NFL hypocritical? Who cares.

At the bottom of a column on the NFL by CBS Sportsline's Pete Prisco, Pete asks if the NFL is being hypocritical by playing a game in Mexico City when they will not even take advertising from the Las Vegas tourism board?

Mexico City "actually runs a lottery game where picking the winners of each week's NFL games... pays a big prize." And that is on top of legalized gambling parlors.

I suppose the difference for the NFL is image. Did you know Mexico City runs an NFL based lottery? Did you know Las Vegas has NFL bookies? I guess in the end it makes sense, but I feel a little sorry for Las Vegas. Give them some love, will ya?

OK, enough NFL bashing. I mean, really. This is the best chink in the armor of the best run professional sports league in the history of sentient life in this universe? Back to the regularly scheduled love-fest.

I must be old if I'm worrying about retirment

I must admit that I have always been a bit uneasy about the stock market as everyone's only source of retirement. I've noticed before that Mark Cuban seems to share some of my unease but his most recent post does a better job then I have even been able to of describing why the stock market is usually not an investment.

Whats an investor?

Mark Cuban makes a distinction between investments and speculations that I really like. I guess the next thing us just-starting-to-worry-about-retirement gen-x-ers need to figure out is what to do with that information? Mutual funds are so easy and actual investing seems so hard.

An Open Letter to Michael's Parents

I appologize for using an interpretor, but I can not yet type. My darn fingers are just now learning to obey simple commands. As a result I will trust that my father is interpreting my comments, cries, and meaningful looks corrently as I can not yet read.

Dear Parents:

Why do you insist on periodically interupting my bottles and beating me on the back? Do they do this when you go out to resturaunts? I haven't seen it anywhere I've gone. Does it sound like something that would aid your digestion?

And who do you know takes 3 naps a day? You can stop periodically putting me in my crib, thinking I'll nap. I will continue to scream. And for the record: rubbing my eyes and being crabby are not expressions of being tired. If I'm tired I'll tell you.

Otherwise, thanks for a great first 6 months. Love the Jumperoo. Toys are cool, but whatever happened to that tissue box I was playing with? The dog is pretty cool too. Food is neat, but why do I get this mushed up stuff in jars? Your food is so much cooler looking.

Keep up the good work.

Love,


Michael

PS. I'm not a baby, I'm just small.

Science and Religion

A trial began today in a Delaware court that will decide if "intelligent design" (ID) is a scientific theory or a religious dogma and thus whether it can be taught in the American public school system.

New Scientist article (Sep. 23)

ID is obviously is nothing more then creationism re-cast in an effort to get it into schools and it will likely and correctly be held out of the Dover Area School District.

Good, simple critique by a Brown University Professor of Biology

What is really sad is that this argument need not even be taking place. ID and creationism strike me as nothing more then jealousy based on misunderstandings or narrow-mindedness or both. Some with a religious bent incorrectly believe that science and religion are mutually exclusive and jealously view science as winning.

No less of a scientist then Stephen Hawkin concluded at the end of his best-selling Brief History of Time that his studies and research do nothing but further convince him of God's existence. While Brother Guy Consolmagno, the Vatican's own Astronomer (no, really) said in a recent interview (when asked about ID) that "I believe in science because of my faith in God." (He actually said more then that and it is worth a read.)

Seriously, nothing in creationism proves that God does or does not exist. The tricky thing about God is that God can't be proven for. To paraphrase, through my own prism, Brother Consolmagno: God is an assumption (like Quantum theory) that you either start with or you don't. But that assumption does not change the behaviors of the world around us. The only thing ID supporters can really hope to achieve is to stunt our understanding of God's creation.

Where's the line between right, wrong, and private schooling?

Thanks to my loyal-est reader for this tip:

"School expels girl for having gay parents" -- (AP)

On its face, this headline screams out an obviously outragious action that will likely soon be corrected and might not really merit much attention. However, this is not a public school. Its a private school. An Ontario Christian School, whose policies apparently state that that at least one parent may not engage in practices "immoral or inconsistent with a positive Christian life style, such as cohabitating without marriage or in a homosexual relationship" according to an LA Times article.

First of all, if these "Christians" think that it is Jesus' wish that they expell students from their ministry/education because of what they believe is a moral transgression then they need to re-read their gospels with an eye toward the message rather then simply seeking out-of-context justifications for their own witch-hunts.

In, however, the likely event that they do not realize how wrong they are don't they have the right to their own beliefs in this private setting? Should this child simply go to a public school or a different private school?

But what are the public schools like in that area? I certainly do not know. However, this country is full of areas where public schools are failing and private schools are a child's best shot at a good education. What if this school is the only decent education in the area? Are the best interests of the country served by allowing the best schools restrict access based on moral philosphy?

No, it is not.

Recordings Of Katrina Prep

Heard this on NPR this morning... (C-SPAN and NPR plugs in the same week? Good thing I'm already married.)

Someone recorded the conference calls that occurred before and after Katrina hit between local, state, and federal political leaders and government officials and now NPR has the tapes.

NPR Story with Audio Clips

This will be a gold mine for after action analysis and the clips I heard lead you to believe that FEMA is going to get hammered.

What will we be saying about this when our next presidential election rolls around? 9/11 was a pivotal moment for presidential politics last time around, will Katrina be a pivot for this cycle? I think it will be and I think it will damage anyone with ties to the administration. Somewhere, McCain's political imp is smiling.

Odin's Ravens

The verdict is in. I like this game. I remember liking it when I first played it a couple of years ago. I now have my own copy have played it a bunch lately and confirmed my recollections.

Description and review from the Games Journal

Essentially a two-player, race game the auxiliary hand and magic way give you two other ways to use your cards every turn other then the obvious. This makes for some interesting strategy and competitive play.

What happened to advice and consent?

(Geek Warning) So I heard something interesting on C-SPAN radio over the weekend... no, really. It was an old (1992) interview with Senator Paul Simon about a (then) recent book of his -- Advice and Consent: Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork and the Intriguing History of the Supreme Court's Nomination Battles.

Transcript of the interview.

Two interesting bits: "We have through our history rejected one out of five Supreme Court nominees -- one out of four in the last century."

"You don't have to be a lawyer to be on the court, but there has never been anyone that's not been a lawyer... Justice [Hugo] Black said that we ought to have at least one non-lawyer on the court."

I'm not sure there is a point here... just some food for thought.

Global warming should bubble technocrats to the surface

Perhaps we should not wait any longer to pay attention to the growing body of research linking rising sea temperatures with an increase in hurricanes and cyclones.

Warming world blamed for more strong hurricanes (New Scientist)

True, our first concern should be the rebuilding of lives in the wake of a tragedy. But if we wait until jazz funerals for known individuals replace mass funerals for unidentified bodies, we might not take this as seriously.

But the larger point is that experts seem rare at the top levels of our government and that trend is not new. Robert X. Cringely, whose 'blog' is linked in my list of must reads to your left, recently wrote about the dangers of disaster preparedness as a game of playing the odds managed by people who do not have expertise or seemingly even the interest in those odds.

Risky Business (I, Cringely)

In my mind this is partially due to political appointees with suspect credentials leading our institutions of government. Twenty years ago we laughed at the USSR for this behavior. Perhaps our next political revolution should be to replace idealogues in the executive branch with technocrats who might look at data to anticipate and solve problems better suited to a federal government then a religiuos conclave.

iSold It boycott

Really, it should be illegal to put flyers on cars. I don't mean to limit freedom of speech, but there are not a lot of garbage cans in parking lots around me so I am forced to litter the street or my car's floor mats.

That is all bad enough but yesterday I encountered a new low in pamphletering. The local 'iSold It' (an eBay drop-off store) celebrated its grand opening by actually walking into my neighborhood and stuffing flyers under the whippers of cars parked in front of their owners' townhouses.

Are you kidding me? Admitedly these flyers were easier to throw out, but for an evening my neighborhood looked like a parking lot because every car was decorated by a neon colored flyer.

Never will I step into an iSold It and I call on you, my loyal readers, to join my boycott.

Porch Readers Unite! Down with invasive marketing! Down with big corporate eBay sellers! Support your local eBayer!

Why atheletes are right and actors are left

Many of you probably know already that former Steeler receiver Lynn Swann is running for Governor of Pennsylvania as a Republican. Atheletes getting into politics is not news, but this does reinforce the modern trend of althelete-Republicans including former Reps. Steve Largent and J.C. Watts and campaigner Tom Brady.

Why are they all Republicans? Admitedly they aren't ALL Republicans but that seems to be the majority athelete view. And on the flip side why is Hollywood entirely Democratic (ok, ok they aren't ALL Dems either).

Why? Because atheletes live in a near idealized merit-based system where the only things holding down their income potential are their own skills, work-ethic, and arbitrary rulings by the league. While actors live in a largely chance-based world where who you know and the happenstance of you sharing a chiropractor with the producer of Lost (true story) gets you a job. Talent need not factor in. (see Keanu Reeves).

Like we all do, actors and atheletes apply their learned world-view to politics. Atheletes look at well-fare recipients and ask why they don't work harder, maybe run after pratice more. Actors figure they didn't know the right producer, just haven't gotten their lucky break yet.

Actors look at world politics and want to know why we think we're right all the time. They spend their lives trying to portray different people and viewpoints as believable. Why is Bush's answer to put these people on the rocky end of Cuba and misplace the key? Atheletes understand intuitively that if someone does not get with the game plan they are a detriment to the team and sometimes a danger to others, namely quarterbacks.

Before all their success those same actors slept on friends' floors and ate on below-the-poverty-line jobs like waiting tables at noon on Wednesdays and realize that without 2-3 years of being held up by others they would never have survived long enough to get their big break. Maybe government should do the same for other homeless and jobless and under-employed.

Post success atheletes realize that the main reason they can't make $50 million per season instead of $10 million (OK, baseball excluded). Is that the league has these arbitrary rules about salary caps, and luxury taxes, and limited player movement. And that's really no different then the government taking out 40% so they can waste it on someone else who isn't working hard enough.

In the end maybe they could learn something from each other. Maybe our atheletes would be better people if they struggled a little more in life and maybe our actors would sound less like lonetics if they didn't try to empathize with absolutely everyone.

Maybe the rest of us should take a second to figure out which calidescope lens we look at the world through.

2 Teams, 1 Owner

Obscure topic for my first real post -- In Formula 1 news, Red Bull Racing (an existing team) has purchased Minardi (another existing team) and will essentially field two teams next year. The second team being positioned as a junior team.

Details of the purchase

Why do I find this odd?. Admittedly, the 'team' concept in auto racing is a bit different then any other team sport I'm familiar with. Each team in F1 already fields 2 seperate cars who end competing with each other as much (at least theoretically) as the other teams. But now Red Bull will essentially have 4 cars on every grid and two sets of pits and 2 votes when it comes to making governance decisions.

Perhaps the Pittsburgh Steelers should look into purchasing the Washington Redskins and position them as a junior team creating synergies in player development and branding. Certainly would create more stability in Washington.

Welcome to me

So. Blogs. Seems a lot like 10 years ago when I was posting rants on the asshole theory, cloning, and the american education system and collecting the rare response from friends. Ah, if only....

Well, this will be much easier technically, but just as hard topically. Hopefully, I've become more verbous in my old age.

Thanks to all in advance.