Friday, August 14, 2009

Lock up your dogs.

"We put a tremendous emphasis on character. There are many times (when) we will pass a player in the draft room that is a terrific physical talent. Character is so important that I really attribute it to when you are suffering in the middle of the season - very few teams have 15-1 seasons or 16-0 seasons - you are going to have periods where you're down. Your momentum is down, whether it's the offense, it might be the defense, it might be overall. It's character players that bring you out of that lull. Last year was the greatest example of all. I think it does translate to success. It's worked for us. I know we've had the best record in the NFC this decade and I really attribute it to having a very high character group of players."
- Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, August 6, 2009
OK then. It seems that Jeffrey's idea of character is limited to their attitude on the football field. For the fans, obviously it extends to their homes, private lives and various dog fighting operations they are running.
For those of you who have been in a cave over the past 24 hours, the Eagles signed convicted dog killer Michael Vick to a 2-year contract on Thursday. To say the least, it's been a fascinating time to be a sports fan in Philadelphia.
The natives are outraged. "I'll never root for the Eagles again," they say, or something similar. We'll see what happens come September 13 and they line up for real.
It's a polarizing decision, to say the least. The PETA people are pissed. I think that's what the P stands for. I wonder, if Vick was a construction worker and tried to come back to work and was hired by a contractor, would PETA picket his office? I don't think so. What makes athletes different than the general public? It must be the money.
He seems contrite, but contrition often comes with a jail sentence. Rotten behavior continues until they are caught, then they realize that they've committed some anti-social behavior and they suddenly become apologetic:
"I made poor decisions in my life and I had to reach a turning point and prison definitely did it for me. It was totally unnecessary and uncalled for."
He financially supported and contributed to a dog fighting operation for 6 years, and now suddenly he regrets it. Something tells me he'd still be doing it if he hadn't been apprehended. That's the way it goes with things like that. Their behavior continues for years until they're caught, then suddenly they realize the problem. I'm not convinced.
Stuff like that is in his pores. It's part of his soul as a human. It isn't like a one-time issue where maybe he lost his temper and hit someone. This is a repeated immoral activity. I don't think 2 years in prison can change a lifetime of bad thinking.
Fortunately for me, I don't take sports as seriously as some people. The vocal lot that chimed in today in outrage of the signing are the people who think that their sports franchise is a reflection of their personality. To me, it's entertainment - like going to a movie.
But even at the movies, I can't root for the villian.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sports of all sorts.

Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino is under the gun after admitting to some sexual tryst with a harlot six years ago, then loaning her money for health care. I'm not concerned at all with the sex act or its implications. What I am concerned with is the level to which we as a society elevate these alleged misdeeds.
Every five minutes we hear or see an ad for something designed to give you an erection, make your erection last longer or enhance the size of your penis. Included in the ads are words that most adults wouldn't use around their school-aged kids, but there they are, blasted over the radio and TV.
Then, we are supposed to be incensed over a guy going out and "getting some." Whether he is married or not is his issue. The bigger issue is the way we promote sex and then act as disciplinarians when somebody takes advantage of what we've taught them and say that it's wrong to use that apparatus for what the drug companies tell us it's for.
It either is or it isn't - let's make up our minds.
An alleged fan in the Chicago Cubs bleachers dumped 16 ounces of warm pilsner beer on Shane Victorino last night when he was scrambling under a fly ball. Once again, we are held hostage by our promotional behaviors. Beer is sold at sporting events and even promoted with commercials, billboards and announcements proclaiming "Please Drink Responsibly." Sure.
The people who sell alcohol know what it does to our senses. In fact, the first thing to go when we're drinking is our judgment, hence the phrase "Beer Goggles." When a fan dumps a beer on a player during a game we're supposed to be outraged.
Charges have been filed against the fan for simple assault.
That's nice. Maybe Budweiser should be included in the lawsuit, since they haven't promoted the responsible part of drinking enough. I suppose if the guy was really drunk he would have missed Shane altogether.
Actually, it's nice when junk like that happens someplace besides Philadelphia.

The truth comes out - eventually.

A couple of days ago, I questioned the claims of General Motors over their 230 miles-per-gallon Volt vehicle, which runs on a battery and gasoline.
As often happens, once something is exposed to light, the blemishes are exposed, and the people who make the claims are forced to admit to the actual facts, which is something that marketing people abhor.

The Volt is one of several so-called Extended-Range Electric Vehicles, or EREVs, in development. An EREV functions as an electric car until its batteries are depleted to a certain level; then it starts a small gasoline engine. That engine, however, doesn't drive the wheels - it merely acts as a generator to recharge the batteries. The Volt, GM says, can travel about 40 miles at any speed before its onboard generator kicks in. That number is significant, because Department of Transportation figures show that most Americans drive less than 40 miles per day. For most of us, owning a Chevy Volt could mean rarely ever using gasoline. That possibility, however, makes measuring the car's predicted fuel economy a tricky process.

So what kind of mileage can a Volt driver actually expect?

That depends entirely on how much they drive. GM claims the Volt has a 300-mile range after the gasoline engine ignites, but the company hasn't released what the size of the Volt's gas tank will be. Engineers have said it could be as small as 8.5 gallons - and 300 miles on 8.5 gallons means the car might be no more efficient than 35 mpg. Your mileage, then, will vary greatly based on how far you drive. For 40 miles, the Volt uses no gas. After that, it's probably going to net about 35 mpg. So if you commute 40 miles or less per day, you could expect an infinite number of miles per gallon. For every mile you drive over 40, the number drops precipitously, stabilizing at around 35 mpg as the needle drifts toward empty.

That's some complicated math, but I think if you factor-in the electricity usage and its accompanying bill, your mileage may vary - significantly. I'm guessing that Volt owners will be disappointed to find that they're not getting much better mileage than their neighbors' Ford Focus on their commute to work, and the added boost to their electric bill will make them even more angry.
That's just what the auto makers need - more angry consumers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eight tenth's equals a third and three quarters.

I'm strange. I know it. Otherwise, I would have named the blog something besides My Sick Mind.
The Eagles are playing their first pre-season football game on Thursday night. The coach is telling people that the starters will be playing "a quarter and a half." That's football math. It won't fly in your kids' grammar school math class, but it works in the multi-billion dollar world of the National Football League. Tell that to a kid who complains that he'll "never use this math they're teaching us." Hard to argue.
Stuff like that makes me chuckle. To me, a quarter and a half is three-quarters, but then, I'm not a football coach. To a football coach, a quarter and a half is three-eighths (or a quarter and half of the next quarter) but if he told his players they were going to play three-eighths of the game, they'd probably be up all night doing the math. Some of them attended college.
Call a kid in grammar school.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What kind of MPK does your car get?

I love gadgets. I'm a gadget guy. Most of my gadgets wind up on Ebay, so I'm now being very careful with the gadgets I decide to buy. I've resisted the PSP and the Kindle - so far.

Lately though, I've noticed that gadget just wind up costing you more money. Like that Kindle gadget. It's nice. Now they have a DX model or something, with a 9-inch screen. Once you buy the Kindle (for a cool $500) you need to buy the books (duh) for ten bucks and/or (slash) a newspaper subscription for six bucks a month. Currently, I'm wondering if the 500 bucks is a small enough investment to justify not having the newspaper delivered. I'm guessing not, so I'll keep getting my paper newspaper and throwing it in the recycle bin - for now at least.

The latest gadget looks like a good idea, but I have a question:
WARREN, Michigan – General Motors Corp. said Tuesday its Chevrolet Volt rechargeable electric car should get 230 miles per gallon (98 kilometers per liter) of gasoline in city driving, more than four times the current champion, the Toyota Prius.
The Volt is powered by an electric motor and a battery pack with a 40-mile (65-kilometer) range. After that, a small internal combustion engine kicks in to generate electricity for a total range of 300 miles (480 kilometers). The battery pack can be recharged from a standard home outlet.

An electric car. Screw the oil companies, right? Maybe. Amidst all the hyperbole, nobody is saying what it will cost to re-charge the battery. Electricity isn't cheap, and it isn't getting any cheaper. We're constantly hearing about "energy vampires" in our home that continue to use power even when they're off: TVs, DVD players, cell phone chargers, computers, microwaves -- virtually everything in your home that's plugged in and has a clock or some reserve power supply uses electricity to keep it active while you're at work.
My question: What is it going to cost to re-charge the battery? It has to take a Hell of a lot more power to charge an automobile battery - especially one that runs an engine - than it does to charge a tiny cell phone or iPod.

Although General Motors would not give details on pricing, the first-generation Volt is expected to cost near $40,000, making it cost-prohibitive to many people even if gasoline returns to $4 per gallon.
The price is expected to drop with future generations of the Volt, but GM has said government tax credits of up to $7,500 and the savings on fuel could make it cost-effective, especially at 230 miles per gallon.

Sure, there's that 230 miles per gallon thing again.
They don't give details on what it will cost to fuel it from your home power outlet, and something tells me that might negate some of the luster from the alleged 230 miles per gallon, and might cause consumers to pose a new question:
What's the miles per kilowatt?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fat is as fat does.

This ridiculous "news" story appeared on Yahoo this afternoon:
Trainers can try to understand their obese clients or they can take it a step further like 32-year-old Aussie trainer and underwear model, Paul James. In an attempt to empathize and eventually inspire his chunky clients toward a slimmer future, James is on his way to packing on 85 pounds to reach a 265-pound target weight by the end of March.
He'll then gym-fight his way back down to his 180-pound starting weight. At least he's hoping he will. James has bulged his belly with deep-fried chocolate bars and creamy pastas, catapulting him into his fat-pants-of-choice - second-hand track pants. With the extra flab, his blood pressure has risen a bit, he's sluggish and finding it difficult to motivate.
First, gaining weight intentionally will do nothing to help him understand his clients. People gain weight over years, not months or weeks. Gorging yourself on food so you can train it off isn't a method. It's a science experiment.
To really understand his clients, he should have spent 20 years gaining 3 pounds a year until he went from 180 to 240 and found that those T-shirts he wore in college are now being used to wax the car. That's how it happens, unless you obsess over your weight and go into mild panic shocks every time you see an extra 3 pounds you weren't counting on.
"Underwear model" should tell you everything you need to know about the kind of person Paul James is.
Another thing he's missing is the fact that he's already a trainer and has experience exercising and controlling his weight. He isn't apt to pound down a bag of Doritos once he's up to his obese target weight. He'll find his motivation because he never lost it.
People who are overweight are that way for a reason. They think that mall-walking is exercise and consider a meal at Saladworks a diet plate. It's simple logic, and "understanding" his fat clients doesn't take as much effort as he's putting in.
The worst thing he'll tell his clients after he loses his artificially gained weight is how much work he did and how dedicated he was to losing it. It's nonsense, since the people he's talking to don't understand the trainer.
And that's the bigger problem.