Saturday, April 28, 2007

NFL Draft

Just a few hours left until the NFL Draft. Thank goodness! Now, mind you, I enjoy, or maybe I should say, enjoyed, watching the NFL Draft for years. I was one of those guys that watched the entire first day and parts of the second (during NASCAR commercial breaks). But lately, it has gotten to be overkill. ESPN has been 24/7 nonstop draft coverage for about 2 weeks now. Do we seriously need that much draft coverage? Anyone who thinks they know anything about football has an opinion and mock draft. For that very reason, I'm not making one. Although, I feel I am more qualifed that some these goobers. Besides, with the trades and unpredictability of it, you can't be right anyway. Mel Kiper (who has never coached a team and seemingly has no qualifications for this job other than watching a ton of football and knowing all the players) doesn't really do that well at handicapping the draft. I heard the other day, he's correctly forecasted something like 12 first round picks over the last 2 years. I could have done that. He picks correctly less than 25% of the time. I already know Monday, all these talking heads and writers will have grades on how their team did in the draft. That's all nonsense. It doesn't matter until Sundays, possibly even Sundays 2-3 years from now. No one ever gives the Patriots good grades on their drafts, but they seem to be reloading that team fine through the draft. Always have. You know why? Because their talent scouts are way better than anyone on ESPN. They are better than you and me. What do we know. If Mel Kiper really had any clue what he was talking about, he would have been hired by a team years ago. So keep in mind as you are watching the draft and Mel and everyone keeps telling you the "best players available" and who a team should pick, that they have no clue what they are talking about. It's a guess, just like you or I could have made given months to prepare.
Enjoy the draft everyone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Texting Competition

Check out this story on CNN, this girl won an text message competition by texting "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" in 15 seconds. I'm not sure how in the world she did that. It took me 45 seconds to type it on a keyboard and I consider myself to be a pretty quick typer. She won $25,000, which she said she's going clothes shopping with. I'm thinking $5000 to Abercrombie, $5000 to Hollister, $5000 to Gap, and where ever else kids shop these days.

Later in the article, it says she sends 8,000+ texts a month!! How? How in the world does she send that many text messages!?!? I did the math for you, that 267/day or about 11 every hour. So, I guess it's possible. But, I figure she's in school 6 hrs/day, sleeps 8 hours/day, so that only leaves 10 hours for texting. Now, you are up to 27 texts/hour, plus she has to text 27 times EVERY waking hour that she's not in school or sleeping, every day. Is she just that popular? What does she have to talk about. I can't even talk that much, much less write out that much every month. Seriously, I can't think of that much to say to that many people that often. Kids these days.

Diversity in MLB

DISCLAIMER: This post is not meant to be racist, please don't interpret it that way. It's just my thoughts on diversity or lack therefore of in Major League Baseball.

Ok, we just celebrated the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, and I have to admit, when I heard that there were very few blacks in baseball, I was a little shocked. Playing fantasy baseball for years, I've glanced at hundreds of players pictures online and I guess it just didn't occur to me that most of them were either white or latin. Especially, all the Dominican Republicans, the number was shocking to me. I went to my current team, and noticed I only had 2 black players, but 4 Dominicans, and 3 other Latin players. I thought I had more.

So, I thought about it, and I have two things that I think led to this situation.

1) Michael Jordan - Yes, I blame Mike. Well, not just Mike, but all his PR and marketing gurus that made everyone want to be like Mike. Michael Jordan changed the NBA. It was no longer about marketing teams, but about marketing superstars. About shoe contracts and McDonalds commercials, and the list goes on. My generation grew up watching Michael Jordan dominate. He made every aspiring athlete want to be like him. Well, those kids chose basketball over baseball. And now, they are all grown up. All the Greg Odens, Kevin Durants, Dwayne Wades of the world grew up watching Michael Jordan and chose to pursue basketball and now you are seeing more quality basketball players over baseball players and MLB teams have been forced to look elsewhere, like Latin America.

And the biggest thing is and it can be changed:
2) the NCAA scholarship limit. Do you know what it is? For football: 85. For basketball 13. Or, enough to field a team for each. For baseball: 11.7. That's right, 11.7. Lacrosse and Track and Field both have more. That's barely enough for a starting 9. Its not enough to field a team of position players and pitching staff. So, coaches end up having to put people on partial scholarships and guys who are stars in college ball could only be on like .25 of a scholarship. So coaches have to go after smart guys that they are get on a partial academic scholarship as well or rich kids that don't need a scholarship. So, all the good players skip college cause they can't get a baseball scholarship and then get stuck in the minors forever (or don't even get drafted because its impossible to judge talent and properly scout high schoolers, especially to consider you are scouting the person to do directly to professional baseball, not college like other sports) or if they want to go to college, they have to go to college on scholarship for another sport, like basketball or football. And end up sticking with that one. Why do you think college baseball isn't as big as college football or basketball? Part of the reason (metal bat issue aside) is that the scholarships are not on par with the amount of participants. The NCAA does this for parity, is what they say, so that smaller schools can have chance in at least one of the Big 3 (football, baseball, basketball). But it has to change. So, if good players aren't coming up through college, they are coming up where they can get some playing time, Latin America. I'm not asking for 30 baseball scholarships, I think you could see vast improvement just upping it to 20. And still have parity. In all of college sports, I think this is one of the most important issues, even more so that the BCS. The BCS is fine next to this. I mean, if you are a high school player and looking to go to college on scholarship (because maybe no MLB scouts have been to your small school), you have to chose another sport over baseball, because you just aren't getting a baseball scholarship. You certaintly aren't going to be offered a full baseball scholarship, no one is. You better plan to go on a football or basketball scholarship.

I don't blame MLB at all for the lack of blacks on their rosters. They can't control where teams get their talent (and everyone knows that no one can control the NCAA and what they do) and teams are going to invest in where the talent is coming from, right now, the Dominican Republic. And rightly so, we've screwed up college baseball, created a gigantic minor league system that is too big for its own good, screwed up the whole steriod thing, if you were a talented, athletic kid (white or black) today playing sports, would you chose baseball? I know I wouldn't. We need to make baseball fun again for kids, we need to teach them the strategy of the game so that it entralls them and lets get kids playing baseball again. We need to put all this behind us and build on the future or we are going to lose the American Pasttime for good. Now is the time.

Dillard House, Dillard, GA Trip

The wife and I recently went to Dillard, GA just trying to get away from it all for a day or so. I remembered as a kid, we used to go to the Dillard House in Dillard to have a nice meal every once in a while, and that they had horseback riding and it was nestled in the mountains with good views all around. Sadly, I would not recommend anyone stay at the Dillard House or give John Dillard any more money. Here's why:
So, we went online, booked a room, and reading over the site, Jeni was all excited about horseback riding, waking up to a great view, no Internet, hiking, and a nearby Drive In Theatre (that happened to be playing two movies we wanted to see as a double feature, I do recommend Blades of Glory and Shooter, both good films). So, we checked in, and went to our room. The place had to have been built in the 1800's. It was not much of a room (after the 15 minutes it took us to find it). The toilet was constantly running and the shower was too, you walk into the room and it sounded like running facits. Not a pleasure flowing creek, it sounded like toilet running. This was at roughly 4:30 pm. I called the front desk and reported it, and they said they'd send someone to look at it. We sat on the deck in the rocking chairs for a few (15 minutes at best) and then headed off to dinner, walking around and putt-putt at Tuska-something Falls and then to the drive-in theatre. Like I said, double feature. Didn't get back to the room until 12:30 am. Toilet still running, shower still running. I know I can't sleep in there. (The beds were harder than rocks too and everything past my knee hung off it, but I could have dealt with that). So we went up to the front desk to tell them. Well, they have no after hours maintenance. They can't do anything after hours. 24/7 is not in their vocab. They had two other rooms left. We went to check them out. The first, also has a running toilet. And it was right next to the bed. Seriously. It looked more like a prison cell. The next room was actually two rooms connected by a bathroom. The bathroom had a tub only (because it isn't the 21st century in GA yet) and each room had a twin bed. And frankly, I've slept on couches bigger than these twin beds. Plus, the door didn't lock on one of the rooms. So, out of rooms, we went to get a refund. Plus, I wonder if during a 15 minute stay, if anyone has ever put in 3 work orders. Well, no one can give you a refund at the Dillard house. No one. Absolutely, no one. I was told to call the business office the next day and MAYBE they could help, that is if they believe me, if they are willing to, and if Jupiter aligns correctly with Mars. Frustrated, we drove to the Days Inn down the rode and stayed. After some very productive flea market shopping the next morning, we went to the business office. **Side Note: The Rabun County flea market is loaded with Dale Earnhardt merch, I'm not sure news of his death has spread there yet, but didn't want to inform them for fear of what they may have done to me** At the business office, they didn't want to even talk to me. Seriously, Jeni and I were standing in an office with two people in it and both of them ignored us until we spoke up. For a minute, I thought I had my invisibility shield on, then remembered I didn't have one, I was merely a disgruntled customer. After explaining my situation (which I could tell they had advance notice of, that guy at the front desk probably wrote something nasty about me), they didn't care to help. They said I would have to talk to John Dillard. Himself, the John Dillard of Dillard House and Dillard, GA. No one in that town can give a refund for anything except John Dillard. And he was unable to be contacted on Saturdays. Again, there is no 24/7, there is no 'on duty'. (By the way, when I had asked the front desk guy the night before what he would do if something happened and there was an emergency, who would be contact? He said '911, sir, they handle that kind of thing'. I told him my boss would never go for that answer.) Worthless to argue with lower class citizens, we left. First of all, I have a hard time believing that Mr. Dillard is the only one authorized to give a refund in that town. Secondly, one of the few things that sets me off it getting ripped off and I felt my refund odds were slim to none. Getting ripped off, it makes my blood boil. I'm a nice guy 99% of the time, just don't rip me off. In fact, those two figureheads at the business office said I only had a chance at a full refund or even a partial one. I already had plans in my head for and was very, very upset with a side of that punched in the stomach feeling. Needless to say, we didn't feel like giving any more money to the Dillards and called to cancel our horseback riding that afternoon. Only to find out that it had already been cancelled for us, by the Dillard House no less. Yeah, the stable person seemed as shocked as I was that it had been cancelled by them and not us.
Now, it is important to say, I did get a call in about an hour to say that I had in fact gotten authorized for a full refund. Which I was very happy about. Guess, where I go to get the refund? The front desk. They can process it afterall I guess. So, thank you Mr Dillard for my refund, but next time, why don't you update your hotel/inn and bring it into at least the 20th century. I don't ask for much, a queen sized bed at least, working shower and toilet, and a locking door. It's not much. The Days Inn, Ramada Inn, and Quality Inn down the street, they all qualify. They even have free breakfast. And next time, how about you make the refund process and complaint process and maintenance process a lot easier, you know, like a legitimate hotel instead of all this smoke and mirrors trying to get an answer. I know had Jeni and I not stayed on top of the situation, that refund would never have happened. Wait, wait, wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. There will be no next time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tux 500

The Linux community is trying to raise enough money to sponsor an Indy car with Chastain Motorsports in this years Indy 500. From their website:

"Our goal is simple: we want to collect community donations to enter a Linux sponsored car in the 2007 Indianapolis 500. We need your help!"

I think this is a great idea and think it would be really neat to see all the Linux distros unite to sponsor a car and help generate some interest in the OS. Check out their website at

Some interesting tidbits I found on the website.

-If less than 1% of the Linux community donates $1, they could generate the money they needed.
-Indy car fans are 214% more likely than the the general U.S. population in the adaptation of new technology
-Indy car fans are 289% more likely than the the general U.S. Population to try a new brand based on the brand's participation in the Indy Car Series

If this works, then they do plan on trying to get sponsorship in other events as well, but this would be an awesome start. I already threw my $5 in, I challenge all my other nerd/dork/geek friends out there to at least match that.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Hotel Deals

Ok, I've discovered something I thought I should share with everyone. When you go into a hotel and ask for the rate, they respond with a number. That begins a negotiation.
Until recently, I thought that number was static, that it couldn't be haggled down. Now, I'm getting single occupant discounts, military discount, and the AAA discount all rolled into one. It may not sound like much, but over Christmas, I held my ground and talked her down $10. On my most recent trip to Louisville, I convinced him I'd stay elsewhere over paying for his extra fees for double occupany. So, he waived that $6. I've saved $16 in just two stays. Now, I'm kicking myself wondering how much I could have saved over the years.
Of course, the later into the night you book (past 11 pm, they figure they its better to sell at a lower price than have the room sit empty) the better and if you have a manager around, then you are set.
I don't think this will work if you book well in advance, but you might get a few bucks off. But next time you are travelling and need to stop somewhere for the night, remember, haggle, haggle, haggle.