Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Dan Golden believes that Muhammad should have gone in the middle rounds of the draft, and went undrafted because his father was a vocal supporter of Zacarias Moussaoui. Dan, have you watched the draft? Ever? If Hitler could run a 4.3 and catch a football, he'd get drafted in the 1st round. Here are the facts about drafting running backs.
You want an ideal height ranging from 5'10" to 6'2". Muhammad is 5'7".
You want an ideal speed below a 4.5. Muhammad ran a 4.6.
You want the back to be proven on a top tier team. He played for FCS school Southern Illinois University.
Any one of these things is not good, but not going to kill someone's chances. All together however? No chance. Get over it Dan. All your article is going to do is foment unwarranted resentment towards football from other people like yourself, who clearly have no grasp on the realities of the spot. Go find someone else to defame.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
The school was at Camp Rilea from July 20th to July 25th. Upon arrival, they broke us up into cells, and handed out Shawlar Kamishes aka Mandresses to everyone. They're suprisingly comfortable, even with the annoyingly Jared-like pants.
We went down to the "Mosque" and was introduced to our cadre. The "emir" was a former marine who spends most of his time in Palestine, Afghanistan, and Iraq studying terrorist operations. He has a photographic knowledge of a lot of terrorist attacks, down to the names of the most peripherial entities. The "imam" had a masters in Arab Studies from Georgetown and a Certificate of Advanced Arabic Proficiency from Georgetown. He actually knew more about Islam and Arabic than the Iraqi who was taking the class.
We did the whole nine yards, Islamic prayer at 0515, terrorist operations as a cell, eating hummus. Hummus gives me terrible gas.
I was part of a 13 person cell. This included an E-6, two E-5s, three E-4s, an E-3, and a Captain from the same battalion S-2 shop from Ft. Lewis. There was an American working for an information research company, an Iraqi working for a private security company, a Marine Scout/Sniper, and a platoon leader from Charlie company. And I got selected as the Cadre leader. Dammit. Personality clashes abound.
The E-6 got named ops officer, and decided that she wanted the cell to be run like her battalion, with the S-3 running all the planning, and the leader rubber stamping things. At one point when I came to run my plan by her, she hands me a peice of paper and says "this is what we're doing." What the fuck. I wanted to run it like an infantry squad, seeing as we had 13 people, which is a lot closer to the 9 of a squad than the 400+ of a batallion.
There were some really fun missions. Most involved using sim rounds, which fire colored soap instead of hot lead, which is less dangerous and less painful, but you still know you've been hit. They also used some amped up paintball guns, as the wicked welt on my tricep attests. They also had a familiarization course on the AK-47. The AK is a simpler weapon to break down than my M-4, however, it's got kinda a cheap feel to it, and a block safety and charging lever that make the weapon pretty much designed for left handed firers. It's a real pain to try and use off the bat as a right handed shooter.
Among the guest speakers was former CIA agent, and author of Imperial Hubris and Marching Towards Hell, Michael Scheuer. While there are aspects of his ideas that I agree in, his complete amoralism is terrifying.
Aside from the knowledge I gained from the class, I also got to keep the Shalwar Kamish, a copy of the Quran, and a signed copy of Marching Towards Hell. Awesomesauce. I honestly think that everyone who is going to deploy to the middle east should take this course.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
So here's what we do. We reconsolidate all the conferences into a single uniform model. But as you can see, we have 6 different models, and 120 teams to split up, so how do we do this?
The 8 team model is stable, and capable of having a true round robin be played within, it would require 14 conferences to be established, requiring 3 new conferences to be established. Doable, but a little messy.
The 9 team model still allows for a true round robin, however, it doesn't divide into the 120 teams, requiring either 3 teams to be dropped, or six teams absorbed.
The 10 team model fits nicely into a round robin, and would require 12 conferences, only one more than our current number. As of now, it's the cleanest solution.
The 11 team model doesn't fit into a round robin, and lop sided divisions would make a conference championship a dicey affair. Also, it would require either absorbing a team, or dropping ten teams, if we absorbed a team, it would leave us with an uneven number of conferences, further complicating matters. This goes to show that the Big Ten can screw up more than just National Championship games.
The 12 team model fits the conference championship game model well, and would require 10 conferences, only requiring us to dissolve one conference (Sun Belt, I'm looking at you...). It's another clean solution.
The MAC's 13 team model? All I can say about that is that they were almost certainly high on something when they cooked that one up.
This analysis narrows the choices down to either the 10 team round robin, or the 12 team conference championship method.
The conference championship games were established as a method for a conference to rake in more money by staging an extra game, resulting in millions of dollars in profits from tickets, merchandising, and TV rights. The downside is that by partitioning the conferences, you limit the number of in conference games that matter, and given the fluctuations of teams from year to year, one division might become significantly more difficult than another, as seen in the Big XII, where Oklahoma or Texas regularly crush whatever team meekly emerges from the Northern Division.
By the flip side, by narrowing the determine factor for the Championship to one game, you see some extreme fluctuations. The phrase "Any Given Sunday..." applied to the NFL, but here, it's "Any Given Saturday...". Over the course of multiple games, the best team will typically emerge by ironing out the statistical fluctuations. During one game, if the better team is caught on a bad day, essentially the rest of the season is immaterial. It's happened on multiple occasions in the SEC, Big XII, and ACC. This cannot be said of a round robin.
By playing a nine game round robin, a team can have a bad game and still prove themselves the superior team in the end. Nor can a weak team overachieve and embarrass their conference later on. The truth will out in the other eight games.
This is why the conferences will be overhauled as 12 10 team conferences, to ensure that the best teams make it to the playoff system that is our eventual goal.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Will Smith stars as the titular character, a drunken, irascible man who happens to have phenomenal superpowers. He's essentially superbum. The first glimpse the audience gets of him is passed out drunk on a public bench, clutching a six pack of Gentleman John's Bourbon. Doubles too, not mere fifths. He can fly at supersonic speed, has super strength, and is nigh indestructible. However, as Spider Man often says, "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility." Hancock is a drunk, and as such not very responsible. His first on screen attempt of breaking off a high speed shootout on the freeway results in over $9 million in damages to public property. This does not endear him with the Los Angeles public, and as they vent their frustrations upon him, he responds in kind. However, at the heart of his issues is the loneliness felt as a man who has no equals.
Ray Embrey, played by Jason Bateman, is an eternally optimistic and idealistic PR man. His goal is to make a charity brand, called All-Heart, that would inspire companies to donate their products to the needy for free. This does not go over well. On his way home, he finds his vehicle deadlocked in traffic, and on the train tracks, in the path of the train. As he struggles to free himself, Hancock arrives, flips his car out of harms way, and in the process, derails the train. Once again everyone who witnessed the accident berates Hancock for not simply flying the car away. Only Embrey expresses any gratitude for Hancock's action, inviting him into his house to join his family for their traditional spaghetti dinner.
Embrey's wife, Mary, is not pleased. Portrayed by Charlize Theron, Mary treats Hancock with suspicion and no small amount of curtness, rushing him out of the house as soon as the meal is ended. As Hancock leaves, Ray hands him his business card, offering to put his PR power behind Hancock in an effort to turn Hancock's image with the public around.
Hancock spends a night thinking it over, and decides to take Ray up on his offer. However, the LA DA has issued a warrant for Hancock's arrest, stemming from the massive amount of damage he has inflicted on the city. Ray sees this as a great opportunity to turn Hancock's image around. He convinces Hancock to surrender himself for incarceration, where he undergoes rehab and anger management sessions. As the crime rate skyrockets in Hancock's absence, Ray makes plans to overhaul Hancock's image, and Hancock waits in prison for a situation that requires his abilities...
Hancock is 92 minutes long. It debuted to mixed reviews, garnering a 90 from the New Yorker and an 88 from the Philadelphia Inquirer, but a 30 from Newsweek and a flat out 0 from the Wall Street Journal. Metacritic settled the film at a 49. It starts out as a snarky deconstruction of the superhero genre, and succeeds in that aspect. There's a twist that leads the film down a more serious road. The humor's still there in the second half, but it's more situational, such as when Hancock disarms a gunman using a candy bar. The special effects have a little trouble melding with the film, leading to some breaks with the immersion. The acting is solid, and the score, by John Powell, is well suited to the film.
Hancock strives to be a "superhero in real life" type of story, in the vein of Heroes. However, the film still makes some concessions to the fantasy world. Hancock, despite his super strength which allows him to toss a humpback whale a mile away, refrains from simply dismembering people he fights in hand to hand combat, even in life and death circumstances. A stigma Jessica from Heroes, does not suffer from.
In the end, Hancock is a decent film. It's no Citizen Kane, it's probably not even Superman Returns, but it's worth watching if you have some time on your hands. I'd give it a 6/10.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
I'd like to know your take on hunting.
Is it a perfectly legit sport? Do you think it's all right so long as the animals killed are eaten? Or do you think it's just completely wrong?
What about the hunting of nearly extinct animals to make ends meat (no pun intended)? Pandas, Elephants, Tigers and the like are slaughtered for various reasons in some regions of the world, often due to extreme poverty.
I consider myself a conservationist, of the Theodore Roosevelt variety. I am not a preservationist, there is a difference. I enjoy the outdoors. While I don't hunt very often, I understand the place it has in our society.
Hunting is a culture, and at times a necessity. It is a legitimate sport, as it requires skill, physical ability, and discipline. People hunt for food, for profit, or for trophies. All three are valid reasons. However, I feel it must be a fair and sporting event. I detest canned hunts. Go and track, stalk, and take down the animal yourself, don't have someone tie the creature down so you can pull the trigger.
As a conservationist, I understand that rules must be in place and enforced to regulate the use of the land, lest jackasses screw it up for the rest of us. For the most part, hunters have been at the forefront of conservation efforts. Hunters founded conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited and the Safari Club International, they also pushed for congress to pass the Wildlife Restoration Act and the Federal Duck Stamp Program.
As for the hunting of Endangered Big Game, I believe that the populations should be closely monitored, and only a certain number be allowed to be hunted each season based on the recent population estimates. Each kill must be reported to ensure accuracy in the next estimate, and people who poach, should be punished severely. Poaching is essentially stealing from the next generation of hunters, and you know my stance on that.
I rode out towards Poulsbo with my best friend, Jeff, and my best friend's brother, Dave. We stopped at an Indian Fireworks booth, and picked up $100 worth of fireworks. 5 packs of sparklers, 2 packs of roman candles, and a mortar with 10 shells. Once those were secured, we stopped by the casino, and played craps. I brought in $40 and left with $55, Jeff came in with $200 and left with $365. The gambling gods were kind to us.
Back at Jeff's place, we played some GTA IV, and killed some time before the girls showed up. The girls promptly decided to try and make things awkward by going and picking up my younger sister. Not going to spoil my fun. I promptly made myself a drink, comprised of 2 oz Malibu Rum, 2 ounces Grenadine, 2 ounces Blue Curacao, filled with club soda. I stirred it, flamed an orange peel, an threw an orange twist in as garnish. Tasted like grape Kool-aid. The orange I bought from Safeway was too dry, so the citrus oil didn't come through like I wanted.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
These are the problems we face in college football.
- Lack of strong central authority.
- Holding too closely to the idealistic view of amateur sports.
- Lack of standardized conferences.
- Too much outside influence from the Polls.
- The apartheid between BCS conferences, and the Mid Major Majority.
- Lack of standardized scheduling
- Funding disparities.
These are the fundamental problems that college football, and indeed most intercollegiate sports, have built themselves upon. That said, college sports are not completely without merit. There are certain things that can, and should be preserved.
- The concept of the student athlete
- The Bowl Games
Those five items are what separates intercollegiate sports from the professional ranks. They are what we need to keep in order to keep the identity of college football intact. Everything else needs to get stripped away, and replaced with a more competitive model.
In several future posts, I will go into great detail over how each step should be handled. This will be a dramatic overhaul, drawing ideas from the NFL, the NCAA, the BCS, the English Football League, and others. There is no way in hell everyone would agree to implement my system, at least not immediately, but I'm here to give you a taste of what football would be like, in a perfect world.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Como mencionei em um post anterior, estou viciados para o sol. Tanto é assim, na realidade, que estou escrevendo esta mensagem ao ar livre, ao mesmo tempo agarrada a uma ténue melhor peça de rede sem fio de outra pessoa. Vamos ver se eu conseguir ter o posto máximo.
É incrível como o sol se sente muito diferentes em diferentes áreas. Parte do que é o clima envolvente. No Sul, é um "grosso" sol. É quente, e úmido, e se sente como você pode puxar a luz do sol direita para fora do céu. No Novo México, foi uma dura muito sol. Foi o sol do Velho Testamento Deus, distante, poderoso, e implacáveis. Aqui, em Washington, como eu escrevo isto, estou experimentando um sol muito fraco. Trata-se sentir mal. Mesmo decepcionantes.
Como o sol é onde você está?