Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Preparation

For once, a serious post. Those of you who know me know that I have many goals for my life. One of them is quite shallow. That is, to attend the Super Bowl. It will likely never happen because I can't and will never be able to justify paying $6,000+/ticket on StubHub or any other ticket exchange unless I wind up filthy rich somehow. For me to go to the Super Bowl, I'll need to find face value tickets somewhere or be comped them. The point of this post though is that I sometimes have very vivid dreams that I do have Super Bowl tickets and it's the day of the game. In these dreams, I never make it to the game though I'm in the host city and near the stadium. I've had lost tickets, stolen tickets, been at the "complex" and unable to find correct stadium, etc. It has really gotten me to think. How often in our lives do we really want something badly and then not prepare for it? I think we halfheartedly expect it to happen on its own or to not at all for us and resign ourselves to that end. Obviously, in my example, there is not much preparation I can do in advance not knowing which Super Bowl I might go to and all the planning would need to be done once I acquired tickets. But I just wanted to put it out there in a broader sense as it's something I've been thinking about since Sunday. What are your goals in life and what are you doing to prepare yourself for them? Do you have a plan in place to see them through? I certainly don't, but I think it's about time I start putting something together.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book Review "3 Nights in August"

Quite a while back, a friend of mine, Craig T, posted a quote on his website from Charlie "Tremendous" Jones that said "You are the same today as you'll be in five years, except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read." Just as it inspired Craig to read more, it has done the same for me. Especially since I don't like meeting new people, I figured I better pick up a book.

With Tony La Russa recently signing a contract extension and the Cardinals letting McRae go and hiring McGwire, I thought of a book I finished about 2 months ago called "3 Nights in August." It's by Buzz Bissinger, who also penned Friday Night Lights. In the epilogue, he explains that while he didn't intend for the book to be an answer to Moneyball, it turned out being considered that. The book is geared more toward hard core baseball fans, and La Russa and his staff (at the time of the book anyway) are certainly of the old baseball guard and not the Harvard MBA, number-crunching stat nerds that are praised in Moneyball. The book chronicles the Cardinals 2004 season through the window of a 3 game series. The book goes inning by inning, sometimes pitch by pitch through a 3 game series (in guess what month). Mixing that with La Russa's baseball stragedy, career experiences and life, and the season so far keep the book flowing and not feeling as if it's a book simply about a 3 game series. Overall, I recommend the book to anyone who is a baseball fan and particularly anyone who as read Moneyball, to see the other side of the story.

Also, another book to keep you going through the baseball offseason, I finished "The Long Journey" home this fall as well. It's the story of a minor league prospect during World War II. It's a good mix of baseball and history.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Grease-o-meter

This article is a little old, but have you heard the latest fair food? Deep fried butter. Really? That doesn't even sound good. So, let's me get this straight, someone looked at a stick of butter and thought, we should fry that. Tastes great and will kill me, but hey, I bet roll it in batter and fry it in old grease. That just makes no sense.

Anyway, see the below article for all the other latest fair fare.

http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dws/wfaa/latestnews/stories/wfaa090901_wz_statefairfoods.13a95680b.html

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nobel prize

Nobel prize

So Obama has won a Nobel peace prize?  For what?  He's been the president for 9 months!  Shouldn't we give it a little time to see if his policies are actually successful? It's far too early to tell in my opinion.  Besides, there were plenty of other deserving nominees this year.  What about the guy who invented the snuggie?  How come he gets shafted?  It's a blanket with sleeves people!  Genius.  Now there's someone who has made the world a better place. 

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!  Think its too early to say it?  Apparantly not.  Visit your local Hobby Lobby or craft store and Christmas is in full swing.  Heck, at Hobby Lobby this week, Christmas is already 30% off.  At Kmart and Walmart, the gardening supplies are dwindling and Christmas items are starting to appear.  At Kmart, its difficult to tell whether its Halloween or Christmastime, it all depends on which aisle your in.  Christmas has been starting to come earlier every year and lately, its like Thanksgiving does exist anymore except to give us Black Friday.  I don't care for Halloween, the best part of Halloween is November 1st and half priced candy sales, but still, its October for crying out loud.  Labor day better be on the lookout next year, as Christmas season might take over September too!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SEC Preview

My final conference preview has been posted on RedShirtFootball.com, the SEC. Enjoy, and remember to sign up at www.redshirtfootball.com/pickem to pick games against me this fall and play in any of our pools.

http://redshirtfootball.blogspot.com/2009/08/sec-preview.html

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Football Pick'em

Normally, I post my picks every week on this blog or my redshirtfootball.com one. However, this year, I'm giving you a chance to pick against me on redshirtfootball.com. That's right, I'll be running a couple pick'ems for college and NFL and selecting a few games each week for everyone to pick the winners of, either straight up or against the spread. I'm also going to try out a "point spread" game that Craig T told me about and that he has played in the past. You can sign up at the link below:

http://www.redshirtfootball.com/pickem/index.php

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Big 12 Preview

My Big 12 preview has been posted, and if nothing else, you need to read the Oklahoma Sooners bit and check out the pic of Sam Bradford I found.

http://redshirtfootball.blogspot.com/2009/08/big-12-preview.html

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Woofy Treats

The other day I was at the mall picking up a few things from Sears on my lunch break when I stumbled across vehicle in the below picture. The picture was taken on my camera phone, so it's pretty blurry, but basically, it's a trailer attached to a truck, selling "Frozen Woofys." I can't make this stuff up. That's right, it's an ice cream truck for dogs. And not just with any frozen confections for our dogs, organic treats. Organic. Wow. It would seem we feed better stuff to our dogs that we do ourselves. On the back of the truck, it was advertising that they come in two great flavors that dogs love. What are those, "cat" and "human ankle?" Perhaps, "dirty shoes" or "rotten trash?" Anyway, I thought the Doggy Bistro downtown was bad, frozen organic treats, now, we've really lost it. Leave your suggestion for possible flavors in the comments section.

Pac 10 Preview

My Pac-10 preview has been posted on the RedShirtFootball blog. Enjoy.

http://redshirtfootball.blogspot.com/2009/08/pac-10-preview.html

Monday, August 10, 2009

You're getting WHAT done?

Last weekend Jeni and I went to the new Academy Sports store in Greenville. They were still having their Grand Opening sale and lots going on to attract customers, from a giant pond outside with hundreds of pounds of catfish for people to catch, mini-golf course, the Clemson fishing team, Reebok, Bridgestone, etc, all on site.
In the golf section, I had a little explaining to do to Jeni for what I got done, as it sounds a little perverted. I got ball fitted. That's right, ball fitted. And it has nothing to do with what size jock strap one needs. It's very similar to being club fitted, except with golf balls instead of clubs. They have all this high tech machinary that takes several pictures as the ball leaves the tee and measures launch angle, back spin, side spin, etc. So, you pick out a club that's similar to yours and take a few swings. He asked me about the shaft on my current driver. In honesty, I won't shell out the dough for a flexible graphite composite whatever shaft, so instead of saying that, I just said that it was stiff. Hey, for my price range, stiff is all they make. So, I had to make do with a Callaway driver that sells for around $300, about what my entire set, plus bag and everything is worth. You first hit with a ball similar to one that you currently use and get measured and then since this was put on by Bridgestone, they pick out a Bridgestone ball that best fits your game, or in my case, lack therefore of. At one point he asked, "Have you had a chance to play much golf this year?" So, after I'd hit a few with the Top Flight, he suggested that I give up golf and try baseball. He hadn't seen me in the batting cages recently. The ball moves in baseball, I need a sport where the ball sits still for me to hit it. So after he picked out a ball for me to use that was 10 inches in diameter.... No, kidding, actually, he picked out a Bridgestone e6+ for me. It is designed to reduce side spin and back spin (both of which I'm really high on) because of it's anti spin inner cover. Surpringinsly, not the most expensive ball they make. After taking some swings with that, it reduced my backspin by 1300 rpm changed my side spin by a factor of 500 rpms. Anyway, golf is just a time killer til football season, which as of today, is only 22 days away and the season tickets came in the mail yesterday. Anyway, I highly recommend Academy Sports, it's like Sports Authority meets Bass Pro Shop and if you get a chance, you should get ball fitted. Just try not to laugh when they ask you how you like your shaft, stiff or flexible.

Big 10 Preview

Below is the link to my Big 10 Preview.


http://redshirtfootball.blogspot.com/2009/08/big-ten-preview.html

Greenville Drive Home Run

Jeni and I enjoying going down to Fluor Field in historic west end downtown Greenville every once in a while and take in a Greenville Drive baseball game. The Drive are a single A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. It's a nice stadium and they put on a good show for all the fans and the games are always pretty good. A couple weeks ago when we went I was fortunate enough to take the below picture that I really like. I'm sure all your photography majors and critics out there will find tons of fault with my picture taking ability, but I think it is a cool picture. This was actually a home run, so that ball you see streaking off the bat and into left center will eventually clear the fence and bring the Drive to within 3 runs of the lead. Someday I'll blog about how Major League Baseball is too controlling and dictated that Greenville name our team the Drive instead of what the fans wanted, which was a name honoring the baseball tradition of our town.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

ACC Preview

My ACC Preview has been posted on the Redshirt Football blog.

Issam, I think you will be quite pleased with my prediction.

ACC Preview

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Big East Preview

Over the next week, I'll be posting my college football conference previews with my predictions for how each BCS conference will shake out on the Red Shirt Football blog. Enjoy.

Big East Preview

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bad Soap and Jorts

Two quick takes:

A couple weeks ago we were at Frankie's Fun Park, having guess what... fun. After washing my hands, I quickly noticed that they have very badly scented hand soap. I can't stand bad soap because as soon as you wash your hands with it, you can't get the smell off for at least 10 washs with good soap. Good soap scent has left your hands by the time you walk out of the restroom, like it's supposed to. Frustrating.

Also, my step-sister Allison, who loves to be mentioned or referenced in the blog, pointed out some guy wearing jean shorts. My wife informs me that these are actually called 'jorts.' These were real ones too, as in, they used to be jeans and then got cut off to be shorts. I think he was just trying to bring them back into style. All I have to say is, if you are trying to bringing anything back in style, you need to do it one at a time. Meaning: the mullet, top gun sunglasses, and handlebar stach are a bit much altogether. Just bring them back into style one at a time, otherwise, you might want to drive around in a dolrean telling everyone you just arrived from 1986.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Produce and Fireworks

On my way back from Charlotte on Saturday morning, I stopped and picked up some locally grown peaches. I find it interesting that every peach stand also doubles as a fireworks stand. All the roadside produce stands up by TR towards Asheville that I could think of also double as fireworks stands. So my question is, what is it about fresh produce that makes people want to blow stuff up? I guess there is just something about a fresh picked peach that makes people what to shoot copious amounts of gunpowder, sulphur and cheap packaging into the atmosphere. In reality, they are both seasonal items so I can see economically that it makes sense as you can get more sales volume, prolong your sales timeline and you are hedging your bets against a drought or bad growing season with the fireworks. So I understand having two different seasonal items in the same store/stand. But how about a non-seasonal item? Or something other than fireworks? I guess it's just easy, someone did it and make a decent living so now everyone is doing it. To me, fireworks are risky. Fire risk and safety considerations aside, I would think that fireworks sales are just as unpredictable and fickle as peach sales. If it were me, I'd want at least one of my stand/store offerings to be a stable business that had a certain amount of guaranteed cash flow. So, maybe there is something about produce that makes people want to buy/shoot off fireworks after all.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

MJ

I have asked many people over the last couple weeks, "How's life been for you post-Micheal Jackson?"  Based on what I've seen from the news, people are generally having a hard time with it, some have even said that their daily lives are not the same.  However, that has not been the case with anyone I've talked to.  Everyone I've talked to said, "What about the last 20 years?". Apparently, death was the  best career move that Micheal could have made.  All the sudden, Michael is the king of pop again, he's getting all types of credit for changing not only the music industry, but also paving the way for Obama and Tiger Woods.  Really?  Shouldn't we also say he paved the way for Hillary Clinton and Mia Hamm then?  This is the same guy that morphed from a black man to a white woman in front of our eyes and then molested boys at his "ranch"* and now in death, he's "the greatest entertainer to live."  I think its interesting how the media choses to villify some celebrities even in their death, but praise others.  And for the most part, America follows their lead like little sheep.  Sad.  And I think that it was Sharpton that was making a big deal that MJ broke the color barrier on MTV.  Really?  How long from the time MTV first went on the air until the color barrier was broken, 10 mins?  20?  Maybe an hour at best.  Let's not put him in the same category as Jackie Robinson or some of the black musicians who faced real color issues in the 50's and 60's. 
The good news is that the media are almost done covering this story as our 24/7 coverage has dwindled down to a few stories here and there now. 

*side note:  if anyone invites your kid over to their "ranch" and there are no cattle or horses on the "ranch", be wary. 

Friday, July 17, 2009

Computer Abuse doesn't pay

Last media post of the week, I promise. This video starts out like some others I've seen, but you have to stick around until the end, it's worth it. I am known at work for tossing a mouse or two in frustration and taking out my struggles on my equipment. Now though, I'll be sure to make sure there is not an All Spark around before I do (my fellow Transformers fans will get understand referance). So remember, next time, think before you abuse.
video

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Comments on Websites, part 2

I've previously discussed on this blog that I don't like how every major site now has a comments section on the bottom of every article. I was listening to the ESPN Bill Simmons podcast the other day with Chuck Klostermann and they brought up an excellent point on this topic and worded it way better than me. Basically, it's that major sites are tailoring their content towards those who are posting. For example, the latest article on a scandal or SEC football article will stir thousands of comments and debate amongst the posters, but the well-written, well-researched article that adds something meaningful to the conversation has 3 comments on it. Obviously, it's clear then where they are going to focus their attention at. And I agree with Chuck, that as sites begin to tailor and be persuaded by the comments of their readers, it reduces the quality of the content. I've attached a segment of the podcast so you can hear what I'm talking about. Also, another side note, if I don't like all these idiots commenting on websites, you can only imagine how I feel about it during the MLB All-Star game coverage, the NFL draft and now Thursday night college football coverage. Grrrr..

Click here to listen

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

E-Z Rentacar or E-Z Ripoff?

Those of you who know me know that I'm a cheapskate and am all about saving every penny that I can. A cheapskate and a pack rat. That said, I'm normally the type of guy why would use a company like E-Z Rent-a-car. However, over the holiday weekend, they were the last online company to still have cars at the airport, they knew it and raised their prices. Having studied economics (both macro and micro), I understand supply and demand and would not have been too upset had they raised their prices with supply dwindling. Even doubling their prices, I can understand that. Maybe even tripling. But multiplying them by 7! That is an outrage! That is price gouging, which I thought was illegal, but apparently not in every state. Unbelievable. In fact, no one that I told the rate they were trying to charge actually believed me that they had set their rate that high. In fact, it was so high, that for only an additional $25, I could have gotten a limo service instead. I obviously ended up not getting a car from E-Z Rent-a-car and now never will. That's right, because of this absurd attempt at price gouging, you'll never see me in a car from E-Z. So, how much were they trying to charge? 100/day? Nope. Would have considered it. $150/day. Not even close. $275/day the first time I looked! And it increased to $284/day over the next 12 hours. And that was for an economy car! I'm inserting a screenshot just because I know you would never believe me otherwise. I want to know who is renting an SUV for $500/day. For the prices they were trying to charge, I was strongly considering buying a car and then selling it 5 days later. I figure there is no way I'm taking a loss of more than $100/day on the buy/sell deal. Ridiculous.



That said, I did pay a doubled price from Enterprise and although I was relatively pleased with the rental itself, I have to say "We'll pick you up" is a complete marketing lie. On the commercials, they show them driving through the countryside to pick someone up, nope. Not true. And whereas I expected there to be a relatively tight pickup range, the range is actually only "10" miles. But not really. The range is also territorial and they will not cross into the range of another Enterprise. So, for example, in a Downtown area where there are 3-4 Enterprise locations, the effective range is more like 4-5 miles before they are into the next Enterprise range. And they won't pick you up at the airport, so you are flying into somewhere and need a car, hope you like riding in a taxi.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wal-Mart Saftey

I saw this sign in my local Wal-Mart the other day and had to take a picture of it to share.
Not only is safety spelled hilariously wrong, but the wording of the sentence makes it quite comical. The saftey preposition should precede the instruction to not sit or stand on the shelf. So, next time you are in Wal-Mart, be careful and watch your step, it's for your saftey.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mt Evans Pics

As promised, a couple pics from the Mt Evans drive. More vacation pics and rants/raves upcoming.

Click on the picture for more pictures.


Do not disturb?

Do not disturb?

Who is putting out the do not disturb sign at hotels and then complaining that their room is not getting clean?  Who are you?  Why are you doing this to us?  You have ruined 'do not disturb' for the rest of us.  Now, thanks to you, we get disturbed.  That's right, the last couple hotels I stayed at have policies against using the do not disturb sign for prolonged periods.  The most recent made the sign only in effect for day 1, after that, they are cleaning your room anyway.  2 hotels ago, the housekeeping knocked on my door every day and made me sign a piece of paper saying I had my do not disturb sign out and didn't want my room clean.  In other words, I had to be disturbed in order to confirm that I didn't want to be disturbed, in two languages.   Funny, I thought that was what the sign was for.   Maybe instead of a sign, I need some type of banner.  A "seriously, disturb at your own risk" banner.  A lot of the time, its because I'm travelling and working late for work, and I want to sleep in instead of being woken up to sign my name confirming that I don't want to be woken up.  Maybe someday some when we all have personal droids, this won't be an issue as my droid can stand guard and sign my name for me, but until then, I'm very displeased in those of you who have ruined the do not disturb sign.  So long sleeping in at the hotel.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mt Evans

Mt Evans

Enough time has passed that I can now talk about what happened on Monday.  Monday, I had the most harrowing drive of my life. 
Jeni and I were in Colorado and decided to drive to the top of Mt Evans, the highest paved road in America.  Its supposed to be a very scenic drive, lots of wildlife, breathtaking views, etc.  Well, it was breathtaking alright, as in unable to breathe.  We were cruising right along, not a worry in the world, and then we got above the tree line.  Not only was there a couple thousand feet cliff off the side of the road, there was no guard rails either.  I know guards rails are a kinda false sense of security, but still, sure would have been nice to have.  I'm not normally scared of heights, but I have to say that my blood was pumping pretty good the whole way and I almost turned back several times.  One of the scariest things was getting glimpes of the road ahead and knowing that what you see someone else doing in a couple thousand feet is going to be you next.  All in all, I wouldn't recommend the drive for anyone weak of heart or even marginally afraid of heights.  It certainly did a number on my nerves and kept me awake and on edge well into the night.  I will post a few pictures from the drive up tomorrow as well as some more thoughts and ramblings from the trip.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bulletproof Canoes

Bulletproof Canoes

One of my Spring semester classes was on innovation and technology.  One of the things we talked about briefly one week was a new woven fabric that is practically bulletproof.  My first thought was to make police uniforms, hunting gear, and/or military uniforms out of it.  Maybe some suits for the secret service, FBI agents, and the President to wear.  Nope.  The first application chosen was canoe lining.  I didn't realize there was such a gunshot wound risk while canoeing.  I was never a big fan of being in a canoe just because of the sheer effort involved in paddling, but now that I know I also need a bulletproof canoe you can definitely count me out.  Paddling and dodging bullets?  No thanks, I'll pass. 
After testing the fabric on canoes, they've found that its very shock absorbing and are taking their product to race cars next.  So, I guess it will still be a few years before you can get your bulletproof sweater to wear around town or to West Virginian family gatherings.
  


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July

Happy Fourth everyone.  Celebrate our freedom by doing some American today, like blowing up large amounts of paper, sulphur and gunpowder or grilling some hamburgers.  Jeni and I will be celebrating by horseback riding through some great American countryside and of course, watching some fireworks.  Go America!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Josh Womack

I think this guy is amazing. I won't tell you what happens whenever I try this except to say that there are jammed fingers and bruised wrists involved. And had there been anything breakable around, it would not have been pretty.



Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The governor

The governor

I've been asked to comment on our poor, misguided governorr, Mark Sanford.  I do have to say, the episode has left me quite speechless.  My comment is ... <Blank stare>.   I can say that I will never think of "hiking the appalachain trail" the same again.  The phrase has a whole new meaning, and is not quite the marketing that the appalachain trail was looking for I'm sure.  The sad part of the whole ordeal is that this is all about 7-8 years early for Mark.  Supposedly, he was in line to be a republican presidential candidate after Obama is done.  If this comes out after he's President, it's no big deal, just ask Clinton.  But beforehand, he might have to kiss that nomination goodbye.

Speaking of Obama, didn't he campaign that he was going to reduce government spending?  Has he done anything aside from spending money since being in office?  I know there a lot of criticism that Bush was always going over budget and increasing the deficit, as for Obama, I don't think it counts as staying within budget if you just print the money you need to make up the difference.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Newest member of the family

Jeni and I just found out about a week ago that we were expecting. However, it's not what you think. We were checking out a cypress tree in our back yard, debating how much to cut it back, when we found several robin eggs in a nest. So, we didn't cut the tree back and were expecting a couple robins in the near future. This week, Jeni went out to check out how the little eggs were doing and she had the rare opportunity to actually see an egg hatch. Not only that, we managed to get it on film for the entire world to see. Enjoy.
video

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Belmont Availability

Has any horse been dissed as much as Mine That Bird? Now comes reports that not only did Calvin Borel decide to run another horse in the Preakness, but his jockey in the Preakness 'has other plans' and won't ride him in the Belmont. So, I'm officially volunteering to ride Mine that Bird in the Belmont. I won't take a salary or anything, I just want 15% of the winnings and 5% of the stud fees earned over the next 10 years. Not too much to ask, I don't think. At least I'm willing to ride him, no one else seems to be. Do these jockey's know that Mine that Bird won the Derby and came in second in the Preakness? Had it not been for that "lady of the night" Rachel Alexandra ruining everything, we'd have ourselves a Triple Crown contender. In fact, it should be illegal to run a horse in the Preakness that didn't even run in the Derby. Where are Pat Day and Gary Stevens at? This type of nonsense would never happen if they were still riding. I know my last post was about how baseball lacked integrity and I'm pretty sure that horse racing is by no means even close to being better than baseball in that area, but come on. In this economy you gotta at least try to get fans interested.
Anyway, regardless, just wanted to put it out there, I'm available to ride Mine That Bird in the Belmont since no one else apparantly is willing to ride a Derby winner in a Triple Crown race that he's likely to win.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Steroids / Baseball Integrity

With Manny Ramirez recently getting a 50 game suspension for using a banned substance, the talk has been stirred up again about how substance abuse and steroids ruins the integrity of the game. The obvious answer is yes, of course it does. However, this is baseball we are talking about. There is no other major league sport that I can think of that has less integrity that baseball over the course of it's history. This is a sport where not just one player has been banned for life for betting on the game and point shaving, but an entire team was convicted of it (the 1919 "Black" sox). We are currently in the steroid era, but we've certainly had other dubious era's in baseball. Corked bats, spit balls. Teams have staff who are specifically assigned to spy on the opposing manager and try to steal their signs and crack them.
Cheating has always been a part of baseball and it always will be. With all this cheating ingrained into the history of the game, I just can't see how steroids violates the integrity of the game. It merely confirms that it is still a game without integrity. So next time another player gets a case of the mascot head and gets sat down for steroids and has their "legacy" ruined, don't think of it as destroying the integrity of the game, think of it as them continuing the cheating subculture that has plagued this game throughout its history.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

When Pigs ....

Race? On a recent trip to Texas, I saw the back of a semi truck that I couldn't help but find a bit odd. The back door was not closed all the way, and it clearly stated on the door why. Because there were racing pigs inside. My first thought was, you can race pigs? And my second was, I've got to find my camera because no one is going to believe this.

So, unbeknownst to me, you can race pigs. Immediately, several comical pictures came to mind as to what a racing pig may look like. In my mind, they have numbers tattoed on the side of them and are covered with decals. Then, the practical start coming, do the pigs know they are racing? What do they get if they win, the chance to avoid becoming bacon for another day? What is a pig's motivation to race? How in the world do you train a pig to race? Is there mud and slop across the finish line and at the starting line it's clean and sterile? Are there professional pig trainers like in horse racing? Is this legal? Can I bet on it? How do I know which pig to bet on, are there odds like in horse racing? I guess being new to the 'sport', I just have a lot of unanswered questions, but I have to say, racing pigs sounds a whole lot better to me than flying pigs.
What an amazing revelation, racing pigs, now if I can only find where these happen at. I've created a mockup below of what a race pig looks like in my mind. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Typesetting

So, I just learned that there is an ongoing debate out there as to whether there should be one or two periods after the end of a sentence. I had no clue. All through school, we were drilled that there should be two spaces after a sentence. Now, I'm hearing that for professional letters, memos, acedemic papers, etc, you only need one. You should only use two spaces if you need an additional pause for affect, email, personal correspondance or if you are publishing a work of fiction. The two space rule is left over from typewriter with monospaced typsets, today's word processors have proportionally spaced fonts which make the text easier to read with just the one space. In fact, some people consider the extra space "distracting and unattractive". To me, it's absurd that this argument even exists. Does it really matter? Do people really shutter when they see two spaces at the end of a sentence? If so, they shouldn't read this blog because I feel like it looks better that way and plan to continue to use it in this context. And all my papers for school will continue to have two spaces to make them a few lines longer. ;) One wonders that if the great minds of this world worried about things other than how many spaces are at the end of a sentence what a difference we could make. Hey, starving kid in Africa, one space or two?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Comments on websites

Almost every major website now has a comments section where you can make comments on the article or post that you just read. It's really getting on my nerves. Why? Because all it does is highlight how immature and stupid we are as a society. It's all drivel. That's what discussion boards are full, I don't need a discussion board for every ESPN article. And I'm not saying that everyone is stupid, there are a ton of smart people out there. Plenty of smart people are reading these articles (I am afterall ;)), but they aren't the ones commenting. I think in the hundreds of comments I've read over the years, maybe one or two have added to the conversation positively. Most of the time its just people pointing out to the whole Internet how stupid they are, trying to cause an argument or putting down the author. Mostly, it's just idiocracy. If you read comments on CNN, you know exactly why the economy is bad. No one commenting on CNN has any idea about what they've just read. None of the people commenting on the article are intelligent enough to read, comprehend and come up with their own opinions about the article. And none of the commenters have the educational background to know what parts of the article are media fluff and scare tactics. So, I know that the big sites can't moderate every comment, there are just too many comments coming in to filter it. My suggestion is to just cut it out. We don't need it. Some of you are thinking, if the comments bother Phil so much, why doesn't he just stop reading them? Well, he can't. It's like a train wreck. It's like I read an article and I just have to browse over a couple to see what people are saying about it. And it always surprises me how incomprehensible they become with each passing day. So anyway, that's what I hate about the Internet lately, comments on web articles. Vent complete.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Can fantasy hockey save the NHL?

Those of you who know me may be shocked to learn that I have a fantasy hockey team. Because I'm not really a hockey fan, at all. I know next to nothing about hockey actually. However, 3 years ago I played and won a Yahoo! public league. So, I'm playing in a Yahoo! public league again, I just like to feel like a winner every once in a while and I enjoy beating up on Canadians and yankees. So, fantasy football has not only helped out the NFL, it's changed NFL broadcasting to be more fantasy focused. It gave people a reason to start caring about baseball again after the steroids scandal. It's given basketball new life after no one could relate to any of the players in the 90s and given people a reason to follow the NBA again.
So, can fantasy hockey 1) bring fans back to hockey after the horrible season long strike and subsequent difficulty in getting TV deals to broadcast games by adding fantasy broadcastability, 2) add new fans that are following teams and players because of their fantasy team and therefore may buy the occasional ticket to a game or watch a game on TV, and 3) create an Internet following in order to generate revenue from online ad sales.
The answer, I think, is no. There are two main reasons and one minor reason. The first main one is that no one's name is pronounceable. I have a team and I can pronounce maybe 3 players out of 18 on the team. Because of that, it's difficult to feel attached to any of your players. In fact, I know Roberto Lungo is on my team and Chris Mason is on my team. I have the number one player in the league and I don't even know his name. Evan? Anyway. Thats an issue and it's probably not fixable unless you give everyone nicknames or make all star players change their name (which would be for their own good anyway, might help them earn a few extra promotional dollars). Another major issue that also may be unsolvable is the lack of stats. Out of the 20-25 players who get significant playing time each game, only half of those or less are going to put up a decent amount of goals, assists, or shots on goal. So, the other categories are Power Play Points and Penalty Minutes. Not much, so they have this contrived +/- category. If you are on the ice when your team scores, you get +1, if you are on the ice with the oppostion scores its -1 point for you. Ok, that's fine, that way defenders can earn stats of some kind other than penalty minutes, I get that. But we are stat hungry fans lately and unless they can contrive a couple more things, I don't see it taking off.
The other minor thing is something that the GMs recently met about and that's fighting. I know it sells tickets and that its an integral part of the game. But I also think that it takes away from the integrity of the sport as well. What if after a hard pass interference play in the NFL, the players could just fight it out and the penalty is that both players have to stand on the sidelines for 5 minutes and the teams play down a man during that time? You wouldn't take football as seriously, would you? I just think that it takes away from the sport aspect of it and adds a street and barbaric aspect and keeps it from gaining mass spectator appeal. We simply can't relate as fans to being able to fight as part of your job or sport. In the long run, I don't think you can rely on only a portion of your sport to be popular and maintain growth and fandom, i.e wrecks in racing, fighting in hockey, etc. You need for people to be intrigued by the sport itself. So, maybe you need to tweak some rules to make the sport as a whole entertaining and leave the fighting to boxers.
So, there, I provided no answers, but concluded that fantasy hockey alone can't save the NHL and the obstacles that stand in the way of hockey becoming a major sport may be unsolvable.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bowl Preview

Time once again for me to try my hand at predicting the Super Bowl. Since my playoff picks were not too accurate this year, I need to try and redeem myself here.

Underdog factor
This year, both teams have a little bit of it actually as not many people expected either of these teams to be in it. However, you'd have to say that the Cardinals play that role best. They've never been in the Super Bowl and they've been the underdog according to Vegas every week throughout the playoffs. They haven't gotten any respect from any one in the media until the NFC Championship game. I think they have a slight "something to prove" edge here and it should carry them throughout the 1st half.

2 Week Layoff
The advantage here is almost always to defense. Which is a big reason why defenses play such a crucial role in championship games. Offenses often get out of sync and nothing like a week off and a few thousand interviews to get QBs and their WRs out of rhythm. Plus, as much as I often think playoff experience is overrated, the Steelers have been to the Super Bowl and know how to prepare despite the media distractions. Advantage Steelers.


Quarterback Play
How well your quarterback plays makes a big difference in the web and flow of a game like this, that is dramatically slower than a normal football game and is a game that can really play with your head. Both quarterbacks are good leaders and both have been to the Super Bowl before and won it. I think the Steelers though have an advantage here though because I feel like they can pressure Warner more than the Cards can pressure Roethlisberger and make Warner make mistakes. Advantage Steelers.

Those are my 3 keys to the game, and the team that does the best at each of them will be the winner. I think the 1st half will be low scoring with the Cardinals taking a slight advantage into the locker room, probably 14-10 or maybe 10-7. I feel like the Steelers make their move in the 3rd quarter and don't look back although I expect the Cardinals to keep up for a little while.
Final Score: 34-24. And take the over 46.5.
Troy Polamalu is your MVP.

Friday, January 2, 2009

NFL Playoff Picks

Since 2001 when I missed just 1 game, I've been trying to pick the winners of every NFL playoff game prior to the playoffs starting. Just picking the winners straight up, not against the spread. My career record is really good, but still, I'd like to go undefeated one year. Without further ado, here goes:

Wild card games:
Colts over Chargers. Tough one to pick as I like to pick hot teams coming into the playoffs and both of these teams qualify. But LT and Gates are both banged up slightly and Indianapolis is the better team despite having to travel across the country.

Ravens over Dolphins. The toughest opening round game to pick for me. Joe Flacco on the road or Chad Pennington at home. I do think it will be a low scoring game with lots of defense. The Dolphins showed me something last week by taking it to the Jets in a must win game, but I think the Raven defense will be too much for them and the Ravens do just enough to win.

Falcons over Cardinals. The Falcons are hot right now and the Cardinals are cold. They can't even sell the game out to lift the blackout. If this game were on the East Coast, it would be a blowout (in favor of whoever were playing the Cardinals) but at home I think they keep it close. I hate picking rookie QBs in the playoffs, but here, I just don't see the Cardinals finding a way to win.

Eagles over Vikings . This game will be decided by turnovers. Both teams were impressive in the final week of the season, but you have to look at more than just that. With Westbrook healthy and the defense causing more takeaways the last couple weeks, I like the Eagles to win. But if the Vikes hang onto the ball and the Eagles make some mistakes, then it wouldn't surprise me to see Minnesota pull this one out.

Division Round:
Titans over Ravens - This should be a great game to watch. Overall, I think the Titans just have too much talent overall and I don't think Joe Flacco has two playoff upsets in him, not yet. He needs some more experience because we start picking him to lead a team deep into the playoffs. The Titan defense will be ready for this game.

Colts over Steelers - Home Field advantage is a big help here and will help make an exciting game and the Steelers are playing great football right now. However, Indianapolis is the hotter team right now, will have the momentum coming off their Wild Card win and have the playoff experience to make a run.

Panthers over Falcons - Again, on the road, I'm not sure Carolina pulls out the win, but they play very well at home and experience will be the key here.

Giants over Eagles - I just don't the Eagles having enough to stop the Giants. They are a team that want to return the Super Bowl very badly and have played with that intensity all season. Even with the Plaxico distraction, they should get through this game handily.

Conference Championships
Titans over Colts - I think. Another tough game for me to decide. I like the Colts playoff experience, and they should be able to slow down the Titans running game, still, I'm just not sure they have enough defensively to win the game. Should be a shootout.

Panthers over Giants - In a major upset, the Panthers go up to New York and surprise the Giants by 1) catching them off guard and 2) simply wanting it more. Without the deep threat of Plaxico, the Carolina D can hunker down and slow down the New York offense. Should be one of the better playoff games though.


Super Bowl.
Titans over Panthers - How about this AFC over NFC. I'ver considered the Colts making it here, the Titans, and the Steelers. All three would ruin the Panthers day again and once again send them home from a Super Bowl without the Lombardi trophy. I just think the AFC is better this year and will win whichever team makes it here.