffling calls, but none more influential than the phantom foul he called against nobody-knows-who in the dying moments of the game, just before second-half substitute Maurice Edu slammed a Landon Donovan free kick into the back of the goal to seemingly give the US a 3-2 lead.  Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Coulibaly’s World Cup is likely over as FIFA is expediting his performance review.  I’d like to put him on an island with Hugh Dallas (2002 missed handball against Germany), Jorge Lorrianda (2009- ejected Bradley for an innocuous challenge in Confederations Cup semifinal then reported him for verbal abuse which got Bradley a three game suspension, 2006- ejected Mastroeni and Eddie Pope in group match against Italy) , Wolfgang Starg (2008- ejected Michael Orozco for a soft elbow in the 3rd minute in the final group match against Nigeria) and Peter Prendergrast (2001- called a phantom penalty for Costa Rica in stoppage time for a handball when in fact the ball clearly hit Greg Berhalter in the head) and see how these egomaniacs interrelate.  The America-hating NYT has come to Coulibaly’s defense, at least regarding the goal disallowing call, with a well-reasoned argument.  The problem with the argument, however, is that good judgment and the ability to understand the context of the game are the most important attributes of officials, and to make that call reveals that Coulibaly possesses neither.

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US 1 England 1, 2010 World Cup

Most of the talk after the most anticipated game the US has played in recent memory was centered on the mistake England goalkeeper Robert Green made.  I read and heard casual fans and fanatics alike conclude that the draw was a lucky result for the US.  What that conclusion fails to understand, however, is that the context of the game dictates the approach the players’ take.  In other words, if Green stops Dempsey’s shot, the rest of the game would not unfold just as it did Saturday.  The US would push forward more, and I am convinced, would have scored.  You could just as easily say that England was lucky to draw because Green made a wonderful save on Jozy Altidore, knocking his low hard shot off the crossbar after Altidore burned the hack of a defender Jamie Carragher…or that England surely should have won if not for Timmy Howard’s tremendous save after Emile Heskey broke through.  If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry World Cup.

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Eliana has a chat with her lamb friends

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7664/Eliana%20chatting.wmv

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What’s Become the 3rd Annual Request for Music Recommendations

Jay-Z: The Blueprint 3; David Bowie: Best of Bowie; David Gray: Draw the Line; Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest; Andrew Bird: Noble Beast; Owl City: Ocean Eyes; Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon; The Bird and the Bee: Please Clap Your Hands; The Black Eyed Peas: The E.N.D.; U2: No Line on the Horizon

My favorite album of 2009 was undoubtedly Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix which I previously wrote about.  Of the albums listed above–and previously unmentioned in this space–none quite captivated me in a way that inspired me to write about it until I wanted to solicit recommendations after receiving a bounty of amazon gift cards for Christmas. I am probably to blame for this phenomenon because my selections over the last two years have overwhelmingly been indie/arty/folk/chamber pop type selections. To earn the recommendations I seek, I will post some brief thoughts on each of the albums pictured above.

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USA 2 Costa Rica 2, 2010 World Cup Qualifier

Fan Tribute to Injured Charlie Davies

Photo from dcunited’s flickr stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcunited/4014318316/

The US overcame a two-goal deficit, horrendous finishing, playing down a man, and playing with heavy hearts with their teammate  Charlie Davies in the hospital to tie a Costa Rica team desperate for the win that would qualify them for next summer’s World Cup.  Jonathan Bornstein’s header from a Robbie Rogers corner kick in the 95th minute leveled the score 2-2 and secured first place in CONCACAF for the US after a grueling 16-month tournament.  On the other side, it was heartbreak for Costa Rica; the tie pushed them into fourth place which means a two-game playoff with Uruguay, CONMEBOL’s fifth place team, will decide which nation will be the final team to qualify for South Africa.

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