Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Question

If the NBA didn't have salary ceilings, with what team would Lebron James have signed?

I think it would have been between New York and Cleveland. The idea being Cleveland would have had to give him at least a 10% stake in the team. New York could have paid him $50 million a year and still have made money. I am assuming classic economic theory that he would have ended up where his marginal product was the highest. So rephrasing the question, where would Lebron James' marginal product have been the highest? Would Miami still have been in the mix due to the "no state income tax" factor? What about Dallas and Mark Cuban and Cowboys Stadium and "no state income tax"?

Part of what I am getting at is that this whole Lebron fiasco was caused by salary ceilings. The NBA changed the game to make endorsement money more important than it would be without ceilings. Given the ceiling, it makes sense that Lebron considered his friendships and personal feelings in his (the) decision.

It worries me that more people aren't talking about this perverse effect of ceilings.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Numbers 2141-2142 Why Microsoft (Vista) Sucks

2141.  For the last two months, Vista has told me that my "copy of Windows is not genuine."  I have the code off the bottom of the computer.  I also have a code on the Vista Ultimate disk.  My copy of Windows is genuine.  It really is.  Notice that my copy of Windows not being genuine has actually made the computer perform better.

2142.  Every three or four days, usually in the afternoon, my computer suddenly crashes.  Yes this might be a hardware problem.  But the fact that it always starts back up fine tells me that it isn't that big of a deal.  And the fact that Microsoft cannot pin point the problem for me tells me that they don't have a clue.

I wanted to make this grandiose point about how the Microsoft model of putting products out there before they are stable has infected Google and other companies too.  (I also think that this has hit Apple a little bit too, but their track record is so much better.)  But the thing is I still use Microsoft and Google products.  So I guess I either have to do something about it or shut up.    

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The NBA And Heat

  1. The only NBA game I have ever seen was this year when the Spurs played the Heat. I will more than likely never see the Heat play again unless I purchase season tickets.
  2. The Heat will be a great natural experiment in economics, psychology, and sociology. We'll see what happens. I can't wait for the book that will come out about the next three years in Miami.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Adam Carolla Dilemma

(This was written Wednesday.)

I sat behind this couple and their son on the plane. The couple was older. You could tell the son was their miracle. He was their life.

He told some joke that was not funny, and they laughed and laughed. They even roped the flight attendant into laughing. It was kind of sad. The kid thought he was funny. But he wasn't even remotely funny. His parents were acting. The flight attendant was acting. The boy was living a lie.

All I could think about was being Adam Carolla's kid. Adam Carolla wouldn't laugh at his unfunny kid. He would have told his kid "that isn't funny." And his kid might grow up to be really damn funny in an effort to please his dad. Or he might not. But the kid would know the difference between funny and unfunny.

The point here is that many kids are instilled with a false sense of confidence. I think this is partially Tiger Woods' problem. People have always looked the other way. They laughed at his unfunny jokes. There is no doubt that Tiger is/was a great golfer, but nobody told him "no" when it came to his personal life. You see some of this in LeBron James too. There is no doubt he is a great player. But it seems nobody has told him: "You're not funny. Pick a damn team and win a championship."

Adam Carolla's son will know the difference between "funny and unfunny." (I actually have no idea if this is true or not. Adam Carolla's son might turn out to be pampered.) But he might also have a ton of insecurities that keep him from his own personal greatness. The ocular block that Pat Jordan talks about is aided by this undying, usually delusional, confidence in oneself. Not knowing the difference between funny and unfunny helps sustain this confidence.

But I worry about the unfunny kid when his classmates and friends tell him how big of a loser he is.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Soccer In HD Or More Discussion Of Things I Know Nothing About

1.  The yellow card rule where you get one in consecutive games and you are out of the next game is stupid.

2.  FIFA should adopt the NBA way of being able to review and rescind.  This reminds me of my "mandatory review" (number 3 in this post) versus automatic suspension idea.  

3.  Both Ghana and Uruguay were better than the U.S.  The U.S. are not one of the top ten teams in soccer in the world.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gems I Just Found On The Internet

Pat Jordan Interview In Two Hour-Long Parts

Here he is on ocular block:

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Game That Is Soccer

1.  The United States is not good in soccer.  I watched a number of teams.  Besides North Korea, there was no team that the United States was significantly better than.  They do not have the strikers who can score goals when they should score goals, much less can score goals on their own.  They also do not have a real defensive prescence.

2.  I thought that the U.S. would be bigger, faster, and more physical than most teams in the world.  They are none of these three things.  Against Ghana, they were smaller, slower, and much less physical.  I know some of this is due to football and basketball.  But I thought it was sad.  You take the fourth best wide receiver on Division I-AA football team, and they would have been a top 5 athlete on the U.S. soccer team.

3.  The World Cup has shown my pod system for college football could work.  But it also showed that ties would be a problem, and no system can be perfect.  All I can say is "it could work."  

4.  My sports career taught me about 50-50 teams, 50-50 games and 50-50 sports.  50-50 teams are mediocre teams.  Teams that are average.  Teams that would be .500 after 1000 games.  I played on a 50-50 team my senior year of high school.  (We finished 2 and 8.)  I also played on a 50-50 team my freshman year of college.  (We finished 5-5.)  50-50 games are games where if the two teams played 1000 times, each team would finish with 500 wins and 500 losses.  It is a game between mediocre teams.  A game where all you can expect is average.  These games can be fun to watch or hard to watch, and usually it would be filled with a number of mistakes.  50-50 sports are sports where most games are 50-50 games with 50-50 teams.  Sports where the best teams don't always win, because there are very few "best" teams.  I would argue that most professional leagues strive to make their leagues 50-50 sports.

5.  World Cup soccer is one of the ultimate 50-50 sports.  This explains the U.S team's result with England.  England would beat the U.S. 6.5 times out of 10, but World Cup soccer is a 50-50 sport.  The U.S. tied and won the 50-50 games with Slovakia and Algeria.  (I am hesitant to put Ghana on this list.  I thought Ghana was clearly better than the U.S.)  The U.S. is clearly a 50-50 team that I cannot get excited about in the near future.  Now, Argentina and Germany, and England to a lesser extent, are not 50-50 teams.

6.   Argentina and Germany and Brazil and Spain will keep me interested in the World Cup.  But without the U.S. team, I will not retain any interest in soccer after the World Cup.        

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quick Thoughts On College Football Realignment

I've always had this idea of Division I football shrinking and going to this 'pod' system.  Each of the top 48-60 teams get placed in a six team league.  If a team wins their league, they advance.  Every team knows at the beginning of the season they have to win their pod.  There are no formulas or voters.  Win five games and you move forward.  Of course, ties will always be a problem, but ties are always a problem.      

And in a mixed up sort of way, I think we're closer to that now.*

*I wanted the pods to be determined after a 5-7 game preseason where teams play their rivals and try to make sure they are good enough to be placed in a pod.  These games would also be used to keep the pods "fair."  I recognize this is a pipe dream and pretty foolish from a practical standpoint.  It also brings back in formulas and voters.  So maybe these new conferences are even better especially if the Big 12 and Big East finds two more teams.

Love and Fear

There are two fears that I live with everyday. The first is poverty. There is nothing that scares me more than poverty. I am not really worried about absolute poverty. But I am much more afraid of relative poverty. There is nothing that scares me like not having enough. Not being able to get something I want. I don't want much. But there is no worse feeling than not being able to get something you want.

So you teach yourself either to want what you have or to not want anything. There isn't much difference here. And it creates the second fear: the fear of greatness. Not greatness in being famous or anything like that, but being good. Having people respect you. Basically getting what you want and maybe even a little more.

Now the underlying issue here is work. The work it takes to be good at something is tough, especially when that something is not completely under your control. Most successes in this life are dependent on complex mix of things. Luck exists. Failure exists even with hard work. We have a lot of control of our destinies but we don't have total control over anything.

So I think we all learn that a strategy in life is to lower expectations. Life is difficult when expectations are never met. Of course this realization that expectations won't be met is part of life. Eventually you either stop caring about your failures or forget about them or lower your expectations or something.

This is life, but you can't really live looking at life in this way. You can't live if you're sitting around thinking about poverty and lowering expectation. You can't do it.

"On his right hand Billy tattooed the word love and on his left hand was the word fear
And in which hand he held his fate was never clear
Come Indian summer he took his young lover for his bride
And with his own hands built a great house down by the riverside

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Adventures Of My Bluetooth Headset

In no particular order:

Survived night in a gravel $5 parking lot in downtown Richmond.

Fell into peanut butter, stopped working for about two weeks until a technician cleaned the peanut butter out of the microphone.

Fell into a toilet.  (I did clean it with alcohol.)

Survived a night in a drainage ditch near my mailbox.

Fell from my ear four inches away from a 10 feet deep drain.

Survived a night at the bus stop.

Wore it in the shower.

Fell into a toilet.

Fell from my ear to the asphalt 1113 times.

Fell into the kitchen sink while washing dishes.

Fell into bathroom sink while brushing teeth.

Fell into bathroom sink while shaving.

Fell into a toilet.

Notice this headset was cheaper when my wife bought it.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Oil Spill

I've been thinking about the oil spill.  I don't really have any deep thoughts.  I just think the whole thing is voyeuristic.  I don't necessarily understand the live feed on the internet.  I don't think it is helping anything.  I know it is the world we live in today.  I don't know.

There are bigger issues here.  As Adam Carolla pointed out on Monday, we live in a world where people want people to see their sex tapes.  I guess people enjoy seeing the oil rushing out in real time.

Some times you have to turn off the news.  Some times you have to turn off the internet.  I hope the engineers who are determining how to stop the leak aren't paying attention to the live feed and the news.

I don't know.    

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Thoughts

1.  I've been working on the ol' resume this morning.  It is funny how much crap you can put on a page.

2.  I wrote down that I had an idea for a post on the NBA, but I can't remember what it is.  I am sure it had something to do with the fact that the Lakers are going to play the Celtics, and this is what the NBA wants.  I need to read Donaghy's Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal that Rocked the NBA. (Except it didn't rock the NBA.)  Maybe I could make some money.

3.  Professional sports' officials are out of control.  But the NBA has a real problem when it has to rescind a call, so a player isn't suspended.  Why do you have a rule that if you get seven technicals in the playoffs, you are suspended for a game?  Just say that after seven technicals, you get a mandatory disciplinary review or something equally meaningless.  You can't suspend people in the playoffs for anything except punches.  This rescinding a technical is stupid.    

4.  I don't really think the NBA is fixed.  I just think it is nudged and predictably inconsistent.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Some Thoughts

1.  Tell me if this chain of reasoning is normal:  Somebody mentions the book of Isaiah.  I think Isaiah Rider who also went by J.R. Rider.  Who shot J.R.?  What does Isaiah say about modern TV?...  I am a product of the internet/ADHD/Headline News/Jeopardy/Sportscenter age, but I have to quiet my thought process and make it more linear.

2.  I keep coming back to Joe Posnanski writing that his father never got factory block.  We all have to spend our life doing/on something.  Who knows about the enjoyment of that activity?

3.  I watched a little soccer on Saturday.  It is hard to watch a game when you don't the two teams playing.  I am not a big fan of putting sponsors on jerseys instead of team names.  It was just the red versus the blue team.  Also, I know it was an important game.  The Champions League Final or something.  It doesn't help that I have no idea what that means.  This is partly FOX's fault too.  World Cup soccer will be interesting, but this club stuff just doesn't make sense to me.  

Friday, May 21, 2010

Some Thoughts

1.  I don't care about cycling.  I don't follow it.  I think what Lance Armstrong accomplished was great, but I don't follow it well enough to know how great.  I was interested in the Landis Tour de France case because I thought it was interesting from a legal-normative perspective.  How did he only fail one test on one day?  Wouldn't you expect the steroids-testosterone levels to be out of line in every test during the Tour?  In sports, should you be assumed guilty and have to prove your innocence.  When should we take away titles and wins?  I don't know.  (I might have missed something about the case.  And it has been a long time ago.)  What I am trying to say is that I believed Landis then.  And I believe him now also.  And I don't care.  I think cycling should just admit that it cannot police the sport and say if we can't test for it, then it is fine to do until we do have a test for it.  I guess this is my feeling about baseball too.  Let's let the past go.  

2.  I walk into a posh bathroom.  It reeks.  Somebody has blown it up.  Completely destroyed it.  I want to turn around.  All I can think about is why hasn't there been an invention to relieve this problem.  I guess you could do it with perfumes, but I think there has to be some type of fan to suck the gas out of the air.  Again I don't know.  But there is no worse feeling than walking into a first-class bathroom at a nice place and being hit with a wave of stink.        

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Very Good YouTube Video That Seems To Cut Out At The End But It Is Still Good

900th Post

My dad was telling me the other night that the recession was (partly) caused by credit cards.  His big complaint was interchange fees.  He quoted some number ($400 Billion?) of how much money Visa/Mastercard/American Express/Discover make purely on transaction fees.  He said these fees were outrageous.  That these companies were making money for doing nothing.  He recognized some of the advantages of a "cashless" society, but he said you can't have companies making money for doing very little.  His basic point was that you can't have a society/economy built on debt, but he was also questioning the value of transaction fees.

There is definitely a negative behavioral issue concerning credit and debt that contributed to where we are today.  My generation views debt differently than my dad's generation and whole a lot different than my grandfather's generation.  I view debt and the use of credit cards much different than my dad.  Some of this has to do with financial education and where I am in my life cycle.  But I sympathize (and even listen to Dave Ramsey).  I also think that these issues are behavioral in nature and therefore correctable with training and will power.

But his transaction fee theory is more interesting.  Economics should teach that there are transaction/opportunity costs for everything.  I think that credit cards and "cashless" transactions reduce the costs of purchasing something.  My dad disagrees.  He thinks they increase costs.  He has worked in retail is whole life and he throughly understands transaction fees.  I am much more of a consumer/purchaser.

The point here is that the value of credit cards (and transaction fees) is purely subjective.  Their value aren't empirical questions.  Deciding whether to use or accept credit cards is an individual/company question/decision.  Average or statistical answers have absolutely no meaning.  None whatsoever.      

Life is about facing the consequences of individual decisions.  Problems occur when decisions and consequences are separated.

Digging deeper into this decision-consequence dynamic is complex and uncomfortable.  This is what politics and the general business of bullshit involves.  But I have come to believe that the best strategy is to ignore this general business and face life with the view that: "I, me, myself do control my decisions, and I will face the consequences of these decisions."  Yes, there are times when the connections seem suspect, but you have to forget about those times and move forward.         

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thursday Night TV

I've mentioned before that I think sit-coms are this great format for our attention deficit times.  This means I enjoy NBC's Thursday night programming.  But I think Parks and Rec and The Office are messing with the format and making me think too much.

They both have these complicated love stories going on that they are teasing for an end-of-season push.  But they are making them more complicated than they need to be.  Michael Scott is screwing a married woman.  This is funny for an episode, maybe two.  But meeting the husband and letting the story carry over into a fourth episode is too much.  Way too heavy for The OfficeParks and Rec has been developing this relationship between April (the young cute slacker) and the shoe-shine guy (the older [my age] dumb slacker).  Last night was time for the relationship to really begin, but they pushed it back an episode or two.  The episode itself was a cliff-hanger.

These shows don't need cliff-hangers.  Each episode is a 22 minute self-contained laugh-fest.  You can only make adultery funny for an 22-44 minutes.  After that, it looks way too much like the real world that everyone is trying to avoid by watching these shows.  Maybe this is why I enjoy watching re-runs more than day and date shows.

I will say that Community still rocks.   

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blog Post

My dad used to say, "I don't care if you're a janitor as long as you're the best damn janitor you can be."  (I think some times the end turned into the best damn janitor in the world or some similar hyperbole.)

This morning a janitor polished the floors.  He did the most immaculate job I've ever seen.  The floors are shining like never before.  It took him hours, but you can see your reflection in the floor.  He used the mop and the dry mop (the secret to cleaning any high-traffic floor).  He is the best floor polisher I've ever seen.

And my dad has a point.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Questions For The NBA

1.  How did the Atlanta Hawks advance beyond the first round of the playoffs when the Mavericks, Thunder, Trailblazers, and Nuggets did not?

2.  When Orlando comes out of the East, will anyone watch the Finals?

3.  How can this Cleveland team win the most games during the regular season?

4.  Does the answer to 3 show that the NBA should reduce/adjust their regular season?

5.  If Lebron truly wants win a championship, how does he go back to Cleveland or to New York?

6.  Isn't their a way to organize the playoffs and draft so there would be no tanking and no "saving it for the playoffs?"

7.  Why can't the NBA be the first league to go radically different with their playoff structure?


Friday, May 07, 2010

Jason Whitlock's "Why I Write?"


I'm attracted 2 original ideas. I want 2 read & say, "damn, I never thought of that or didn't know that." Just me. Others want somthing else

Thursday, May 06, 2010

My San Antonio Spurs

I have never lived in a professional sports city.  I guess my closest hometown team is the Redskins.

But now that I am a part-time resident of San Antonio, I like saying "my San Antonio Spurs."

And right as I arrive, they have a just over-the-hill team that plays in the wrong conference.

But I still like saying "my San Antonio Spurs."


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

For The Record

1.  Saturday, I predicted the Celtics would beat the Cavaliers.  I stand by this prediction.  It is still Lebron versus the world.

2.  The local radio guy was crapping on the NBA playoffs because NBA basketball has turned into an individual sport.  Kobe versus Lebron.  He blamed Nike and the NBA for deifying Jordan and marketing players instead of teams.  I see his point, but I think the great thing about basketball is that it is the most individualistic of the team sports.  Lebron can will his team into the 2007 Finals.  But Lebron can't win a championship with a non-existent supporting cast.  The problem with the NBA playoffs is it is too long.  The West Coast games are way too late.

3.  Bureaucracies have a hard time with "giving a lot of what costs a little."  This is one of their greatest problems.  Their rules and procedures get in the way of low-cost things that could improve their constituencys' welfare.  Their decisions are consistently based on sustaining the bureaucracy and not low-cost solutions to the problems they face.     

Monday, May 03, 2010

Three Things

1.  Here is a good article on the subjective theory of value.

2.  One secret of success in life is "giving a lot of what costs a little."  Being nice to people can get you places.  From a business/product perspective, this thought translates into customer service and understanding sunk costs.  From a personal perspective, this thought translates into understanding yourself, your shortcomings, and your desires.  Many businesses fail because they overprice products and services that cost them nothing or very little.  Many people fail because they won't be themselves.  They overprice the ideas and qualities that come naturally to them.

3.  If I could capture the feeling that a large cup of coffee after 5-6 hour night of sleep can give a person, then I could put the antidepressant industry out of business.      

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sports Thoughts Even Though They Don't Seem Appropriate

1.  I wish Jason Campbell would swallow his pride one more time, and be a backup to McNabb.  I would much rather have him than Grossman.  With McNabb as a tutor, it might help him, especially when McNabb gets hurt which is a foregone conclusion.

2.  I don't trust Jim Haslett, and I am betting that the 'Skins defense is worse than it was last year.  I never have liked coaches who imposed their systems on personnel that didn't fit.  Haynesworth and McIntosh are talents.  A good coach would find a way to keep them happy and motivated.

3.  We're ten days into the baseball season.  I am still interested.  Let's see where I am at next month.  

Monday, April 12, 2010

Syrofoam, Sunk Costs, And Alternative Energy

One time I was living with a retro-hippie sympathizer.  He invited a retro-hippie over to our apartment.  She criticized my use of Styrofoam plates, cups and bowls.  I retorted that the Styrofoam was already made.  They were going to be used by someone.  I understand general equilibrium effects, and my purchase stimulated demand and hence supply.  But the idea was the Styrofoam was made and it was cheaper (at least in my mind) to use than "real" dishes.  The negative parts of Styrofoam were sunk costs.

I feel similarly about oil.  Part of me thinks that oil is unsustainable.  But it is still cheaper.  I have never seen a credible analysis that says hybrids are cheaper than traditional compact cars for most people's driving habits.  As we stand today, wind and solar just can't do it.  Most people now see that ethanol was policy-induced mistake that cost more than it was worth. 

So I am going to keep driving my dad's truck and not worry about "our" (inter)dependence on oil or "promoting" alternative energy.  The oil in the ground, like death, is just a sunk cost.            

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Pat Jordan: The Man, The Myth, The Legend Or "What You Say About His Company Is What You Say About Society"

One way to be happy is to take joy in the small things.  The best paragraph ever written about this is from Pat Jordan's A Nice Tuesday: A Memoir:

"He could have let that disappointment overwhelm him, make him bitter or, even worse, self-pitying. But he never did. He never found an excuse to be unhappy. My uncle was a happy man because he knew happiness was not a given. It was not something deserved. It was something to be worked at, created out of any little thing at hand. My uncle was a master at finding joy and wonder in life's minutest details that the rest of us so often overlook in our pursuit of grander pleasures. Like that toast. It was the most perfect buttered toast I have ever had."

So, I am happy that I most of my dishes are washed.  I am happy that I have woke up at 6:05AM for two straight months.  I am happy that I have not driven to campus once this semester.  (I lost my parking passes, but I could have bought new ones for $2 a piece.)   I am happy that I have sent birthday cards to most of the females in my family for the past year.  I am happy that the campus store has peanuts 2 for $1.    

Monday, March 29, 2010

Other Things I Have Been Thinking About Or I Still Don't Think Duke Is That Good

1.  I have really cut back my visits to Wal-Mart.  It is just too busy.  I still think Wal-Mart has a great business model.  But it just isn't a good place for me to get groceries.  Other grocery stores have gotten more competitive.  Their ads tend to be just as good or beat Wal-Mart on key products.

2.  I broke my glasses last night.  I wear glasses an hour a day.  But I think I am going to have to go Wal-Mart to get them fixed.  My glasses are five years old, but I would hate to get a new pair.  I might be able to super-glue them.  Tape didn't work.

3.  I really want to make a commitment to fitness.  But I haven't been able to pick a plan and stick with it.  I know the plan will involve interval training.  And I think I could get the results I want in less than 20 minutes a day.  I am also thinking about strengthening my core, but I have never been able to sustain a rigorous core workout.

4.  The NCAA tournament is fun, but I still think in a 7-game series Kansas and Kentucky are your best teams.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Things I Have Been Thinking About

1.  I am predicting that no number 1 seeds make it to the Final Four.  Baylor is too athletic for Duke.

2.  I have been reading some of What's Alan Watching?  It amazes me that a man can make a living evaluating sitcoms and other TV shows.  It is one of these great credits to American economic growth  I think it also points to the role of luck in developed society.  I like Sepinwall, but I have to believe that there are hundreds of other people who could do what he does.  But these people aren't getting paid for writing about The Office.  I feel similarly about Bill Simmons and the majority of sports writers.  Note that I think all of these guys possess a unique combination of talent and discpline.  I just think that luck is in the equation too.

3.  I am not sure the NCAA basketball tournament gives us the best team.  It is exciting.  Can't the same be said about the BCS?

4.  I spent yesterday cleaning my apartment so I could show it to people.  It is cleaner than it was, but it will never be completely clean.  I had an uncle who said "If you have an inside dog, your house will always be dirty."  I am modifying that "If you have a young man on his own, your house will always be dirty."

5.  But I feel like I am getting older.  I get up at the same time (6:05AM) every morning even on the weekends.  I have all of these rituals that I have to complete in the morning before I feel like I can move forward in my day.  I guess it is growth.   


Friday, March 26, 2010

Pat Jordan Does Spring Break

Here.  It is a three part series.  The third part I linked to is the best.

This form of gonzo-journalism with a S.O.B. who doesn't give a damn has to have a market.  I could read Pat Jordan all day.  

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Graduation Rates And Chances

Johnny was a coach's son.  He tried to play linebacker where the fastest strong athletes played.  He tried to play defensive end where the fast strongest guys played.  Like myself, Johnny was neither fast nor strong.  But he was a coach's son and ended up being a student assistant his senior year.

Johnny wasn't too bright either, but he got his PE degree.  He was a coach's son.  I am sure he is a coach now.  The thing is football and sports does things like this: It connects fathers and sons.  It gets boys into and through school.  It gives them chances and reasons to succeed.   

There is always a lot of attention on Division I programs and their graduation rates.  In Division I, some guys have a chance at playing professionally.  More guys think they have a chance at playing professionally.  Some of these guys will graduate.  Others won't.  The important thing is they have been given a chance.  Sports and scholarships and coaches give boys' chances.  That is what is important.         

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

History And Dreams Or Why I Am Not A History Teacher Or Expectations

When I started college, I wanted to be a history teacher.  I took History 101 and Education 101 my first semester.  I didn't want to be a history teacher anymore.

Most people are history teachers.  People paint the past and go around selling their art.  GGM and I have had a mini-discussion of boxing in the comments section.  We've both been able to go back and watch fights from our childhood on YouTube.  We've been able to relive history.  And we take that history and create something out of it.  Something that is unique.  We are our own historians.

When I started this blog, I had no expectations.  I remember someone telling me to stop asking advice concerning things that aren't worthy of advice.  I had some ambition to be a or a, but I really wanted a place to voice thoughts.  I wanted a place be my own historian.

(I can't lie and say I don't want more people to read my histories.  I can't lie and say I don't want somebody to say:  "Wow, that post slapped me in the face" like this did to me.  But blogging is really about keeping oneself sane.  It is therapeutic.  Too many things in the brain makes one crazy.)

But the point here is that one has to have expectations.   One has to move past personal histories and have some desire for the future.  One has to dream.  One has to want something better.  One has to make(or at least think they can make) expectations become history.  This is why I am not a history teacher.      

Monday, March 15, 2010

Things I Have Come To Learn

1.  Most medical students, young doctors have an arrogance about them.  I know this is a generalization.  But I think it is relevant to our current healthcare debate.  There is some adverse selection going on in the doctor market.  There is a good book called  Learning to Play God that delves in why young doctors are the way they are.

2.  If you want to keep playing, you have to win.  The one thing I have learned from economics is if you're not successful, you don't keep going.

3.  I have to either shave every two-three days or grow a beard.  Anything in-between is torture to my face.



Thursday, March 11, 2010


The three most expensive pairs of socks I have every bought have holes in them after less than a year.  This is frustrating.    

Monday, March 08, 2010

Two Things

1.  I've been listening to talk radio and talk podcasts.  On Wednesday, I cranked up a music CD.  I felt better about life.  Talk radio has its qualities.  But there isn't anything like good rock and roll, some song or album that you have listened to a hundred times before, but you still hear something that makes you think, makes you want to live.

2.  I have two Wal-Mart coffee makers.  One is the old version.  It has a white plastic coffee holder.  Even with paper filters, the white plastic becomes stained.  The new version uses black plastic.  How are these types of improvements tracked in terms of "Are we better off?" questions.  Both of these coffee makers cost less than $10.  I have had both for over two years.  I find this amazing.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


This post builds on this one and this one.

A new one for the list of compliments I care about.  People have told me that I make things mine.  This is similar to the "honest" compliment.  But it involves something else.  My fifth grade teacher said I wasn't creative enough, and to me the definition of creativity is personalizing projects.  The things I really care about and have pride about are distinctly mine.  It also demonstrates courage to make things personal.  Courage is another trait I appreciate and wish I had more of.    

"A Day Late And A Dollar Short" Or But They Didn't Win

1.  I know I am a couple of days late.  But I was invested in Olympic hockey.  And the US didn't win.  Every few years a country (even the US) needs a good sports story.  But you have to win to make it a truly "good" story.  If they would have won, I would have been more interested in the NHL.  Hockey is a great game.  It is so fast, and the lack of commercials makes it better too.  But it still isn't anything I will follow.  I have to find a NHL team.

2.  I guess there is still the World Cup, but I am starting to realize that the US just doesn't produce top quality soccer players.

3.  I realized that one of my many weaknesses is an inability to execute.  This comes through in talks and writing.  Most of the time my initial idea is okay and worth discussing.  But I just don't pull it through.  I don't take the idea to its fruition.  This is something I can work on.  

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The One Thing I Wanted To Say In The Last Post

Google Chrome has started to fail me.  It doesn't even work with Google driven sites.  This is what I really don't understand.  I am almost a Google man, but this has become really upsetting.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Some Things I Don’t Understand

  1. Why is the census spending so much on advertising? It seems like a colossal waste to me. I am faintly aware of the debate around the constitution, statistical sampling, and the census, but I hear or see five to six ads for them a day. I was in college for the last one, and the big thing was to get a summer/part-time job working with the census. (That last sentence was a cold glass of water to the face.)
  2. How is the best way to focus? I believe a key to life is living in the present, living in the moment. But it is hard. Some of it is our culture. Most of it is my culture. I also think when you're having a difficult time focusing then you are probably doing something wrong. Either you are not working on the right things. Or you don't know what the right things are.
  3. This site has gotten over 1500 hits in the past five months. I find this astounding. Even when you subtract my visits, it seems like a lot to me, especially for a personal site that rarely says much.
  4. Bill Simmons discusses incentives and industrial organization. I understand what he writes. I just don't understand the NBA. I don't understand the airline industry either. Service industries have to learn how to serve.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Are You One Of Us Or One Of Them

What fascinates me about the Tiger Woods story is failure. The idea is that in today's society there are so many outlets for children to succeed, so many outlets for children to avoid failure, so many outlets for parents to insulate their children from failure. My question is, has Tiger Woods really felt failure? Yes, he has lost golf tournaments. But has he ever looked in the mirror and saw himself as a loser? Has he ever wanted something badly and lost it? So my first question, does Tiger Woods really think he has done anything wrong? Does he think he has failed?

Most great champions have an ability to forget. Most great champions look in the mirror and see a great champion. I think Tiger Woods sees himself as a great champion. I think Tiger's dad convinced Tiger that he was a great champion early in his life. I think his women and his friends convinced him that he was a champion. I have very little doubt that Tiger will be able to forget and move forward in his golf career and probably in his personal life. So the second question is, from a public relations, economic, personal standpoint, to whom does he have to prove (re-prove) that he is a champion: the public, reporters, his fellow golfers, his wife and children, his sponsors, the buying public?

I wrote the first two paragraphs before the news conference. And I don't think his statement answered either question. My gut reaction is Tiger Woods still thinks he can have it all. He still doesn't really know failure, and he still can't decide who he has to prove himself to. The thing is I still don't think Tiger Woods knows who he is. And the only person you have to prove anything to is yourself. But when you've spent your whole life insulated from failure, insulated from self-examination, how can anyone expect one to find himself.

One day Tiger will make the speech Michael Jordan made at his Hall of Fame induction. Until then, none of us will ever know who Tiger Woods is. Unfortunately, neither will he.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Last 12 Hours

Friday 6:30PM
I think I am a lucky guy.  I have a flight on Saturday morning to see my wife.  I have not seen my wife in 40 days.  I think I missed all of the devastating weather.  I am a lucky guy.  I do have a gut feeling that something bad, wrong will happen.  I think it will involve me driving to the airport.

Friday 8:00PM
I shave.  I know shaving before bed is stupid.  I now the irritated skin keeps me awake.  But I want to be ready for the morning.

Friday 9:00PM
I go to bed.  I am going to be ready for my 4:00AM wake-up and 6:00AM flight.  I am a lucky guy.

Friday 10:28PM
I am almost asleep.  My irritated face prevents me from sleeping on my stomach, but I am on my back.  And the phone rings.  I get up like a drunk, stumbling towards the phone.  I hear a message from United.  Something about changes to my flight.  I rush to the computer.  I don't see any changes.  Everything seems to be good.  I use their phone tree.  Everything seems to be on time.  I call my wife.  She is supportive.

Saturday 3:00AM
I can't sleep any longer.  I get up.  My initial flight has been canceled.  It looks like I have already been re-booked for tomorrow morning.  I call and finally get a person in India.  He is nice but not helpful.  He does not know why the flight has been canceled.  He thinks it is something about the weather.  There are no empty seats on later flights.  I am angry.  But this guy can do nothing.  He tries to make me un-check-in for my second flight, but I can't do this online.  He says he will do it for me.  I wait on the phone for 10 minutes.  He says he has taken care of it.  I call my wife.  She is supportive even though I call her at 2:00AM in the morning.  At least, I remember to turn off my alarm clock.

Saturday 5:58AM
I am finally asleep.  United calls again to tell me my flight is canceled.

Saturday 6:10AM
My normal alarm goes off.  I decide get up and start my day.

Saturday 6:30AM
I cannot check-in for tomorrow's 6:00AM flight.  I call United again.  The online tech support guy in India says he has fixed it.  I trust him but cannot check for myself because I am on the shitter.  I go back to the computer and it still shows me checked-in for my second flight today.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Another Snowy-Icy Morning, More Thoughts

1.  I still don't know what to think of the Super Bowl.  It was a great game.  But it didn't leave me pissed like last year.  I thought the Cardinals got (somewhat) screwed by the referees.  The Giants-Patriots was the greatest game I ever saw, and it was David beating Goliath.  I don't know where to place this one.

2.  I am not a Peyton Manning fan.  But he needs to become more of a coach.  The 51 yard goal attempt and even the decision to quit playing versus the Jets were clearly not his decisions.  He is the Colts, and he needs to make more decisions for them.  If he would have made the field goal decision, he would have clearly been the goat.  If I had known that he was the one who decided to run three times at the end of the first half, the loss would have been his fault.  Some times, it seems he is held back by coaching.  I would love to see exactly what he would do in a tie game during the 4th quarter with 4 minutes left and it is 4th and 3 at his own 45 yard line.  (My prediction is he would make many of the same calls.)

3.  I think my idea of a touch-flag football Pro Bowl would work.  You don't have to select 44 guys for each team.  We get to see offensive and defensive linemen catch and run.  They could play drunk.  The chance of a devastating injury would be low.

4.  I also have ideas for the MLB All-Star Game.  They should go back to the old inning-based home-run derby format.  They should also take Monday to Friday off but still play the game on Tuesday.  This would give pitchers more time to recover and give more time for the inning-based derby format.  Then the Saturday-Sunday series following the game would be a rivalry weekend.  The rivalry would be a team's biggest rival at that time irrespective of league.  The point here would be to make it a week of baseball, and not just Monday and Tuesday night.                 

Sunday, February 07, 2010

I Shouldn't Say I Told You So Before The Game Is Over

But I will.  I know Manning has played pretty well, but the interception blew it.  And I don't know if they will do it, but they should carry Gregg (Double G) Williams off the field.

It is the two minute warning.  We'll see if the Colts can make an amazing coomeback,  but my prediction seems to have some truth to it. 

Friday, February 05, 2010

Why Probabilities Don't Matter Or Mary Chapin Carpenter's Sudden Gifts Of Fate

Some people need to know what to expect
Need to keep control, need to keep one step
Ahead of every chance, as if chance decides
Who it's gonna pass, who it will reward
They don't understand, chances don't keep score
They just find us when we're there to find
And so this has to be, a sudden gift of fate
you're nothing less to me than a sudden gift of fate
It's not as if it comes down to your turn that someone somewhere feels you've earned
You just learn to wait for sudden gifts of fate

Some people have never been the lonely kind
Never called a friend in the middle of the night
Just to hear a voice say it's okay
And now I hear you speak each and every word
That I didn't think lonely people heard
You took a long night and turned it into day

And so this has to be, a sudden gift of fate
you're nothing less to me than a sudden gift of fate
Its not as if it comes down to your turn that someone somewhere feels you've earned
You just learn to wait for sudden gifts of fate
You can celebrate, gifts are never late
You just learn to wait for sudden gifts of fate

I Am A Peddler

I saw guys cleaning the snow-ice mixture off the sidewalks.  I see guys using plows and 4WD drucks to clean the parking lots.  I ask why am I sitting in this warm apartment?  I should be out there.  I could make $200-$300.  You don't leave money on the ground.  I am a peddler.

My grandfather used to drive south, pick up a load of produce, then he and my great uncle (and my dad) would go sell it to other small places in the county.  You don't leave money on the ground.  They were peddlers.  I am a peddler.

I can run.  I can try to avoid it.  But I am a peddler.  This isn't anything wrong with peddling.  Everybody has to do peddling some time in their life. 

I was hitting on something here.  A man has to find his esscence.  A man has to say this is who I am.  A man has to declare that he cares but he doesn't care.  He has to draw that line.  But he has to do it.  He can't let others do it.  He can't fake it.  Because if he does, he will straddle it all of his life.         

The Hypocrisy Of It All

Does Starbucks and Bono really want to help Africa?

A South Beach Diet Post

One day I will get around to writing my South Beach story. But I want to add to my Ricotta dessert recipe book, Rocky Road Ricotta Dessert.  You mix a few marshmallows (I've never seen sugar-free marshmallows, but they would be best), Splenda, Part-Skim Ricotta cheese, and sugar-free chocolate syrup.

I found this mix heavenly.

Some Things

1.  I am sticking by the previous post.  I can see the Saints pulling this off.  I don't think Manning is as invincible as everyone seems to think.

2.  If I am ever in charge of canceling something because of weather, this will be my policy (courtesy of one of my old professors): Don't break your neck because of a class or a job or anything not important.  Use your best judgement, and we'll work it out when it is dry.

3.  "Use your best judgement" is an underrated phrase in American society.  Really allowing people to "use their best judgement" is an underrated action.

4.  I just finished this book on Alan Greenspan.  One of the better books I've read in a while.  It was a good recent history of U.S. monetary-economic policy.  It also showed that once people get into politics, they have a hard time getting out of politics.  Power does create a thirst for more power.  

5.  I started this book called The Teamsters.  I doubt if I will finish it.  It seems like a completely different time.  It seems like a completely different world.  It did make me want to ask my grandfather about his truck driving days.  I can't remember him ever saying much about unions, but my gut feeling says he wasn't a big fan.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Kiss Of Death For The Saints

I have a feeling that Peyton Manning lays an egg.

I can see the Saints carrying off Gregg Williams.  This would be the ultimate middle finger to Dan Snyder in a year of middle fingers to Dan Snyder.  

Monday, February 01, 2010

Bandwidth Questions And Other Thoughts

1.  I know someone who knows things.  He says bandwidth is more valuable than paper.  He criticized the university's new interactive learning website because it is a bandwidth hog.  The other night I went to sleep to  I forgot that it was on continuous play.  Simpsons clips played all night.  I was too lazy to shut it off.  Besides the electricity (and my monitor went into sleep mode), I suffered zero marginal costs.  I remember Mark Cuban saying that high quality video will never be able to be streamed through computers.  These are the questions of our time.

2.  I really enjoy Mad Men.  I was excited by Jon Hamm hosting SNL.  I watched his opening monologue and most of his sketches (on  I was throughly disappointed.  I know I am late on this one, but SNL sucks.  By its nature, SNL is going to be hit or miss.  But I don't see how the show survives if they can't make me laugh when my favorite character is hosting.  My wife enjoyed the show live.  She is in the Central Time Zone.  I think this makes a difference, which brings me to:

3.  Humor is very subjective and time dependent.  This is what the Leno-Conan debate is really about.  I would probably enjoy Conan's humor more than Leno if I could stay up at late.  (I would probably watch Letterman.)  I do appreciate Leno's work effort even if he is somewhat of a schemer and an opportunist.  I don't feel sorry for either guy.  But the lesson here is people laugh at what they think is funny.  And laughing is really hard to predict.            

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Questions From My Childhood

1.  Whatever happened with the ozone layer?  Is it still there?

2.  Whatever ever happened to the Montreal Expos?  Or should I say what has happened to the Washington Nationals?  They always had young talent.  Now...

3.  Why do elementary schools have mascots?  We were the Eagles, but we didn't have any teams.

4.  Why does the NFL play the Pro Bowl?  I would rather watch these NFL guys play basketball or flag football or something.

5.  Is overpopulation the problem?  I see guys (here is Paul Shirley's blog post and here is the New York Times giving crap to Andre Bauer) catching a bunch of crap for suggesting this, but I used to stay up at night thinking about it.  I remember telling myself that overpopulation is the essential problem.  Too many people searching for too little resources.  I feel differently now.  But I haven't seen anyone address the underlying point that Shirley and Bauer are unsuccessfully trying to make.  I guess it goes back to the first paragraph of this post.

6.  What am I going to do when I grow up?      

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Politics, The Environmental Movement, And Special Interests

Every time I think this country's government is going lead us to become NAZI Germany or France, something breaks.  A special election shifts the debate.  A conservative grassroots movement reminds elected officials that most people have some conservative tendencies (in the sense that they don't want drastic change).   The competing of the special interests leads to nothing changing.  Every time I see government or environmental groups discussing environmental regulations that have uncertain short-term and long-term impacts, I start to appreciate the fact that these groups and government will never be able to get together and fully commit to anything.  

I find this very comforting.  

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Falling Down Or I Need To Go Back And Listen To U2's Early Albums Or Another Healthcare Post

As I took one step out of my apartment complex yesterday, I slipped on the ice feet over ass.  I saved my coffee.  I saved my backpack with my netbook.  But the top of my back wacked against the stair.  It felt like someone had hit me with a baseball bat six inches below my neck.  It knocked the wind out of me, and for a minute I felt like I was going to die.  But I walked it off.

Throughout yesterday, my back felt like it was going to spasm.  I have played enough football to know that there is no structural damage, but my lat muscles are bruised and tight.  I could go to a doctor/emergency center.  They would probably x-ray me to make sure I had no structural damage.  They might even give some good muscle relaxers.  Of course, I have played enough football to know that you never go to a doctor/emergency room unless someone absolutely makes you go.  But if my wife wasn't a thousand miles away, I would have to stop complaining or do something about it.  And I do like complaining.

I am afraid this "do something about it" mentality is another one of these factors in healthcare that isn't getting enough attention.  

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quick And Incomplete Thoughts On Economic Development And Haiti

There is a little talked about psychological-behavioral dimension to economic development that many respectable people don't want to discuss.  

When the crap hits the fan, the best immediate development (disaster) policy is to throw money, food, medicine, and bottled water at the problem.  Notice I start with money.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Morning Thoughts

1.  Yesterday morning the bus was 20 minutes late.  Yesterday evening the bus went the wrong way.  I wasted almost an hour on bus rides yesterday.  I still rode the bus this morning.

2.  The bus was on time this morning. 

3.  Part of me wants to really delve into men's fashion.  I enjoy looking nice, but I don't want to look too nice.  But a nice pair of pants that fits well feels is wonderful.  (Some of these feelings is inspired by the suits in Mad Men.)

4.  My holiday weight gain has not helped in the "nice pair of pants that fits well" feelings.

5.  I read an article yesterday that emphasized the necessity for fitness goals.  For example, you should sign up for a half-marathon in four months.  I don't know what I think about this.  I am certainly never going to be able to run a half-marathon.

Monday, January 18, 2010

“Quiet Desperation”

The last few nights I've been riding the bus with this crazy guy. He is younger than me. He sits to himself and swats flies and elbows and punches enemies. I don't know what his disease is. I don't know who is enemies are. Part of me wants to help him. Another part of me envies him. God knows that inside of me I want to swat and fight the air. I can barely contain myself, but I do.

I have no idea how these first few sentences sound. But the idea is that "supposed to" and "should" tends to rule our lives. And no matter how enlightened we think we are, most of the time we follow rules without fully thinking them through. This probably isn't a bad thing. But it is a thing.

NFL Thoughts

1.  Kenny Albert did not look like he belonged on TV on Saturday.  I didn't get to see how bad Nixon looked in 1960.  I am not saying other announcers are attractive.  I am not saying I would look better. I am just saying Kenny Albert didn't look human on Saturday.  At least, "Moose" wore an expensive suit.

2.  "Moose" Johnston tries so (too) hard.  It reminds me of this clip of him at the Emmit Smith roast.  After watching that game, I started listening to the Colts-Ravens game on the radio.  I think I prefer the radio.  This reverse-technology-preference intrigues me.  I think these types of preferences are going to be important to selected businesses in the future.  I guess what I am saying is audio broadcasts of games are going to stay around longer than I initially expected.      

3.  I guess I am rooting for the Vikings.  But the Saints, especially Reggie Bush and Shockey, impressed me on Saturday.  My dislike for them certainly centers around Gregg Williams, Sean Payton, and that Redskins game.

4.  Rex Ryan is following Brian Billick's Super Bowl XXXV strategy of already scheduling the whole post-season.  I like this confidence.  But I also like Pierre Garcon's DIII ties.  It should be a fun game.  I can see Ryan finding a way to get pressure on Manning.  No matter what, I think it will be a close game.

5.  The NFC Championship has a chance to be great, but it also has a chance to turn out like the Saints-Cardinals game.  It should be fun.      

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin reminds of the first paragraph of this post.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Things I Wish People Would Learn, Know, Understand Or Thanks Bruce Springsteen

1. There would be no non-profit jobs without profit.

2. There would be no charity without excess.

3. There would be no excess without individuals who search for better ways.

4. There would be no excess without the exploitation of people or natural resources (including the brain) or time or energy or something.

5. Exploitation is just getting the most out of something, just pushing life beyond preconceived limits.

6. Rand and Marx both have points. Completely ignoring either one is a mistake.

7. Every one us has to decide what side of that line they want to be on.

8. No one of any real importance will ever ask me (you) what my (your) dissertation is about.

9. But important people will want to know what side of that line you're on.

Disjointed Ideas

1. I find Artie Lange, and comedians in general, fascinating. Listening to Adam Carolla's podcast should count as 12 credits to a psychology or sociology major.

2. This holiday season has forced me to go back to Phase I of the South Beach Diet. This is life. This is the rest of my life.

3. This weekend I wrapped sliced portabello mushrooms in thin cut stir-fry steak. I marinated the mushrooms and steak in some Worcestershire sauce and a little Teriyaki marinade. I then grilled the steak wrapped portabellos. They were pretty good. I dipped them in a little horseradish sauce (not Phase I approved).

4. I also made some Rum Raisin Ricotta Dessert. I mixed Ricotta cheese, imitation rum extract, Splenda, and raisins (raisins are certainly not Phase I approved). This was a nice addition to the Ricotta Dessert menu.

5. I would really like to open up a South Beach Diet-themed restaurant. It would probably be a diner-like place. I have some ideas, but they will never come to fruition.

6. Friday, I listened to a local sports radio host poo-poo Alabama's national championship. He said he felt cheated by McCoy's injury. I usually like the host, because he is a good non-sensational guy. He seems to be happy being a local non-controversial guy. But he made some comment like "Alabama will always know in the back of their mind that this championship was tainted." His comment reminded me of everything I hate about sports media. McCoy's injury was just football. You play the game. A lot of guys get hurt. But don't poo-poo winning. As my coach used to say: "I don't apologize for winning. I won't apologize for success."

7. Maybe number 6 is because I was on the right (wrong) side of this game. Here is some video. Notice I was in the bleachers recovering from a broken leg. I still think coach is right. You can't apologize for winning.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Is Life A Zero Sum Game? Or "Cuz when it's over it's all over And what you gained you throw away"*

1. You know you're getting old when you become concerned about your urination schedule.

2. I've been contemplating Bono's lyric from Hawkmoon 269 when he says 'he needs (your) love' "Like a boxer needs pain." (Ok, I looked it up and he seems to say like a preacher needs pain, but we're going stick with what I've been contemplating.) To me, the lyric represents this beautiful truism in life. Our essence requires something, and that requirement makes us who we are. All good boxers go back to something in their past that hurt them, that caused them pain. And that pain makes them want to inflict pain on their opponents. Young boxers "go soft" when that pain disappears, when the money has healed most of the pain. (Old boxers just continue to fight after their physical skills have deteriorated.) It is like successful athletes who need competition to define their self-worth after retirement. Most (successful) people have something that defines them. Something that they need to make them who they are. To make them successful. The thing is finding that "need" and never letting go of it. The most successful people openly and honestly recognize their need and are never ashamed of it. Moderately successful people just don't think about it.

3. When I was in high school, some local newspaper did a profile of me. I was a decent shot-putter. I told the reporter that I picked out one of my competitors, found a reason to hate him, let that hate build up into a rage, and used the rage to throw the shot-put as far as I could. It was something a stupid kid would say, and I was a stupid kid.

4. But that anger, that passion, that ability to see something that isn't right and comment on it with confidence and pride and humbleness, that is who I am. That is my essence. It isn't anger about individuals anymore. It is anger about ideas and operations and my lack of toughness and the bullshit of the world. Bono needs (your) love like I need discontent.

5. Or is it? I also took great pride in practicing longer than all of my shot-put teammates. I would stay in the cold, and in the rain. I had to prove to them I was tougher. I might not be able to throw farther, but damn it, I would outlast them. Bono needs (your) love like I need to feel that I am tough.

6. Maybe Bono needs (your) love like I need anger concerning my lack of toughness.

7. No. That's not true. The reason I stayed out in the rain and cold was because I thought you should stay out in the rain and cold. I was angry at my teammates running inside. I was angry at their lack of toughness.

8. Bono needs (your) love like I need anger.

9. Bono needs (your) love like I need anger about things not being as good as they could be.

10. There we go. It looks bad written down, but there are a lot of successful people who have built their success around "anger about things not being as good as they could be."

*From Rosie Thomas' "Death Came And Got Me"

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Future Of TV

(I've posted about this before, but my concerns have become a business question.)

The last few weeks I've been watching too much TV. But I've been watching these "TV" shows online, OnDemand, and on DVD. I can't remember the last time I really followed a show on the TV. It isn't just the commercials. Online and OnDemand shows have some commercials too. The question becomes: What is the future of TV?

Shows like Mad Men almost require buying or renting the DVD to really follow them. They're just so well done that they're movies broken into 42 minute segments. Even if you watch every first airing on TV, you want to go back and watch them again. (Mad Men is by far my favorite entertainment going right now.)

Shows like The Office and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia are just 22 minute laugh fests. Extending them to thirty minutes and forcing me to watch them at a certain time each week makes them less funny. They are designed to make us laugh, and laughing isn't about schedules.

So what types and how many comedies or "serious" shows do I buy for the video store?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Looking Back

When I was in the 11th grade, I had to write a paper about a magazine advertisement. I chose a Microsoft advertisement. I can't remember the complete copy of the ad. I am pretty sure it was kind of like their ads today. I am sure Bill Gates was trying to convince me that Microsoft was catchy, young, and inspirational. I am sure the ad was trying to convince me that Microsoft was just as good as Apple but with greater market share. I do remember that the bottom of the ad had something like this: "We want to thank Bob Beamon for breaking the world long jump record by over a foot in Mexico City." The idea being that Beamon's jump gave them the courage to build better Microsoft products.

I took offense to this last line about Beamon. I wrote in the paper about how Michael Powell had broken Beamon's record by a significant amount. My point being that Microsoft made itself look uniformed and lacking in the research area. My English teacher didn't like my paper much. She thought Beamon's jump held more cultural significance than I was giving it credit for. Beamon shocked the world. He proved that the limitations of humanity were illusions. We could "out-jump "our pre-conceived notions by leaps and bounds.

I didn't understand her in the 11th grade. I don't understand her now. Some of it is age. I am sure if I was alive and alert, Beamon's jump would have meant more to me. But the problem is deeper than age and cultural significance. I hated 11th grade. A large part of that hate was due to too much homework and me being sixteen and me playing football and throwing shot and discus. But part of it was the fact that my English teacher couldn't see that if Bob Beamon didn't speak to me then the ad had failed. She wanted creative arguments. But she wanted reflections of her creativity. She wanted honesty, but she wanted her honesty. To me as an 11th grader, the assignment itself reflected a lack of creativity and a lack of honesty. At heart she wanted her students to see the art as well as the manipulation involved in advertising, but she wasn't going to allow a student to say "it is what it is, and Bob Beamon is not the long jump king anymore" without deducting points. She and I's subjective utility functions were not overlapping, but she "couldn't find it in her heart to get out of my way." (John Hiatt)

The point here is that the biggest mistake a teacher or a leader or a boss can make is to not recognize that people are different. I probably deserved the grade I got on the paper, but it would have meant something to me if my 11th grade English teacher had the courage to say, "You know what; all grades are subjective." She liked some kids more than other kids. I think it would have made me a more balanced and hopeful individual if she had told me and the class this. The best teachers I have ever had told it like it was. None of them were overly concerned about grades. It was more about the ability to think and be happy in your own skin.

We work so hard to create ourselves. We work so hard to create and find a persona. It is easy to see this in celebrities and athletes. But the fact of the matter is that they are just personas. They are just something we create to survive and thrive. We find who we really are when the personas crumble, and we have to be really honest and creative.



Monday, January 04, 2010

Posting Football Thoughts Will Hopefully Help Me Work On More Important Things

1. The Minnesota Vikings are a good football team. They have talent. I feel the same about the Arizona Cardinals. Talent wins football games. I wouldn't bet on either team winning the Super Bowl, but they do have talent. The same can be said about Dallas and San Diego.

2. All I could think about during the Florida-Cincinnati game was "This would have been informative a month ago." But in January, it was a meaningless exhibition and not informative in determining the best college football team.

3. I would like to see a third-party out-of-conference scheduling agent for college football. The Tech-Alabama game was informative. The Ohio State-USC game was informative. Cincinnati-Oregon State, Cincinnati-Fresno State, I don't think told us much. These bowl games (especially if they didn't play them after being off for month) do shed light on strength of conferences and teams. If Alabama blows Texas out, all I will be able to think about is how good is Florida and the winner of the TCU-Boise State game. I know Boise State beat Oregon, but other than that, I just don't know anything about Boise State. I (think I) know more about TCU because they beat Clemson and Virginia, along with BYU and Utah, but it would be nice if Boise State and TCU had to play a few more top-tier BCS teams.

4. The NFL playoffs are great but completely unpredictable.