Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bare Truths

I found this place while blog hopping, reading comments in one blog, checking out the blog of the commenter and so on, and I'll just was an education. It's more or less the diary of a stripper. I can't say I've never been in a strip club. I will say it's been at least 20 years, and close to 30. Back then a dollar was something. Now apparently, not so much. Also, back in my day, they didn't take everything off and they tucked their money in their g-string. I wonder where this girl puts it. Anyway, the blog is a perspective I haven't seen before and interesting sociological (is that a word?) commentary. I'd call it R rated because some of it's pretty descriptive, but it's not exactly erotic, nor is it attempting to be, so don't go there looking for a cheap thrill. For now, I stuck the link on the side with other blogs. Dunno how long it'll stay.

Rain Rain go away, and what is a sport, anyway?

For the past several days we have been under the influence of Tropical Depression/Storm/whatever-it-is Brett. The thing was hitting Mexico, but we were and are getting a ton of rain, so that'll give you an idea of how much area these things affect. Personally, we're not close to being flooded but some areas in Jacksonville are, and have been since Monday, and it's not getting better yet. The forecast is to start drying out...maybe tonight. For those folks' sake, I hope so.

The rain has been the overriding factor in just about everything. It keeps everyone cooped up in the house, which, for an active 12 year old, is torture. Movies only go so far, and energy needs an outlet. He got to some batting cages for about an hour yesterday in between downpours, but that's not quite enough. Skateboard tricks in the garage are holding him over some. I guess we need to start doning some more indoor sport handball or raquetball. Bowling would be an option, but I don't think that'll tire him out much.

Bowling and golf fall into the same category for me in the great debate of what is or is not a 'sport'. This, despite as you might have guessed, I love to play golf. I still have to admit what I'm doing is no sport. My personal definition is, if you can drink a beer and smoke a cigarette while competing professionally, what you are doing can be called an activity, but not a sport. It's competition, it's demanding, and on a hot day, you'll probably sweat a bit doing it, but the same can be said of checkers.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I'm a genius, or a fool

Fantasy sports can make you feel like one or the other, more than once in the same week if you take them too seriously. I don't get as involved as some people. I can't do fantasy football or baseball, with drafts and trades and stats and all that. I just don't have the time. Some people say that those who do need to get a life. I contend they have one. It just is partially consumed with fantasy sports, which is, to them, a priority that it may not be for others. The same could be said for bloggers, by the way.

I do mess with fantasy golf, and fantasy football in that we (a few of us in the office) pick games, but we don't get down to the player level and trades and all that fantasy football can become. None of us have that kind of time. Last year was my banner year. I picked a bunch of correct football games and did OK picking winners in golf, finishing both first among the office folks who play. People wanted to know how I was doing it, because I was a freakin' genuis. I contended, and still do, that while it's fun, it's also dumb luck. I have a handicap on some years with football picks, because I refuse to pick the Jaguars to lose...ever. Last year, that didn't hurt me....too much. This year in golf though, I am the finger of death. I am the cellar dwelling fool who can't get it right to save his life. No matter who I pick it seems, that week they tank. I have been tempted to send out letters to PGA Tour pros saying, "If I don't get 2% of your winnings this week, I'm picking you in your next tournament, which will make it all but certain you'll miss the cut." All that stands in my way are a few addresses, and laws. What's a little extortion between friends, and since I can't seem to pick people who will play well, the least I can do is make a profit on my inability. Is 2% too much to ask for being a fool?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

God vs. the state

I send my son to a Catholic school. There are many reasons why, but one of them isn't because I think he gets a better secular education. We live in one of the best counties in Florida, public school-wise. People are moving here in droves because of it. That makes them overcrowded, but they're still good schools. I do think the secular education he gets is on par with what he'd get in a public school here. If it wasn't we'd consider switching, because I don't want to cheat the guy. The biggest reason he goes to school where he does is there is a sense of conscience there. There's a moral compass in the atmosphere. They pray every morning, and I do think prayer in school is a good thing. (From my past, right before finals, it was a necessary thing.) I think that, coupled with what he gets at home, gives him a good foundation to grow on. That doesn't guarantee he'll grow up an all around good guy, but I think it gives him a better than average chance. That, in and of itself in some circles, makes me a member of the hated religious right, although I don't see myself there. Yes, where he is, that prayer is a Catholic prayer, because it's a Catholic school. I would love to see some form of prayer in public schools, but it wouldn't have to be any specific prayer to any specific diety. I understand non-Christian kids would have an issue with a Christian prayer. A moment of silence to pray to your God would work for me, be he or she an omnipotent being or cosmic hairy muffin, I don't care. If you want to take that minute to twiddle your thumbs in agnosticism, contemplating your navel and wondering why the fools surrounding you are wallowing in the opiate of the masses, that's OK too. I am apparently wrong though.

It seems to me the writers of the constitution wanted to protect us all from a government that established a religion to which we all have to adhere, but we've taken that to a whole 'nuther plane. Instead of freedom of religion, we seem to be hell bent on freedom from religion, and they aren't the same thing. It isn't legal for a judge to display a crucifix in his chambers, but take that same crucifix in the hands of an artist, who drops it in a tub of urine and calls it art, and the NEA will fight to give him government money to display it, all because of context. In my mind, something is very wrong with that.

I guess what I don't get, is that freedom of expression seems to be afforded any manner of subjects, except God. It is the defense used to allow some of the most vile displays in our society, from the afore mentioned Jesus in a tub of urine display to KKK marches, yet, as soon as we mention the 'G' word, all freedoms cease. Somewhere someone sold us this bill of goods that says because someone displays anything that essentially says "Yay God!" in a public place, that they have somehow established a religion to which we all should bow. If I, a Catholic, managed to get myself in trouble, and found myself in front of a Muslim judge with some form of Muslim prayer on his wall, I wouldn't think twice about it. It doesn't make his religion my concern. If a judge had a picture of himself with Joe Gibbs in matching Redskins shirts on his wall, and I, a Jaguar fan, comes before him, should it matter? Does the amount of devotion he shows to his team make it matter? What if he worships the Redskins, and has accepted Sean Taylor as his personal savior? We have become so afraid of offending someone that we have taken great pains to remove any mention of a God from public view, while displaying a picture of Adolph Hitler would be a plum for the ACLU to take up and defend.

So we come to the reason for this blog entry, the Supreme Court flip flopped on the matter of displaying the Ten Commandments in public. I don't see why this is an issue, and have a real hard time with anyone having a real hard time with the display. Is there anything in the Ten Commandments that is offensive to somebody? What is it we're all so afraid of? Is it just that they have a religious connotation? Would they have the same issue if the display were some words of wisdom from Confusious, or Yogi Berra? Or again, is God exempt from freedom of expression simply because He's somebody's God? Personally, I think Yogi's pretty high up there.

Yes, I do have a Yogi quote over my desk. "They said it couldn't be done, but that doesn't always work." There are times that prayer gets me through the day.

Monday, June 27, 2005

the drama queen questionairre

Just stuff about me because I was tagged

3 screen names:
2)right in the lumberyard
3)b j swan

3 things I like about myself:
1)my eyes
2)my patience
3)my sincerity

3 things I don't like about myself:
1)my procrastination
2)my patience
3)my hair, or lack thereof, depending on where

3 parts of my heritage

3 things that scare me
3)more snakes

3 everyday essentials

3 things I'm wearing
1)a tie
2)a dress shirt
3)socks (I'm at work)

3 of my favorite songs
these fluctuate...
1)Stacy's Mom (Fountains of Wayne)
2)Semi-Charmed Kind of Life (Third Eye Blind)
3)Slide (Goo Goo Dolls)

it must be a 'songs starting with S' day

3 things I want in a relationship

2 truths and a lie
1) I've had sex in an apartment stairwell in Isreal
2)one of my past occupations was helicopter pilot
3)I've met 3 of the last 4 presidents

3 things I can't do without

3 places I want to go on vacation
2)earth orbit

3 things I just can't do
2)touch my forehead with my tongue
3)drink bloody marys

3 kids names

3 things to do before I die
1)go to the Super Bowl when the Jacksonville Jaguars play in it
2)beat my dad in golf
3)ride in the MS150 bike race
4) a late addition, now that, because of something I saw on another blog, I have seen the latest Jessica Simpson video - get a lap dance from Jessica Simpson in those Daisy Dukes, or maybe with nothing but a t-shirt on...the platymapus one

3 celeb crushes
1)Dimi Moore
2)Meg Ryan
3)Sharon Stone

UF, FSU, UM and the CWS

I have mentioned before that I grew up essentially without roots. My dad was in the Air Force, so I started life in Pennsylvania, followed by a few years in Washington D.C, followed by a few years in Germany, followed by a few years in the upper peninsula of Michigan, then back to Pennsylvania, then out to California. After all that, my dad retired from the Air Force and we went back to Pennsylvania (where he and my mom grew up).

From there I went to college outside Philadelphia on a ROTC scholarship which put me squarely in the Navy for a lotta years and sent me to all parts of the globe (or at least the parts between the U.S. east coast and the Indian Ocean), somehow depositing me in northeast Florida when it was all said and done.

With that backround, I was not exposed to the fanaticism that is college sports (particularly football) in the southeast until I lived here. Back in Pennsylvania, I was a fan of one college team....The Villanova Wildcats. I was only a fan of that team because I went to school there. That meant during football season, I wasn't particularly thrilled, because we sucked. We sucked so bad shortly after I left, the football program was discontinued, only to be ressurected a few years later in a fairly competitive Division II format. The basketball team was another story. Every year we felt like we could make some noise in the college basketball world, and long after my departure, in 1985 (well, not that long), we won the National Championship, but I digress.

Once I hit the southeastern United States, I found a fervor for college athletics I had never encountered before. Everyone has a favorite college team regardless of their educational level or where they got however much they did. From early on you designate yourself, in a process I have yet to determine, a Gator (University of Florida), Nole (Florida State University) or Cane (University of Miami), and start wearing apparel which color coordinates you with that team. Most are Gators or Noles, at least in this part of the state, but no matter which you are (and it appears to be a loosely enforced law that you have to be one of them), you hate the other two. If you are a Gator, you inherit other hatreds that are conference driven, specifically the Dawgs (University of Georgia) and Vols (University of Tennessee). The devotion is far beyond reason. I almost got my ass kicked when, a few years ago in ther company of several Gator fans, I suggested Dan Snyder made an error when he hired Steve Spurrier to coach the Washington Redskins. Steve Spurrier was, after all, the god of football. Now that he failed in that position and is coaching the University of South Carolina, he commands far less loyalty. The process has already hooked my son, who has knighted himself a Gator. I must've been napping when they held the ceremony.

I cause problems for my Gator/Nole/Cane friends, because I am an anomoly that defies the law. I don't pick sides. It can be fun on the morning after the annual Gator/Nole football game, because there's always somebody to needle, and usually I hear the same thing. "John, you have to pick one!", but no, I don't. To be honest, I pull for all of them. I've lived here long enough that when one of the Florida teams plays someone else, I'll watch and root for the local boys. When they play each other, I just hope for a good game.

So it was with that backround that I actually watched the College World Series this past week/weekend, as the Florida Gators were in it and doing well. (Actually we all did, including my wife, who grew up in Georgia, a self- designated Dawg who usually hates the Gators.) That is something I've never really done before, and I enjoyed it much more than the MLB version of the game. The atmosphere was one of teams, with players pulling for each other, depending on each other, rooting for each other in ways you never see in the major leagues. No matter who won, it made it much more compelling and fun to watch. The Gators made it to the final series and got swept by Texas, which wasn't all that great, but still, they got there. When it's all said and done, my Gator friends are pissed at their team because they got swept by Texas. Me? I'm happy for the team that got as far as the final series. They played some awesome games against Arizona State to get there, and they have nothing to hang their head about. It was fun while it lasted.

Friday, June 24, 2005

a Free Katie update

As much as I sympathize with the Free Katie movement and think the whole Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes/scientology thing is a little strange, I find it equally disturbing that they are hawking the Free Katie "classic thong". T-shirts, I can understand. Magnets and problem. Coffee mugs...bring 'em on. Butt, when you're selling thongs that have "Free Katie" or "Run Katie Run" across what little fabric there is in the front of them, isn't that slightly over the top? I guess you can pin a name on anything you please, and if you were going to go there, maybe Kitty before Katie, but....oh well. Nobody asked me and I suppose, for good reason. I should just be grateful "Run Katie Run" isn't stitched up the string that doubles as butt floss. There is no word for the mental image that conjures except "gross".

the chicken or the egg

The Jack Del Rio vs. the media saga continues. I find it insightful that the media (in this case, yet another newspaper columnist) says the fans are making a big deal out of this, but the media guys are the ones still writing columns about it and making it a topic of discussion on the local sports talk radio programs.

The same tired argument is still being made by all of them as well...that they shouldn't have to kiss anybody's ass and say nothing but good stuff about the team. My point condensed quite a bit still is, I don't want you to kiss anybody's ass or say nothing but good stuff about the team. I wouldn't mind knowing that the guy covering my team feels the same emotional ups and downs I do, though. Is it too much to ask that, when he talks about Jaguar fans, that is sound like an "us guys" thing instead of a "you guys" thing? Would that be so bad? I would like to see him just as pissed off as I am when the team brings in a free agent like Dewayne Washington, and he proves himself to be toast at cornerback, instead of "objectively reporting" it with a smirk. I want a media person who has a chip on his shoulder when he's taking the team to task for signing Huge Douglas to a multi-million dollar contract and then turning the guy loose on every all-you-can-eat buffet line in town until he busts, on and off the field. To do that, he doesn't have to pull himself out from between Del Rio's ass cheeks just to yell "Go Jaguars!" He doesn't have to treat the team with kid gloves. He just has to be a fan of the team. It'll come.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

behind the spyware

Everyone pretty much accepts viruses and spyware as a hazard of using the internet. You buy your internet security software and go for it, hoping for the best. Maybe because of my profession, this hits home a little.

I understand the jerks writing viruses. I don't condone them, but I can see where that comes from. High school or college age kids realizing the power they have when they write that kind of program and not really considering the consequences want to poke the internet in the side and see if they can make it stir. It's not very different from adolescents throwing rocks at cars on the interstate from overpasses, trying to make a car react without realizing they could kill someone. I don't think they give enough thought to what they do when they infect a massive amount of people's and companies' computers. They just think it's cool that they can. It doesn't make them right. It makes them smart and at the same time ignorant.

Spyware is another matter. Spyware isn't a bunch of rogue kids being stupid. It's companies actually paying people to write programs that people will unknowingly download from the internet to gather information. They are written to be sneaky and deceitful. Spyware is cold and calculating, with no regard for the people it sees as potential customers. It's telemarketing taken to an insideous level, as if telemarketing wasn't already there. In fact, spammers (just because mentioning telemarketers reminded me of them) belong in this group too, though they aren't as malicious. Someone in a position of authority at a company actively made the decision to pay programmers to do this to people on the internet. Programmers actually accepted the job and wrote the stuff, knowing what a pain in the ass they were making of themselves. Nobody here is ignorant about what they are doing. Do these people have any ethics? If the people who write viruses are assholes flexing their newfound programming muscle, spyware writers are sociopaths, with no social conscience whatsoever.


I sent the link to my post about the Jaguars and the media to the columnist that spawned it. He isn't the only media member who did, of course. He had help, but he gets credit for putting the topic over the top and getting me write something about it. One morning sports talk guy is still trying to make the issue bigger than his waistline, which will take a bit of doing, but June's a slow month and sometimes you milk what little you have. He was supposed to have the coach on his show this morning, but the coach didn't show up (or call in) on time and I had to get to work, so...if he got there, I missed that part.

To my surprise though, I actually got a response. I guess I expected to be either dismissed or just ignored, but I was pleased that he actually took the time to read it. The part that sort of made me smile and cringe at the same time was that he called it 'insightful'. At leaste he didn't say 'inciteful', but that would include a presumption that I was a little bit controversial, and I'm not, and that I have a bunch of readers to incite, and I can probably count those on my fingers, without resorting to toes. 'Insightful' though. There's a loaded word that can be taken all kinds of ways. Being the bloated ego "all about me" kinda guy I am, I'll stick with the good ones.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

some moving targets stop...just long enough

WARNING: If you have a problem with being mooned, do NOT follow the link.

This is just fun, for all you driving range players who, like me, try to hit the guy in the tractor gathering up all your errant shots. Someone's thinking of us.

No, I haven't bought the driver being advertised in the link, but it was a very creative way to at least get me to look at it.

just because it's legal doesn't make it good

Oh the places I could go with that title, starting with scrapple, but we're staying with sports today. Specifically the NBA and Champions Tour Golf. Right now you're thinking, "What could they possibly have in common?" So, the tease is out there and you have a reason to be here besides babe-a-day.

The NBA is having an age issue. They are also having a maturity issue. While they are separate issues, they are the same problem. The NBA wants to make a rule saying they can control an age limit a player must meet to play in their league. They want this for a few reasons. Right now the upcoming draft has several players who are just out of high school available. Many of them will be picked up by teams, just because those teams are afraid to miss out on the next big thing. They are drafting on potential. It could work out nicely (Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James) or fall flat on its face (Kwame Brown). I wish I could come up with more failure names, and while there are many, I normally don't remember the guys who fade from the collective memory because they suck (and who knows, Kwame might turn into a good player someday). The bigger issue is the maturity players who attend college get when they go that route. Besides playing ball, occasionally some of the academia actually rubs off. Some even get degrees. When they get a microphone stuck in their face at the end of a game, they sound somewhat articulate. They do a better job of representing the league, which is an area the NBA could use a lot of help with. Bringing in more barely educated players is a 12 step program in the wrong direction. You want guys who come out with better quotes than, "Integrity? I dunno know what that word mean. Anybody got a dictionary? You gonna have to help me out wid dat." (Though that's a bad example. Ron Artest went to St. John's University but it doesn't seem to have had much effect on his education or maturity level.) Even with Kobe Bryant I think you could have a pretty good debate. Sure, he's a very good basketball player, but is he good for the Lakers? Is he good for the NBA? Do you want your son running up to you and saying, "I wanna be like Kobe!"? Everybody wants to say the age limit isn't legal. You can't stop people from getting a job, and they're right. At the same time, if the NBA doesn't change something, there won't be much of a league left to get a job with.

So what does this have to do with the Champions Tour? (a side note: It used to be called the Senior Tour. Calling it the 'Champions Tour' is a marketing ploy which only makes me wonder what you call the guy who wins the end-of-year tournament...the Champions Tour Championship Champion?) This tour started as an old-timers game. A few ex-PGA tour guys started playing "competitive" rounds and people who loved seeing them play, paid to watch. It was a nostalgia trip. Over the years it has evolved into a competitive thing for players over 50, but the underlying premise is the same. People pay to watch because they're watching guys they recognize from their PGA Tour days. Very few players become stars on the Champions Tour. OK, nobody becomes a star on the Champions Tour. They already did that, and that's why people will come to see them play. If you're just going to watch great golf, you don't go to a Champions Tour event and watch the old guys hit it. You go to a PGA Tour event and watch the cream of the crop. Because it has become successful and more competitive, there's good money to be made, and ways guys who were not PGA Tour stars to get a piece of the pie. Therefore you have a lot of guys who aren't famous, but who are over 50 and play well getting into these events. They have their own Qualifying Tournament and no matter who you are, if you do well enough there, you get to play on the Tour, but most of them are teaching pros looking for their big break on the Champions Tour. I volunteered to be a score keeper at that tournament at the World Golf Village last year, and had to bite my tongue. I was keeping score for three no-name guys, none of whom were doing well enough to get their card. ...and listening to the whining. "You know, they keep a spot open at every tournament in case Jack Nicklaus wants to play. Heck, I can beat Jack. That's a spot that should be open to anybody." You may be able to beat Jack, but nobody's paying to watch you do it if Jack doesn't show up. If it's ever legal for all you no-name guys to play on the Champions Tour, and enough of you do it to where the stars don't show up, nobody will pay to watch you, and there won't be much of a tour to play on.

It all comes down to biting the hand that feeds you...or making sure you don't.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

some Jaguars history, Jack Del Rio and the media

A long time ago, the city of Jacksonville wanted an NFL team...bad. They bent over forward for the Colts and the Oilers (remember them?), who both made overtures to the city in maneuvers that ultimitely got them better stadium deals in their established towns, but left Jacksonville never the bride, but the bridesmaid who got laid at her friend's wedding...all her friends' weddings...and got put on the unofficial list of bridesmaids to have at your wedding, just because they'll put out.

I watched all that, and in 1995, Jacksonville was already the town I lived in longer than any other. Jacksonville was also a dark horse in a competition for 2 new expansion teams. The clear front runners were Baltimore, St. Louis and Carolina. Well, the day came to choose the teams and St. Louis and Baltimore were having problems with the financial packages they were presenting to the NFL, so the league picked...Carolina, and a team to be named later. The clear implication was...give St. Louis or Baltimore a chance to get their shit in a sock, so we can give the other team to them. That didn't happen and the whole time, Jacksonville, the red headed stepchild was screaming, "HEEEYYYY! What about us?" So as things unfolded, or didn't as the case may be in St. Louis and Baltimore, about a month later, the second expansion franchise was given to Jacksonville. City officials in Baltimore and St. Louis couldn't believe it. They were sure they'd be given even more time to get organized before the league would actually give a team to...Jacksonville. The reaction in the Carolina press went like this. "Getting an NFL franchise and seeing the second one go to Jacksonville is like winning a beauty contest and seeing Rosanne Barr be the runner up." (And people wonder why we have an inferiority complex, but that's another story.) The reaction by me and most of Jacksonville....elation. We were the little engine that could. We were getting an NFL team! Contests were held to name the team and design logos. I echoed the sentiments of one of my co-workers who said, "I don't care if they slap pink flamingoes on their helmets! We have a team!"

So it happened that Jacksonville got the Jaguars. Now the second If you go to most NFL towns, most of the people there grew up with their teams. They have been established for a long time...both the fans and the team. Jacksonville isn't like that. For one thing, most of the population didn't grow up here (me included). We came from other places, and most of the hard core football fans came with their own favorites which they weren't about to give up, just because they now lived in Jacksonville. I can understand that. My loyalties weren't all that strong, I think because I grew up an Air Force brat and didn't stay in one place all that long, then joined the Navy and moved more, until I got here. I had attended a total of one NFL game, between the Jets and Buccaneers at Shea Stadium while in college, only because someone knocked on my door on a Sunday morning with tickets and said, "Wanna go?" I was therefore a Jaguar fan, complete with season tickets and swelling with civic pride for my adopted town. There was an enormous amount of excitement the first few years and the team sold out all the games, but that honeymoon is over and now the team is making more of an effort to sell the team to the community. I think that will pan out as we get people who grow up with this team.

Where all this is going....

Jack Del Rio (our coach) called out the local media, saying none of them are 'Jaguars guys'. The local media, of course, got all defensive, saying no they aren't 'Jaguar guys'. They're objective guys, and waive pom poms for nobody. Truth be told, I think most of them do waive pom poms for somebody, just not the Jaguars. I can see both sides of the issue. If you go to Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, or Atlanta, for that matter, and listen to the sports talk guys on the radio, they may criticize the team in their town, but you can tell they have a passion for that team. They grew up with them and they live and die with them. That's why they have the job they do. That doesn't mean everything they say is pro 'their team'. They, more than anyone, know the glaring holes (at least the way they see them) and reasons for criticism. They love sports and they grew up with the team in their town, and that comes through when they talk. They aren't quite objective, but in my opinion, nobody really is. Here, the guys who cover the team didn't grow up with them. They too love sports, and grew up with other teams, and those are the teams they love. That doesn't change just because you find yourself in Jacksonville covering the Jaguars. These non-'Jaguars guys' are somewhat objective about the Jaguars, but you feel no passion for the team at all coming from them. Here, the guy I listen to on the radio is a Yankees/Knicks/Jets fan. If he truly was objective, I wouldn't know that. I don't mind that he's a Jets fan. That's part of how he grew up and the loyalty he built, and I don't expect him to change his stripes. At the same time, playing the 'objectivity' card is just as relevant here as in any other sports town...say like Pittsburgh. It isn't. I guess, I don't want someone blowing sunshine up my ass, telling me the team is going to the Super Bowl every year and being a homer, but I am waiting for the first guys to show up in the media who did grow up with this team, who have fond memories of dad bringing them to Alltel Stadium, who witnessed Morten Andersen missing the chip shot field goal that sent the Jagaurs to their first playoff game sitting on dad's shoulders in a sea of teal, and who have an emotional stake in whether they are good or not. The team's been here 10 years. I figure I have another 6 or 7 to wait.

Monday, June 20, 2005

that's racin'

I've never been a big race fan. I have a hard time calling what I do on a daily basis to get from point A to point B (granted, they move much faster and are less air conditioned) a sport. I will however contend that the car pool line at school is no less competitive. The fine art of turning left has never captured my heart. I wanted to start with that because not being a race fan makes it way too easy for me to rip the activity, and gives you a better perspective of where I'm coming from.

This week's parade of rolling billboards, otherwise known as a NASCAR event, was called the Batman Begins 400. While it leaves a little to be desired, you can say they've come a long way from the Pork the Other White Meat 400.

Then there was the fiasco that was the Formula 1 race in Indianapolis. Apparently there was an issue with the Michelin tires used by over half the field. Michelin couldn't guarantee their safety on the course as it was designed and no agreement could be made on a design change, so the entire field consisted of 6 cars. Formula 1 isn't big in the U.S., but they are trying to build an audience. People came though. The small hardcore group of U.S. Formula 1 fans came from all around the country, used vacation time and watched....over half the field get out of their cars and refuse to race over safety concerns. Six, count 'em, six cars raced. Anyone want to guess how much that did to grow the 'sport'?

Give me John Daly drinking a beer and having a cigarette between the front 9 and back 9 any day. There's an athlete caught up in the intensity of his sport.

Friday, June 17, 2005

is it the apocalypse?

California's getting warning signs that it could become the new Atlantis and Tom and Katie are engaged. The people trying to free Katie have to be wondering where to look for the coming of the antiChrist as the center of the movement prepares for the big plunge into the Pacific.

Tho I wonder if Cruise and Holmes are really that happy or if they're both pretty good actors, I certainly hope it's the former. Hollywood tends to make a sham of most of what the rest of us hold dear, like marriage, and government. I hope this isn't just another example. That said, I heard one of the talking heads on some morning show as I got ready for work say, "Congratulations to the happy couple." It wasn't meant to, and yes, it could have been just me, but it sounded like such an insincere, this is what you're supposed to say, so I'll say it.

In the meantime, that property you were looking at in Nevada? Might be time to go for it. Katie, come to papa (and as much as I hate to admit it, age-wise, a very real possibility). In Florida, at least the ground under your house won't fall into the ocean, but I can't promise the ocean won't visit your living room in the summer.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


As a side note, don't you just love what I call lawyerspeak? It's in all the car dealer and 'ask your doctor' commercials. It's the part after the really good deal in the car ad sounds way too good to be true, the guy with the low droning voice that goes way too fast to be understood tells you why the deal is too good to be true if you pass the challenge of keeping up with him. In other words, it's the part the legal department made the company put in the commercial to keep them from being sued, but they want squeezed into as few of their 30 seconds of time as possible. They do it in the 'ask your doctor' ads when they run through the side effects of whatever medication they are pushing. I'm waiting for the one that goes, "In rare cases, a penis will unexplicably spring forth from your scalp, bringing to fruition that name you were called in middle school." That won't happen though. Lawyerspeak doesn't use words like 'fruition'.

ask your doctor about skin cancer

I got through my thirties fairly doctor free. I would see commercials on T.V. that used the phrase "ask your doctor". Around when I hit 40, I looked at my wife and said, "Ya know...I don't have one of those." She asked, "One of what?" and I answered, "a your doctor." All these commercials say to ask your doctor about this or that, and I don't have anyone I consider my doctor. Part of that was being in the military for my 20's and part of my 30's, and there, you just go in and whoever sees you, sees you. You move every three or four years, so there is no consistency with any doctor. Your file follows you and that's that. So anyway, somewhere around 40, I figured it was time to see someone I would start calling my doctor, because I guess the idea that my life was already half over was disconcerting and I wanted to start doing whatever I needed to do to extend that date. Immediately I went from a pill free life to one that involved drugs for cholesterol and blood pressure, but that's another story.

Recently I went to my doctor and told him about this spot on my nose. It comes and goes, but never seems to completely go, and it comes back in the same spot, which (along with living in Florida for over 20 years) is making me cancer. Scary thought, but if that's what it is, I want to know and do whatever I need to do before I become a statistic. He sent me to a dermatologist, who examined the spot, and took the weight off my shoulders when he said it isn't cancerous, but it is pre-cancerous. If left untreated, it could become cancerous, so we want to nip it now. He gave me two options. One was to freeze the spot, after which it would get red ands nasty, but it would heal and probably leave a permanent white spot. The other option was for me to apply a creme to it for a month. During that month it would also become red and nasty (I believe the word 'unsightly' was used), but then it would heal and usually leaves no permanent mark. I figured, right now the white spot doesn't bother me one way or the other, and the freezing way is quick and easy (which you can read to mean 'no effort on my part'). At the same time, there may come a time when I wish I had done the option that left no permanent marks, and the creme option is only for a month - a drop in the bucket of a lifetime. I took the creme and ran.

I then told everyone around me (family, friends, coworkers) that this was going to happen, because I didn't want anyone to get concerned. Nor did I want a bunch of speculation and stupid questions. Yes, for the next month I'm going to have this nasty blotch on my nose, and this is why.

So now I'm two weeks into the creme thing, and true to form, the blotch has appeared. So has the realization that everything I did to prepare people went in one ear and out the other. My wife asked a few days ago, "Are you still using that creme? It looks like the sun is really getting to your nose." Last night my son asked, "What's that red spot on your nose?" I patiently re-explained. So now I'm thinking, it might be time for a refresher course for the co-workers, who are far less direct and far more speculative. Nobody at work will come out and ask. They'll just come up with every manner of strangeness known to man and run it up a flagpole to see who salutes.

In the meantime I'm thinking....only two more weeks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Hey USGA! Ya can't fool me!

It's the week of the U.S. Open, and once again, the USGA has taken a course and done things to it to make it a very tough test of golf. They grow the rough and make the greens superfast in an effort to make it that. For that I don't fault them. It's supposed to be real tough. In the last few years though, they've gone too far. It's one thing to make a player make a very good shot to be rewarded. It's quite another to have him make that very good shot and be penalized by course conditions that are a nightmare. Putting greens should be difficult. They should not be a sheet of glass. Last year's tournament at Shinnecock Hills was just plain ridiculous. A few windmills with a big ol' dinosaur in the middle of the course and multicolored balls would be more appropriate. Just pop it over the hill, around the banked turn and into the clown's mouth. Yes, that's the the USGA hat. Although the organization would never say it directly, they crossed a line and knew it, because now they're defending how they "set up" a golf course:

the official party line

Now if you read that you'll find this quote, which hits at the heart of my biggest issue with the USGA and it's tournament, the U.S. Open.

"There is no USGA target score for a U.S. Open. While the final score at some U.S. Open sites will be at or near par, the USGA does not try to formulate a course set up that will only produce a winning score of at or near even par. "

I'm reminded of someone on my T.V. screen saying "I have never had sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinski." (OK, this doesn't have quite the impact, but it does contain the same insult to the collective intelligence.)

The statement is a flat out lie. How else can you explain that they take the shortest 2 par 5 holes on the course each year and waive their magic USGA wand and presto, the holes are now Par 4s? This year at Pinehurst #2, those holes are #8 and #16. The course, for 51 weeks of the year, is a Par 72 course. The course, for that one week, is a Par 70 course, which means if you shoot 71 any other week of the year, you were 1 under par and kicking righteous butt. This week, during the U.S. Open, you're 1 over and sucking hind breast. (For the moment, let's just leave alone the fact that if I were 1 over at the end of a round of golf on any real golf course,I'd be doing the happy dance and not caring who witnessed the occasion, and probably very tough to live with for a good long while. I'm on my soapbox now, and shouldn't be disturbed with such trivialities.) Same 18 holes, same design but oh yeah, the rough's a little longer and the green's faster and par is two strokes less. It's about as straightforward a score manipulation as you could ask for. By doing this, you've just added 8 strokes (in relation to par) to every player who plays all 4 rounds. His total score for all 4 rounds could be 280. This week, that score is even par. Any other week, it's 8 under. But the USGA isn't doing anything to produce a winning score at or near par. Of course they're not. Just ask them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

the Myers Briggs myth

Once again a training session on Myers Briggs is being offered at work. Once again I feel like screaming, "The Emperor has no clothes!"

All you ever wanted to know about it

Myers Briggs is a method of putting people into personality pigeonholes. You get asked a bunch of questions and the system comes back with a description of your personality based on your answers. For the most part, it's right. That's not the myth. The myth is that businesses can use this information to run better, so they should have their employees wasteeerrrr...spend time with it. You read your description and go, "Yeah, that's dead on! How cool is that?" So from that reaction, I can deduce that you already knew this shit. The little exercise just validated what you already knew, and gave it a label. Wooo hoooooo. That and seven dollars will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. People who hate detail and aren't good with numbers don't become accountants. Introverts with no sense of humor don't become stand-up comics. We don't need a tool to figure that out. Myers Briggs is a very cool parlor game, but what value does it have in the real world (beyond making Myers, Briggs and those perpetuating their myth rich)?

The value of all this is supposed to be knowing how other people you work with are pigeonholed, so you can better communicate with them. In the consulting company I worked for before I got my present job, we bought into this big time. They even paid for me to spend a week in Colorado at a seminar that prominently featured Myers Briggs, where I got into an argument with the people running the show as to the practical usefulness of the process, and therefore the practical usefulness of their existence. Needless to say, they got a bit defensive. In any case, in that company, we all did the questionnaire thing and there was a chart with a 4 X 4 grid, with all our names in the boxes that represented us. Yeah, like I was going to memorize, not only where everyone was on the grid, but what all the boxes meant, so we could more effectively communicate. I had enough on my plate with just my job. The real effect was, we all sat around looking at the grid one morning, noticing where everyone was on it and looking up the descriptions so we could see what the pigeonholes were. Once that morning was wasted, it was pretty much forgotten. We still had the chart, and somebody's admin assistant still updated the thing when someone new was hired and pigeonholed, but nobody paid it any attention, which in my opinion, was exactly what should have happened with it in the first place.

We had a new employee orientation week, and everyone who did presentations had to wear a nametag with their Myers Briggs pigeonhole plastered on it. I did a few of the presentations, so I proudly wrote ESPN on my nametag, a pigeonhole that doesn't exist in Myers Briggs (though it's close), but does represent a sports network. Nobody even batted an eye. For the record, I was pigeonholed an ENTJ. Also for the record, ESPN probably does just as good a job of describing me, and is recognized by more people.

Bottom line (and as always, just my opinion and worth every penny you shelled out for it): When it comes to learning more about those around you for the purposes of better communication, all you really have to do is watch people. You'll figure out how to approach them on any range of topics, maybe not as effectively as possible, but just as effectively as you would after having been pigeonholed. This Myers Briggs thing is about as useful as a horoscope, and for that you don't have to pay money to answer questions. You just have to be born.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Michael Moonwalks

I can't say I've followed this case all that closely, and therefore have less of an informed opinion than any of the jurors. Having said that, I believe that's also the case for most people who have followed it closely. The people sitting in those chairs for the entire trial know a whole lot more than any of the rest of us and if they weren't convinced of Michael Jackson's guilt, then he should not be punished. That's how the system works and I have a good deal of faith in it. It's over, and I think he should be left alone now.

Having said that, I don't think I'd ever be giving my son permission to go to Neverland Ranch. They didn't find him guilty and I'm OK with that, but I wouldn't give him an opportunity with my son to prove them wrong.

the whining continues

Sometimes you just can't please people. Well, I suppose you could. You just give them money and ask nothing in return. Wait, we had that. It was called welfare, and the people taking advantage of it whined too.

We have a woman in our office who constantly complains about her wages. She doesn't posess the same skill set as the rest of the people here. Most are programmers, or were at some point, and now do other things related to programming (system analysis and design for the most part). Most also have college degrees backing up what they do. She does not. She does presentation (screen design mostly) and the skill set necessary is HTML/XML/XSL, and she's learning Cold Fusion. She's supposed to be learning SQL as well.

Her constant complaint up till now is that she doesn't get paid as much as the programmers. Well, her skill set doesn't justify it, but her manager (not me, tho I wouldn't mind the credit) is trying to do something about that. He is trying to broaden her skill set, making her more useful and therefore justifying a pay increase. He has been sending her to classes to learn Cold Fusion, and giving her time to research SQL and figure out how to use it. It is fairly intuitive and with time, she could pick it up. Now the complaint is....I'm not as programmer! I don't get paid to do this stuff! How do you expect me to just learn this?

Well, no you don't get paid to do it, but if you'd like to change that, the opportunity is sitting at your feet. Jump in and give it a shot instead of whining about people expecting more of you. If you pull this off, you will get paid accordingly. You have nothing to lose and's nothing to you but a reason to whine. That's why you won't get paid as much as the programmers.

Friday, June 10, 2005

feeling wanted, or not

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a very good player at safety named Donovan Darius. He plays hard, he's active in the community, he's a good family guy, he stays out of trouble, he's a poster guy for what you want in a NFL player in your town, except for one thing. For the past 2 years he has not had a long term contract and as of yet doesn't have one for the upcoming season. Without going too deep into the particulars of Restricted Free Agency and Franchise Players, the result has been he has been labeled the team's Franchise Player for the last 2 years, and therefore paid the average of the top 5 players at his position, and will, unless some deal gets done, be paid that again this year. While this process is making him a rich man, it's also making him angry. The fact that he has no long term contract with the team does two things. It sends a message to him that the organization doesn't think him valuable enough to lock up long term, and it leaves him in a far more tenuous situation security-wise. No long term contract means no signing bonus (and we're talking millions of dollars), and if he gets injured, nothing says the team has to keep him around after the present season. He'd have no leg to stand on, even if that isn't the part of him that gets injured.

His reaction to all this, as I have stated, has been anger and bitterness. He's said he doesn't want to play in Jacksonville anymore. He has no respect for the organization and feels no pride in wearing the Jaguars uniform. He has actively persued a trade with several teams, including the Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins, talking with each of their respective local media people and proclaiming his desire to play there. This has not exactly endeared him to the fans here who, up until all this, have loved the guy. It's not fun listening to one of the guys you like on your football team, spurn your town and your team.

The Seattle Seahawks have a running back named Shaun Alexander. He's a Pro Bowl caliber guy and very unhappy in his present situation. The Seahawks won't sign him to a long term contract and have labeled him their franchise player. As such, like Darius, he will be paid the average of the top 5 players in the league at his position in the upcopming season. Like Darius, this will not exactly leave him destitute. Like Darius, he's pissed. Like Darius, he has let it be known he doesn't want to play in Seattle anymore. Like Darius, that sentiment isn't making him popular in Seattle sports fan circles.

Yes, as usual, I'm meandering, but with a direction in mind, if not in practice.

The Jaguars have a problem at running back. Their starter, Fred Taylor, is coming off an injury from last season. While the Jaguars are publicly saying he'll be back 100% for the start of the season, everybody is wondering what is really happening behind closed doors. Fred hasn't been seen doing the things he's known for on the practice fields as of yet. The rumor now is the Jaguars are talking to the Seahawks about a trade for....Shaun Alexander. Granted, it's all rumor and might not have a shread of truth to it, but why would you want this guy? He's the same kind of disgruntled you have in another player, just with his anger pointed in another direction. Do we need that kind of attitude in our locker room? I don't think so, but then again, I don't get paid by the Jaguars to make those kinds of decisions. They're just using my money to pay those who are.

Free Katie

OK, I'm officially ashamed of myself. I will willingly jump on this bandwagon because I believe in its ideals...sort of. See the link:

Free Katie Holmes!

My problem is I have ulterior motives. I wholeheartedly agree that Katie Holmes should be freed of whatever influence has her in the clutches of Tom Cruise. First off, he's way too old for her. Second, there are those gay rumors and where there's smoke, (well, usually there's bad drugs, but that's not important right now) not that there's anything wrong with that. Next, as the website exclaims, she is "a young, gifted, actress held captive by forces we may never understand. Even one summer of captivity is too long for one so bright!" I couldn't agree more.

My problem is this. I think she should be freed, so she can persue someone even older and not quite as cute, or rich, yet far more She needs to be free so she can come pounding on my door in something skimpy, screaming, "I know you're married, but please please please take me now! Take me right here on the porch, then on the kitchen counter, then the living room floor, then the shower. Make me beg for more!", or words to that effect.

Then the alarm went off, and I grudgingly pulled myself out of bed, heading off to the shower. Another day at work.........

Thursday, June 09, 2005

football jerseys

The highest selling football jersey this year is Randy Moss's Oakland Raider #18 shirt. Number Two in sales is Michael Vick, but I have to wonder...did they count the Ron Mexico jersey sales in with his?

the importance of "team" in team sports

The New York Yankees are languishing, either in the cellar or near it, this year. George Steinbrenner, the owner, is beside himself. All I can do is smile. Steinbrenner is a very rich man, and owning the Yankees hasn't hurt that status any. He makes a habit of buying the best players in the game for his team, because he has the money to pay them. If one year his pitching is lacking, well that's not hard to fix. Who's the best pitcher out there. Whoever he is, pay him more than anyone else will and he's a Yankee. It's why the Yankees are consistently playing for championships. This year, however, the formula isn't working. Maybe it has a little to do with everyone getting their steroids taken away, which may very well have a bigger effect on the Yankees than other teams. They bought all the best players, who may be the best players because their performance has been enhanced. Once the enhancement goes away, they may be mediocre. That said, I think the problem lies more in the fact that Mr. Steinbrenner has hired a bunch of superstars. Superstars need a supporting cast, but if your whole team is superstars, nobody wants to support anyone but himself. A team needs to play together, and do the little things that make the team great, sometimes at the expense of the individual. There's the rub, in my humble opinion.

Nobody on that team wants to take one for the team. Nobody is willing to make sacrifices that put the team above themselves. They are all about the individual effort, like a band full of lead guitarists. That's why they're hurting and to be honest, I don't mind seeing it. No, I'm not naive enough to think this anomoly will last the whole season. In the end, money will win out. These guys will find a way to play together and come the playoffs, the Yankees will be there...again (insert yawn here). For now though, their frustration brings a smile.

You may have guessed, I'm not a Yankees fan. Actually, I don't have a favorite team. I just like to watch the game and to be honest, I like watching the minor league version of it more than the game on the grand stage. One of the bigger reasons is Mr. Steinbrenner and his ability/willingness to buy up the 'best' players, making the playing field far from level. While I have no favorite, the fact that the game allows him to do this and he takes advantage of it like no other owner, makes him and his Yankees a least favorite. There's nobody I'd rather root against. Let's face it. At the beginning of the season you knew the Kanses City Royals had no shot at the World Series. They can't buy talent the way the Yankees can, and it puts them at a severe disadvantage. If someone really good comes up through their minor league system and becomes a star, the Yankees buy him away. I want something more fair, where you can watch a game and any team has an opportunity to win. I suppose part of that comes from being a fan of the game ahead of any particular team. I'm not pulling for my team to win, I'm pulling for a good game. Therefore watching the Yankees not win brings a certain enjoyment.

By the way, another New York team did the same thing and suffered the same way. The New York Rangers of the NHL (Anybody remember hockey? It was a game much like soccer, but played on ice and wearing skates, and instead of a ball you had a little hard flat cylinder...stop me I'm rambling) who bought up a bunch of superstars and were confounded by the fact that they all had ability, but couldn't play together as a team and win. I didn't like them either.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson

Anne Bancroft, aka Mrs. Robinson of the Graduate fame, passed away Monday, a victim of cancer. She did a whole lot of other things in her acting career, but that role, immortalized by Simon and Garfunkel, was the one that stayed with me, even if it was slightly before my time.

For me (when I was one) and a whole lot of other adolescent boys who watched the Graduate, she was the ultimate in the "why doesn't that shit ever happen to me" sentiment. Instead of fumbling through the awkwardness of first sexual experiences and wondering if you're doing it right, and if you're any good at it, wouldn't it be nice to have an older woman grab you by the hips and smooth out the rough spots in that road and enjoy the ride? She was the older woman seductress we all wanted, and probably the epitome of "be careful what you wish for" as well. After all, it backfired for young Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) in the movie, when she sabotaged his relationship with her daughter. Yes, I got through it all ok without such a woman, but still would have enjoyed the experience. Hell, way back when, I craved the experience, but it was a craving left unfulfilled. We don't all get so lucky.

In any case, God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson. You've joined Joltin' Joe in a far better place than just Simon and Garfunkel trivia. Thanks for the memories.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

On another movie note

National Treasure was pretty good. Watched it over the weekend. It kind-of reminded me of the old Indiana Jones movies, with the added twist that everyone thinks our hero (Nicholas Cage) is ready for the looney bin. Good movie for a family night. Lots of excitement and plot twists with no sex to speak of. I'd give it a thumbs up.

Napoleon Dynamite and bikes

I don't really get it. Maybe the stupid movie is growing on me, because while there is no doubt it is a stupid movie, I find myself quoting the thing. It does have some interesting one liners when used in and out of context. The fact that none of them can be taken seriously helps. I also find myself remembering pieces and laughing...harder than I did the first time, as if it needs time to sink in.

Last night I went bike riding. It was supposed to be a ride with my son, who is hinting he needs a new bike. He's learning a hard lesson on the bike thing that I'll get back to, but anyway, he decided to ditch the bike and roller blade instead. So I'm riding my bike and he's roller blading and he grabs the back of my pants and starts using me to pull him along, and comes out with..."Can you pull me into town?", from the scene where Napoleon rides his bike and tows Kip behind him on roller blades.

It has to stop, or maybe not.

The bike thing.

Last year we decided my son was outgrowing his bike, and I was going to get him a new one for his birthday. So I announced, "You're outgrowing your bike and we're going to get you an new one for your birthday. Decide what you want." He saw something on television and decided that's what he wanted...a new Schwinn Stingray.

So, after lots of "are you sure" talks, that's what we bought. I tried to talk him into a mountain bike or something he could learn to do tricks on with pegs, or just something more practical, but this was oh so cool, and he had to have it...and it was cool....for about two months. After two months, he realized it doesn't go as fast as a bike with gears (like his friends have) where you sit more upright. It has but one purpose - to look cool when you ride it. It can't be taken over any sweet jumps, and you can't ride no hands. It cruises nice for short trips, but it hurts your butt after a while. Now, it sits in the garage and doesn't move, while he uses his old small bike. Now, he has learned, he wants a bigger bike that fits him better, that goes faster and has shocks for the off road and jumping stuff...and dad's not buying. I don't buy a new bike every year and besides, we just bought him a computer. The kid is far from deprived. He's doing odd jobs in the neighborhood (house/pet sitting while people go on vacation) saving money and will eventually buy it himself, but it won't be the bike he could have had if he had listened the first time.....oh well.

Monday, June 06, 2005

short takes

The University of North Florida Ospreys lost the national championship game in baseball in a heartbreaker. Such is life.

The MTV movie awards were this past weekend and the Movie of the Year is.....Napoleon Dynamite. I actually watched it this weekend from start to finish, and while it's interesting, and pretty funny, it isn't something I'd watch again and again. My son would though, and I suppose that's why it's MTV's movie of the year.

Friday, June 03, 2005

parenting 101

Sometimes I wonder if I'm all that great a dad, and then I read stuff like this, and get blown completely away. Where do these people come from? People in places like New York like to deride those of us in the deep south for being backward, and classless and basically ignorant. New York, all I can say is, we got nothin' on you!

Danica Patrick is a lightweight

The Indy Racing League is having a fit over little Danica Patrick, the 100 pound girly girl who came oh so close to winning the Indy 500 last weekend. Indy cars have to conform to very strict weight limits, but they are weighed sans fuel or driver. The fat boys are complaining that the 100 pound girl makes her total car weight lighter, and gives her an unfair advantage. OK, so it happens with jockeys in horse racing too. If you get a lighter person in a horse race, that's not cheating. It's just smart. This is the same thing. The fat asses need to shut up and quit whining. Who knows. If they keep their mouths shut long enough, they might lose a pound or two. Back away from the Krispy Kremes guys.

Of course, my opinion has nothing to do with the fact that I think she's also pretty damn cute. Check the link.

Danica the fox

Division II College World Series

I'm just mentioning it because it's small school stuff and nobody else would even notice if I didn't. Oh, there is another reason. I graduated from there.

The Ospreys of the University of North Florida will be playing in the championship game of the Division II College World Series!

Woooo Hoooooooooo!

the bad news Buckeyes

It's been a few weeks since an Ohio State Buckeye football player, either current or alum, has made the news for doing something stupid. I'd like to thank Mike Doss, currently of the Indianapolis Colts, for filling the void. Mr. Doss decided it would be great fun to fire a gun inside a nightclub in the early hours of this past Sunday, and is being disciplined by his current team (though I doubt it involves a woman dressed in black leather) and expressing his sorrow.

Granted, this isn't quite as stupid as the two guys (until this incident, current members of the school's football team) who caught a cab to go someplace and had no money to pay, so they tried to give the cab driver a bag of marijuana as compensation for their trip. When he refused, they beat the crap out of him.

Nor is it as stupid as Maurice Clarett, or any of the incidents that are associated with that name.

That being said, it's good to be back to something close to normal, just for the stability.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Deep Throat and sixty...errrr...forty-niners

The big news story lately - Deep Throat revealed himself. OK, most minds I know went to porn at warp speed, but we're talking the 70's, Watergate and the news source for Woodward and Bernstein when they broke the story regarding all the illegal stuff that was done by Richard Nixon's cronies in the 1972 election to ensure a victory. The result of it all was Richard Nixon's resignation as President of the United States.

Well, some are hailing him as a hero and others are deriding him as a liar, and as conservative and republican as my views my be, I can't see any justification for putting the man down. G. Gordon Liddy and company were flat out wrong. You can't do that sort of thing and expect it to be OK, no matter your motives. The end does not justify the means, and I'm glad someone threw a spotlight on them and ended it. Some are going nuts on the guy (Liddy among them) for bringing down a great president. Great presidents don't condone the things they did, period.

The big sports story lately - There's scandal in San Francisco where a "training" video for the 49ers was leaked to the press. It was supposed to help players deal with, of all things, the media and backfired big time. It was supposed to show how poor conduct can unintentionally make news. Talk about leading by example. The public relations director tried to put something together that would get the message across and hold the players attention. To do that, he featured racist jokes, a topless lesbian wedding, lesbian softcore porn and topless blondes. Yes, a locker room is a different atmosphere and things need to be taken in context, but still, too far is too far. The public relations director resigned in disgrace and you have to wonder...what was he thinking...or was he at all. Yes there's an important message to get across and you have to do something interesting to hold the attention of that audience, but don't stoop to that. You can get creative and hold people's attention without playing the sex and race cards. It just means you have to use some imagination. (he said, with babe-a-day on his blog page to entice more readership)

It's the same thing Bill Cosby used to say about comedians. The good ones can make you laugh without resorting to profanity. The lazy ones rely on the gutter.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

why do we do this every time?

We have a process at work that shuts down a certain application. The application is used, not only internally, but by several news services and brodcast television people outside the company. Whenever we have to do updates, the whole thing is unusable. Well, this is only the second time we've done it, so the process isn't quite seamless. There are unforseen issues that still pop up.

Yet, my boss is determined to keep the application down for as little time as possible, and tell the world that it will be back up and running at 9:00 in the morning. 9:00 is an optimistic guess based on everything going right overnight, which.....hasn't happened yet and isn't happening now. I'm thinking once we've done it 5 or 6 times and we get the process down, expecting everything to go right isn't that far off the mark, but for now, it's expecting a bit much. Yet, he sends emails out to the whole company saying, "Don't worry, you'll have it back by 9:00." So now, we have to send out more e-mails saying...sorry, it's not working yet...maybe in an hour or so. I ask him why we can't factor in things that might go wrong, and I get asked, "Well, what are those things? Lets fix them now." Well, if I knew, they would already be fixed, but giving the world an estimate based on everything going right is lunacy with the amount of experience we have with this thing.

On top of it, it isn't even my thing. It's a project managed by someone else. The code was written by someone else, and the process is being completed by someone else. I get pulled in because....we have a problem, so we need to figure out what to do now. It seems to me we could alleviate part of the problem by being up front with everyone and saying, "You won't be able to use it till noon." That way, nobody likes that, but at least they can plan on not having it till then instead of expecting it at 9:00 and not getting it. Then, if everything does go right, and it's back by 9:00, nobody's any angrier than they were before and you even look pretty good.

So now, this is the second time we've done this and the second time we're apologizing to the world for not doing what he said we would do.

Sorry for the whine, but I needed to vent a little.