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.