Friday, September 30, 2005

Football weekend

Week 4 of the NFL and week 3, 4, 5, or 6 of college, depending on your team's non-conf schedule.

Games to look forward to this weekend, in no particular order:

Texas - Missouri - The win over Ohio State was impressive, but I'm still having trouble believing Mack Brown is worthy of a national championship

A&M - Baylor - When you're talking about the Aggies, every game is a trap game. I just hope they stay the course with Coach Fran.

Oklahoma - K State - The Big One against Texas is looming, but K State is not a pansy. Stoops has not had to deal with much adversity since he showed up in Norman. When do the wheels get back on?

Va Tech - W Virginia - The Hokies are tough. I know a guy in Northern Virginia who is STOKED about this team (wave if you can see me, Dale)

USC - ASU - Tempe was home away from home for about a month this summer. USC could probably beat about half the teams in the NFL.

Florida - Alabama - How much beer do you think will be consumed during this one? And no way a guy named "Urban" should be coaching a team from the Deep South.

As for the NFL:

San Diego - New England - My buddy Joe, who is a Pats lifer, is now living in San D. I don't think Charger fans are all that passionate (much too laid back for that, dude), but still - be careful Joseph!

Jets - Baltimore - Poor Vinny. That's no way to be greeted back into the NFL.

Eagles - KC - Donovan McNab already has enough injuries to kill an average man.

Dallas - Oakland - The Cowboys have played three pansies and are 2-1. Oakland has played three tough teams and is 0-3. Oakland is giving three and a half. Argh. This is why I don't bet.

SF - Arizona - I'm tuning in just to see the giant question mark that will be hanging in the smog of Mexico City. The crowd will be trying to figure out why the NFL hates them so much.

With any luck, those a-holes at Comcast will have my HD receiver fixed by the start of the noon games on Sunday. Of course, Drew's b-day party is at 12:30, but we should be done in time for the 3:00 kickoffs.

Go (insert your team here)!

If this is for real...

This article is supposedly about a technology being developed by Matsushita which will allow transmission of broadband Internet via power lines and the existing electrical outlets in your home. Just think of all the home networking equipment you could toss.

I'm skeptical of any such claims until I actually see it (remember Media Fusion and the cover story in D Magazine about 5 years ago and how that worked out?). However, it sure is nice to dream.

The loss of New Orleans - another view

This article by Jonathan Rauch looks at the pre-Katrina flood control and levee system decisions made by the local, state, and federal govt from a risk vs. reward perspective. Interesting stuff.

Rauch presents a dollars and cents vs probability argument that is well-reasoned and clear. However, he comes around to say that, even with the most conservative estimates of strict, tangible, monetary costs, there’s a valid argument to be made that SOMETHING should have been done. Once you factor in the intangible costs of the destruction of New Orleans (disruption, lives uprooted, and esp, lives lost), it becomes a no-brainer.

Some of you have been subjected to my emails filled with hot sports opinions regarding the failures of the local and state govts to do something, anything, to avert the catastrophe that occurred during and immediately after Katrina. Forget for a moment that the “catastrophe” turns out to be not as bad as it seemed at the time. Instead, let’s recall that this was not the worst-case scenario. Katrina weakened before landfall, and missed New Orleans by a significant margin (NO was on the western, weaker side of the storm). It could have been a lot, a whole lot, worse. And yet, the locals appear to have been caught unprepared:

  • The evacuation was not announced until the Sunday before the storm hit, even though many were calling for it earlier, most notably 23-year-old law student Brendan Loy, but also including many professional weather people and emergency managers.

  • There was no plan in place to help evacuate the estimated 15% of the population that had no access to private transportation.

  • There was no plan in place to make the “shelter of last resort” (the Superdome) a provisioned, sustainable place of refuge for the thousands of people who ultimately came there.

  • There were no hardened communication resources available for first responders and emergency personnel. As soon as the power went out (which everyone knew would happen), communications died and the police force ceased to exist as a viable law-enforcement entity.

I could go on and on.

Does the Bush Administration share some of the blame for the ensuing chaos? Yep. Absolutely.

  • I’ve said many times before that DHS is the worst failure of big govt in the history of big govt.

  • FEMA has become a shell of it’s former self, in part because of it’s new reporting relationship with DHS and in part because of apparent Bush cronyism.

  • Many of the resources that might have helped with post-Katrina recovery are otherwise employed in Iraq.

Again, the list goes on and on.

Regardless (and I’ve said this before too), none of this absolves the city and state govts of their responsibility to look out for their constituents. A responsibility which appears to have been ignored for years.

So, how does all this get resolved? That’s the question, isn’t it? Everything is so politicized now that it’s hard to accomplish much in the way of examining facts and recommening solutions. I fear that, because the body count is significantly lower than Mayor Nagin’s original, off-the-map predictions, we’ll resolve it with the time-honored American method of throwing a bunch of money at it. If so, we will have wasted an opportunity to face some hard truths, most significantly, the truth that the federal govt is not and should not be everyone’s babysitter.

I really meant to stay away from this topic, as it just boils my britches. It’s also old news. But it just doesn’t seem to go away.

BTW - this is the family

Here's Robynne (wife) and Aly (daughter, now 7):

Here's Drew (son - now 5)

Blogging is gaining in popularity (duh)

Everybody's doing it. Or at least reading it. Are you?

Seriously, Wonkette has been quoted as saying that blogging is so easy, her cat could do it. After a few days on this adventure, I agree. Writing this stuff is a snap. The question is, does anyone care? When everyone's got a blog, who will read them?

Geek vacation

Where the Gen Con boys go for weekend getaways - Otherworld Excursions.

I bet the chicks are smoking hot.

Maybe not...

Kenny Rogers has worn out his welcome

And, on the flip side, Kenny Rogers says he's done as a Ranger. Thank God.

I did a complete turn around on Kenny Rogers this year, and am now ready to see his sorry ass somewhere else, pronto. This guy is the epitome of the spoiled athlete. Let me trace his tale for you quickly:
  • Came up thru the Rangers organization.

  • Made it to the bigs after several false starts.

  • Was initially wild as hell, finally calmed down and became a decent pitcher (this took approx 8 years, btw).

  • Got mad at the Rangers about money and took off for NYY.

  • Found that the New York fans and media actually expected him to produce in pressure situations and collapsed like a man without a skeleton.

  • Came back to the Rangers because he "wanted to be closer to family". Translation: He wanted to get back to a place that accepted losing.

  • Got mad at the Rangers about money and turned down a two year deal to go free agent.

  • Found that no one would pay him what he wanted and wound up in Minn with a one-year deal for FAR less than the offer he turned down in TX.

  • Came back to the Rangers because he "wanted to be closer to family". Translation: He wanted to get back to a place that accepted losing.

  • Got annoyed by the media because they dared to criticize him a little and took it out on Larry Rodriguez, a Channel 5 cameraman, along with his camera.

  • Followed the trend of his entire career - posted some nice wins and numbers in May, then fell apart when the team was struggling to stay in contention in July.
I am so ready to see him go bye-bye, I can't stand it. I know the Rangers won't replace him, and will get worse as a result, but it doesn't matter. I have a tough time being a fan of the pro athlete to begin with. Cheering for guys like Kenny Rogers is impossible for me.

This week's heart-warming baseball tale

Tell me that Aaron Small's story doesn't have Disney movie written all over it.

In all seriousness, this kind of thing appeals to all of us, and makes the hated Yankees a bit more palatable. I still wish failure on them (sorry, Cousin Tex), but maybe a little less strongly after reading this rags to riches story.

No need to shop any further

As long as requesting your present is in vogue, I found the perfect gift for me. You'll never have to buy me anything else.

Hockey is here & certain to be better than '04-'05 (we think)

This from Bob Sturm (local sports-talk radio station guy) regarding the new rules this year:

I don't want to be the first one to say it, and honestly, I am pretty sure I am
not. But, I am very concerned about "Gary Bettman's New For You 2005 NHL".

Now, granted, I have only seen about 4 games so far, and they have all been played
with between 50-70% minor league hockey players, but this sport that I love
appears to have undergone a substantial facelift in certain areas, and although
it is met with general disdain to knee jerk this early in the proceedings, I
must tell you that I am concerned.

Of course, it is quickly admitted here that anyone reading or writing on this website is not the target audience of "Gary Bettman's New NHL". We are the few and the proud (they tell us) who loved this sport for what it was. Sure, some alterations make plenty of sense in any sport, but the game itself was exciting and frankly, one of my favorite things to do. But alas, they wanted their "relaunch" in an effort to turn this sport into
basketball on ice, and guys like me sit and wonder what we are looking at right

Tune in to Bob's Blog to read the whole thing and for more insightful sports commentary and radio goofiness.

Keep it on the straight and narrow, brother

Funny Bush joke

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH NO!" the President exclaims, "That's terrible!"

His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands, visibly shaken.

Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"

Completely "Lost"

After watching last night's installment of "Lost" on ABC, I have two comments:
  1. Thank you to the local ABC affiliate (the great WFAA Channel 8) for not breaking in to the show to give us updates on the Apocalyptic thunderstorms that blew through D/FW during the program.
  2. What the HECK is going on?
The show is off to a solid start for season 2 and, while some things have been sorta cleared up (it WAS The Others who nabbed Walt, not a bunch of South Pacific pirates; Charlie is not over his heroin addiction; and Locke has a knife for every occasion), the big mysteries are as muddy as ever.

And what on Earth is that logo that appears on Desmond's shirt along with the contents of the Costco-like storeroom that Kate found herself in, and, apparently, the shark?

Signs of the Apocalypse

I bet they sell a million of these things.

This one is pretty funny, though. Apparently, it's an iron-on, so I guess you can put it right on the kid's stomach. If Child Protective Services pays you a visit, however, you never heard that from me...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Another dude who makes sense

Another right-on-the-money column from Tom Friedman today, regarding the end-game in Iraq. His basic point - if the Sunnis don't decide to play ball, we may as well arm the Shiites and Kurds and get the heck out.

I can't say that I disagree.

It's hard to figure out what exactly the Sunnis are holding out for. The Shiites and Kurds have offered to basically leave them alone and have promised a portion of the oil revenue. Do they want to run the show again?

Note no link to the column itself, as the NYT wants you to cough up $50 a year to join "TimesSelect" and have the privellage of reading their esteemed columnists. I guess I can't blame them - they've got to turn a profit. But, it still ticks me off. Hell, I resented the fact that I have to give them a ton of personal info just to register for the free site.

Well, sorry, NYT. There is NO WAY I am parting with $50 to have the privellage of reading frothing lunatics like Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman. Granted, some of Krugman's stuff is funnier than a "Seinfeld" rerun, but it's not worth that kind of dough to me. Not when there's all kinds of quality reporting available for free.

I so totally hope this is real

Korea's LG is planning (supposedly) to introduce a methanol fuel cell for laptops. The unit runs around $500 and each 10-hour recharge costs a buck or less.

I love fuel cell news! Any excuse to go off on a fuel cell rant is welcome, so here goes:

This is where we HAVE to get (not fuel cells for laptops, fuel cells for EVERYTHING).

The modern world's dependence on fossil fuel is THE root cause of 75% of the problems we face as a society. Can you imagine what it would be like if the Arabs were as influential on world events as the Cambodians or Congolese? If petroleum were not the lifeblood of the world's economy, that's exactly what would happen.

Oil money makes so much bad stuff happen:

  • The corrupt regimes of the Middle East get away with their repressive shenanigans because a) they can afford to and b) we have to let them because we need them as much as they need us.
  • Outrageous energy prices kill what should be a rapidly expanding world economy. Think back to the boom days of the mid to late 90s. Sure, the Internet was exploding and people were kidding themselves about it's value, but at the root of it was CHEAP energy. Remember paying less than $1 for a gallon of gas? I sure do, it wasn't that long ago.
  • The need to expand production of petroleum forces us into places like ANWR in Alaska. I really believe that drilling there can happen without significant impact on the environment, but wouldn't it be better if we didn't have to do it in the first place?
  • I'm a bit conflicted on global warming. Our experience with the cycles of the planet is so minimal and so poorly understood that I think it's reckless to draw any real conclusions about what causes what. With that said, the amount of CO and CO2 being dumped into the atmosphere cannot possibly be good and probably isn't entirely benign. Again, wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to worry about this?
Fuel cells, fusion, wind, and other low-environmental-impact fuels are not that far out of reach, at least in my not-very-informed opinion. Will today's insane energy prices restart the push towards truly viable alternative fuels?

I sure hope so.

Wish I'd had this back at glorious BU

Caught my eye today - a Wired story on It seems that some academics are up in arms over this site, which permits students to "grade" their professors.

While I can certainly understand why SOME professors would have a problem with it, somebody please explain to me how this can possibly be a bad idea? "End user feedback" (which is what this is) works fantastically well for Amazon, BizRate, travel sites, hotels, and any number of other public services.

Maybe my uncle the poli-sci professor can help me with this.

Until then, however, I'm adding it to the list of things I wish had been available in my college days.

Modern-day treasure hunting

I love stories like this. Buried treasure, shipwrecked castaways, high-tech tools. In my next life, I want to come back as Dirk Pitt and do this stuff for a living. Unfortunately, I'll probably wind up roaming the beach with a metal detector, trudging along with my white Tshirt, khaki shorts, dark socks and sandals.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Week 3 - 'Boys dodge their own bullet, Can Pats keep ANYONE healthy?

A little background first:

I used to be as big a fan of the NFL as there was. Growing up, college, after college, I was GLUED on Sundays. I was always a Cowboy fan, and going to school in Boston converted me to a Pats fan as well (after all, Ron Meyer and Craig James were Patriots when I was at BU).

Then, around 1997 a few things began to change:
  • My daughter was born.
  • Jimmy left the Cowboys.
  • Jerry was left at the helm of the Cowboys.
  • Barry became coach of the Cowboys.
  • Free agency started in earnest.
All of these things conspired to make me lose interest in the NFL. And lose interest I did. I had a little fun rooting against Jerry Jones, but for the most part, you couldn't find my interest in the NFL with the Hubble telescope.

Well, over the past few years, I've realized that I missed it. I tried and tried to get back into it, but it just wasn't the same. Finally, the wifey sort of urged me to become a fan again, to invest a little passion in it again. Realizing that this sort of opportunity does not get presented to the average guy very often, I knew that I had to take advantage of it now, or forever hold my peace.

So, this is me trying to get back into the NFL. HDTV helps a lot, but it takes some effort on my part as well.

So, the Cowboys almost dropped one to a contender for “Worst Team in the History of Ever”. Tim Rattay? Who is that guy? Arnaz Battle – a football player or a fight at Lucy’s house (can I get a rim shot)? The Cowboys defense made them look All-World. Here are five words no one has put into the same sentence in about 5 years: Thank God for Drew Bledsoe. He was as cool as you could ask for on that last drive. And Keyshawn Johnson is as close to Michael Irvin as we’ve seen since the glory days.

It was fun to watch, even if it was ugly as heck.

On to the Pats. What does the team’s group health policy look like? Which part of the rule book says they’ve got to lose someone for the season every week? Adam Vinatieri – best pressure kicker ever. Discuss.

Big wins for both teams yesterday. In today’s NFL, its not “how?”, it’s “how many?”. At the end of the season, a squeaker over the Steelers or even the 49ers is just as much of a win as a blowout over the Eagles. Did your team get to file a win w/ the league office? Yes? Then move on, soldier.

Final note: The Cincinnati freakin’ Bengals? Huh?

"The Art of Project Management"

Art? Science? A delicate, difficult-balance-to-strike combination of both?

It's long been my theory that groups of people get things done in spite of themselves. To me, it's astounding that people in groups accomplish anything, what with competing agendas, immaturity, group-think, dunderheadedness, and other factors arranged against them.

Regardless, this is the profession I've chosen - the discipline of making things happen despite the fact that people (and technology) are involved.

Microsoft (my company's patron saint) has a vested interest in making project managers out of people. Thus, this book excerpt. Interesting reading.

The world's greatest radio station

The Ticket in Dallas is, IMHO, the best sports-talk/guy-talk radio station in the country. I have sampled the fine work of The Fan in Atlanta, some sports something in Phoenix, WEEI in Boston, and a few others from hither and yon. Perhaps it's because I'm more familiar with the Dallas personalities, but none of the others hold my interest or, more importantly, make me laugh like good old Sports Radio 1310.

Give them a listen!

World's greatest TV show?

Almost time for this week's installment of "Lost", the greatest TV show in the history of network television.

I'm too confused to even have a theory, but it's great entertainment.

Also high on the Petey scale:
I'll do a Top TV shows list one of these days.

A couple of giggles

The regional phenomenon known as the Aggie joke needs very little explanation when pictures like this are floating around.

UPDATE: There was a method to the madness.

In other news, those nutty Europeans are living up to their second syllable. Or is it third syllable? Eu-ro-pean? Ah, whatever...

And finally...

Gay or not gay? Not that there's anything wrong with that...

A dude who makes sense

One of the first blogs I read regularly was Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit. A political moderate, at least in my book, Glenn's posts are the type that I have found myself forwarding for years. His stuff is what blogging should be all about.

I know that sounds like sucking up to a major figure of the blogosphere, and maybe it is. Regardless, Glenn's blog is consistently one of the best I read. I recommend it highly.

Starting a blog

Well, I've been a reader of many. I'm ready to give this a shot.

I'll post about my family, sports, politics, stories-of-the-day, and just about anything else that comes to mind.

Happy reading!