Monday, April 28, 2008

Why there's so much wire copy in newspapers

As deadline neared Friday at The Miami Herald, two fellow business reporters gathered around my desk and offered two new barguments.

Scott, who covers the economy, offered this one: What cocktail can a guy order and not look like an ass? (My wording.) Pretty easy to come up with some strike-worthy drinks: cosmopolitan, Long Island iced tea. But where does margarita fall?

Our small business reporter, Jim, came up with one: If you were traveling back in time 100 years, which invention would you bring with you? (Remember: there are no gas stations or electric outlets in 1904.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Shark jumping?

Not a great response to my Office spin-off bargument on the right, so I put up a different bargument on yesterday:

If Jim proposes to Pam, will it ruin "The Office?"

I say the scene alone where Jim says it's coming HAS IN FACT ruined the show. Those two bug me, anyway.

I sent a note to a blog devoted to the Office-- the Scranton Branch Office blog -- and they put a link up to This way we'll get some expert opinion.

Note: On the British version of the Office-- the original, and the funnier by an exponential increase-- when the Jim and Pam characters finally get together, they ended the series at that exact moment.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Just got this via the barguments submission button.... Bridget, our tech reporter and professional young person at the Herald, suggested this too. I'm on it (whatever it means)

New bargument: Title: How long before barguments will link into My.Yahoo,, etc via RSS or other Feeds?
1. Never- Webmaster is stuck in 1960
2. Soon, but not soon enough!
3. Already in the works for \'roll-out\' 3rd edition...

User name: Bill Gates
Location: Redmond, WA

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Just a quick post to show I haven't forgotten about the Barguments Blog. Beerfest was fun Saturday. The good news and the bad news: I drank about 26 beers. That's because they handed out beers in teeny little cups, about the size you usually only see in a Dixie box.

But lots of Paul and Young Ron listeners knew about Barguments. I printed a bunch of them up on little cards and passed them out to people in the VIP tent. A frequent response: "Oh, are you the Barguments Guy?"

On the way to Beer Fest, I got a text from Kent Island resident Danny "Ebert" Williams with this Eastern Shore-only Bargument:

What kind of pickles do you serve with steamed crabs: dill or bread-and-butter?

I think that's a pretty easy one, Ebert. I'll be interested to see what Shore food authority Johnny Scrappleseed says.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Paul and Young Ron, Part II

I'm scheduled to be on the Paul and Young Ron show Friday morning at 9. You can listen on Big 105.9 in the Miami area and Gater 98.7 if you live near Palm Beach.

We'll be talking about the Paul and Young Ron Presents the New Times Beerfest being held Saturday night in Fort Lauderdale. I'll be presiding over a Barguments Table. Not exactly sure what I'll be doing there. (Not selling books, unfortunately. Got too complicated trying to set that up with Simon & Schuster.)

I've got some books to giveaway, though. In fact, the first complete stranger to come up to my table and mention the Barguments Blog will get a free book. I'll probably give the rest away to whoever comes up with the best new bargument.

If Barguments isn't a hit at a place called Beer Fest, I've got a problem.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Worms or Lures?

Sue Cocking, the Herald's outdoors writer, gave Barguments a plug in her blog and posed some specialized fishing barguments. (Including one I assume was designed to draw blood at the next marlin tournament: Who is the better South Florida sailfisherman -- captain Ray Rosher or captain John "Louie" Dudas?)
Check it out here.

I can't think of a better place for Barguments than in the hands of a fisherman staring out at four slack lines in the water, three hours into a long day out on the ocean. Beer, anyone?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Advocating for Barguments

A friend of a friend gave Barguments a very helpful plug yesterday on the vital website,

On the site's message board, Josh wrote:

My old roomate's, college buddy wrote this book about Barguments.Check it out, pretty funny stuff:

And the Beer Advocates did. Traffic shot up all day. And finally, the site discovered its target demographic. Among the responses to Josh's post:

Just spent 45 min's on the site; nice. -- gkatsoris

really addictive! -- Mr. Turtlehead

Just answered all the questions -- need more! -- Saltylime

Don't worry, Saltylime. Three new barguments were added to the site last night. Including one that I love but which seems headed to being one of the least popular on the site. It's the ringtone one. Check it out.

Monday, April 7, 2008

What about Gareth?!

NBC recently announced it would air a spin-off of The Office. Will it be a Joey or a Frasier?

The biggest factor, of course, will be casting. Which brings us to this bargument:

Which secondary Office character most deserves a spin-off?

You can argue for your nominee below OR you can vote on the poll you'll find nearby. I'm going to elimate the stars-- Michael, Dwight, Jim and Pam, because their departure would ruin the original.
I'll post this bargument on later in the week, but I thought I'd test it out here first to narrow it down to the most popular answers among the core barguments fans.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Somebody call Nicklelodeon

I was at the CGSC bar last night when I met the biggest Barguments fan in Miami, and his two friends. Median age: about 10.

Diego Ramon, 9, is on the right. His mom and dad, who are members of the sailing club, bought the book but Diego apparently keeps it by his bed. And he knows the book better than I do, rattling off barguments from the book one after the other.

A quote from Diego: "You should have a kids version, but instead of three beers, it's three Cokes." This could make for an awkward Book Report Day at the middle school.

His brother Jaime, 12, left, also liked the book, and their friend, Ignacio, 12, became an instant fan right there by the bar. And they were excellent at barguing.

I offered up one of the kid-friendly barguments from the book: Who would win in an underwater race between Superman and Aquaman? We were divided between them. (My thought: If Superman wins, what's the point of Aquaman?)

Also: Who would win in a fight between Darth Vader and Spider-Man. (They thought Vader. I thought Spider-Man.)

Jaime also just submitted to a fun super-hero bargument: Who would win in a race: the Flash or a cheetah? I would think the Flash, but don't forget the cheetah could pounce right away on him and get a head start. Good one Jaime!

We also had a very heated Flavor-Ice bargument Which is the best Flavor-Ice color? Which is the worst?

As you can see below, things got tense. As a matter of fact, these guys actually got kicked out of the bar (gently) minutes after this photo was taken. A proud moment for any parent. I'll have to make copies of this and send it along.

[Note: Tom Farmar first created this bargument during the great Barguments Happy Hour in Oxford last month. Don't forget the Flavor-Ice motto, coined by Brian Wheatley: "You'd be stupid not to buy them."]

But my favorite of the night came from Ignacio, who asked:
If you could buy one thing in the world, what would it be?

Key to this bargument are the rules:

1. You have to actually be able to buy it. You can't buy China, for instance. You could buy Microsoft.

2. You have only one check to write. That is, you go back to your normal spending power the moment after it clears. So if you buy a mansion with the check, you'll have to pay the property taxes with your salary.
Well done, kids! If any schools are interested in making bulk purchases of Barguments, contact me at

UPDATE: Just found where I had written down some other great barguments from the kids: Who would win in a fight: Dwyane Wade or Shaq? (No snickering, Johnny S.) Which is better: Chuck E. Cheese or Gameworks?
I think the Shaq fight will go on the site, too.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

What about Satisfaction?!

A London music school claims to have answered this bargument:
Name the greatest guitar riff ever.
You can find that one in the book, tucked inside a group bargument that asks for the top riff, beer commercial, trick play and car chase.

Here's the list. I can't believe the Stones' Satisfaction isn't on it. That has to be one of the most memorable. And, of course, Dark Star gets a snub. Typical.

1. Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple (1973)
2. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana (1991)
3. Walk This Way - Aerosmith (1975)
4. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix (1967)
5. Sweet Child O Mine - Guns N' Roses (1987)
6. Paradise City - Guns N' Roses (1987)
7. Ace Of Spades - Motorhead (1980)
8. Enter Sandman - Metallica (1991)
9. Under The Bridge - Red Hot Chilli Peppers (1992)
10. Welcome To The Jungle - Guns N' Roses (1987)
11. Run To The Hills - Iron Maiden (1982)
12. Walk - Pantera (1992)
13. Johnny Be Goode - Chuck Berry (1958)
14. Back In Black - AC/DC (1980)
15. Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin (1970)
16. Wake Up - Rage Against The Machine (1992)
17. Highway to Hell - AC/DC (1979)
18. My Generation - The Who (1965)
19. 7 Nation Army - The White Stripes (2003)
20. Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf (1968)
21. Give It Away - Red Hot Chilli Peppers (1991)
22. Paranoid - Black Sabbath (1970)
23. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix (1967)
24. Eye Of The Tiger - Survivor (1982)
25. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits (1984)

Friday, April 4, 2008 3.0

I reshuffled last night. Now the first four pages of the site will be a mix of new barguments and the most heated barguments on the site.

Starting on about Page Five, you'll find the older barguments roughly arranged from ones where the votes are closest to ones that (as Drew Hearon put it) we've found to be "resolved."

I have a feeling this bargument, which a user submitted yesterday, would quickly slip into the "resolved" part of the map.

Pick the superior band: The Rolling Stones or The Who?

But I'm working on a new concept bargument that I think I can wrap this into one that would work.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reduce. Reuse. Bargue.

I don't think anyone has doubted barguments' ability to prompt social change, but even I was surprised to see the National Resources Defense Council endorse Barguments as a key part of the anti-global warming movement.

A blog on the NRDC site by Rob Perks recommends Barguments, and seems to hint that Benjamin Franklin would too. From Rob's blog:

I’m a firm believer in Ben Franklin’s maxim: “Beer is living proof
that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” And I enjoy a lively debate as much
as anyone. So what do you get when you mix beer and arguments? Bar brawls maybe,
but I'm talking about a brilliant cocktail known as a “bargument.”
cheeky buzzword – defined by the
Urban Dictionary as “a debate on any subject
which takes place in a bar and is primarily caused by just the right amount of
booze” – is the subject of a clever new book, appropriately titled
Barguments. Who wouldn’t enjoy downing a couple-three micro-brews and pondering
such age-old questions as:
“Who wins a fight between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and
five angry Grizzly Bears?” (T-Rex)
“Could John and Ponch arrest the Duke
boys?” (Nope)
“Best ‘brothers’ band of all-time?” (Allman)

He then asks readers to start a bargument over global warming. And one did, asking:

What's the least carbon-intensive beer container - keg, bottle or can?

This technically violates the Barguments Rules on at least two fronts. For one, it's a buzz kill. (Global warming sort of brings you down.) Second, there probably is a right answer that could be proven mathematically.

On the other hand, I am very interested in Barguments getting a piece of the $300 million global warming campaign recently launched by Al Gore. So I posted it.

Whatever your answer, try not to feel guilty the next time you order a draft or pick up a six-pack.

(Postcript: The blog reader, JG3000, offered another bargument I'll be stealing for Who wins in a fight between a great white shark and a crocodile in an environment that favors neither animal?)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Twitchy Barguments

Just did nine minutes on the Twitch morning show on ZRock 103 in Lexington, KY.
He had two other hosts-- a guy and a girl. That's really the best set-up for a Barguments radio segment. They're used to arguing with each other, and just dive in. I always feel like an ass interupting the DJs, but at the same time, I figure they don't want me to (80s current events reference alert) "sit there like a potted palm."

I mentioned on the air that now is witnessing the most fierce bargument ever seen on the site. It's in response to this bargument:

Name the better songwriter: Bob Marley or Bruce Springsteen?

As I write this, Springsteen has a solid lead in the votes. But Marley is making a big comeback. The vote might have been skewed by me being on a radio show in North Carolina yesterday afternoon that seemed to draw a classic rock crowd.

But the real debate is raging in the Comments section of this bargument. There are 18 comments there at last count, easily a record.

This is all the more remarkable because the comments feature isn't very user-friendly: you can't tell if there are any comments for a particular bargument without checking, and once you comment it sends you back to the first page.

Some excerpts from the Springsteen vs. Marley bargument:

2008-04-01 11:29
Bruce completely stepped up to the plate after 9/11 with The Rising. Bob Marley was a bit of a one-trick pony.

2008-04-01 16:47
A one-trick pony? The fact that anyone outside of the Caribbean has even heard of reggae music is because of Bob Marley. Springsteen is barely a flicker on the rock radar screen. The ONLY song writer you could compare Marley to would be Bob Dylan, who represented a generational angst, but still not a people's oppression.

2008-04-01 17:00
Hmmmm, that's true, Bob Marley was oddly silent after 9/11...maybe because he had been DEAD FOR 20 YEARS!

2008-04-01 17:59
C'mon! Bob Marley was like a god. Did anyone ever try to assassinate The Boss because of his lyrics?

2008-04-01 18:52
What is wrong with you people?!

2008-04-01 19:14
You've got to give Springsteen credit just for the body of work. It's not Marley's fault he died young, but the fact is Springsteen has a much richer list of great songs.

2008-04-01 19:30
One worked to move towards a political, socioeconomic, and a philosophical change... the other was from New Jersey... WTF?

2008-04-02 03:36
To suggest Johnny Cougar could compete with Springsteen just weakens your argument against Springsteen.

2008-04-02 05:06
It's just little pink houses for you Springsteen voters...

2008-04-02 05:29
They have yet to use a Springsteen song for a TV commercial.

You have to give the bargument so far to the Marley fans, but the votes are the votes. (Hope none of these Marley people buy the book, in which I posed the bargument: Who's the better songwriter: Bob Marley or Jimmy Buffett?)
UPDATE: 11:07 PM WED, APRIL 2nd....

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Barguments in the Carolinas

I was on the Allan Handleman show today out of North Carolina. And as Allan put it, the phone lines "were lighting up." His listeners latched on to the bargument: If you could implant one song in your enemies' heads, which would it be?"

Before we get to the answers, let me expand on this bargument. You shouldn't assume that the song, once implanted, will play forever. You simply have the ability to implant that song for a small amount of time. You must choose the song that then will be both annoying and addicting -- one that you just can't get out of your head.

One candidate most people don't consider but is actually pretty good at embedding itself in your brain: We Are the World.

Here are some of the better nominees from Allan's show: I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight, She Drives Me Crazy, Muskrat Love, Never Going to Give You Up, Afternoon Delight.

They also offered lots of suggestions for Best TV Theme Song. One candidate: the Simon & Simon theme. I loved that show, but can't think of the song. I'll post it here once I find it.

Allan also asked listeners to share their own barguments. Three stood out:

1. Who would win in a chess match between Slingblade and Forrest Gump?
This came from a caller who didn't make it on the air, but the producer told it to me. I'll put that one on

2. Who would win in a fight between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and five angry grizzly bears?
How perfect is that? Look for that on the site soon, but I might save it.

3. Who was the coolest movie character of all time?
This came from Owen in Durham. His candidate: Wooderson from Dazed and Confused. (The Matthew McConaughey character.) Hard to argue. Remember this scene?