Friday, September 30, 2005
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)!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
"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?"
- 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.
- What the HECK is going on?
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?
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
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 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?
I sure hope so.
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.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
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.
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?
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.
Give them a listen!
I'm too confused to even have a theory, but it's great entertainment.
Also high on the Petey scale:
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...
Gay or not gay? Not that there's anything wrong with that...
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.