Monday, December 31

Have you grown weary...

 of my Patriots coverage? A couple more notes:

+ Peter King's whole MMQB is full of love notes to them. Stand out stat: the number of cold weather games Brady played in his record-setting season ( this page). If he played in warm weather, or a dome, like the guys he finally surpassed, like Manning and Marino and Cunningham (Vikings 98) and Warner, he would have kept up the crazy pace he was on earlier in the season. He would have obliterated all the records it took him until Saturday night to break.

+ Brian Billick is gone from Baltimore, the architect of the high-flying 98 Vikings. Yet he never had a decent offensive year in Baltimore, winning the Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer. Two conclusions: 1. He never had comparable personnel. 2. Maybe he wasn't that awesome to begin with...

+ The resurgence of the Redskins with career backup Todd Collins is crazy (like every commentator has said).

+ Don Banks has an interesting article on the remaining teams' momentum.

+ This is what I'm talking about (ibid, but second page):

New England this season was 7-0 against teams that wound up with a winning record, with six of those teams being 10-6 or better (Chargers, Colts, Cowboys, Steelers, Browns and Giants). By comparison, the 1972 Dolphins were just 2-0 against winning teams. ...

And the Patriots have now won an NFL record 19 regular-season games in a row, topping their own mark of 18 set in 2003-2004. That means that in the span of the past five regular seasons, New England has had two separate 18-game winning streaks. The Patriots are a combined 66-14 in those five regular seasons of 2003-2007.

The Patriots are already the best franchise in the history of the NFL over a five-year period, given the competition. In the free agency era. They bury the 72 Dolphins in this respect. What remains to be seen is if they can also cap it by winning through the arbitrary championship system we have set up.

+ Kurt Warner has a good season. And he probably did enjoy beating Marc Bulger yesterday. But Bulger has certainly been more consistent than Warner since replacing him. Pretty hard to fault the Rams for not sticking with Warner. How'd he get the job anyway? Took over from injured Trent Green. I like Kurt, but he hasn't been mistreated.

+ 34.5 million people watched the Saturday night game, 'the largest audience for an NFL non-playoff game in more than 12 years'. ( source) Kudos to the NFL for putting it out there for us to watch.

Okay, that's enough for now (maybe the whole week), don't you think? ;-)

Okay, this is my first... [updated]

Okay, this is my first try at using jott for blogger for my web blog and jott you know transcribing service from voice to text, so we will see how they do. All that to say I am calling because I was in home depot and you too has had I still haven't found what I am looking for was on the radio and that [...] was pretty funny. listen

Powered by Jott

Update: Not bad, but not great, as you can tell by comparing the recording with the transcription. I liked the old audioblogger better for this kind of service. Anyway, no sweat, since I don't really plan on using Jott this way. I mostly use it to send myself email reminders via phone, and it works great for that.

And, by the way, the funny part above was hearing U2's 'I still haven't found what I'm looking for' at Home Depot ;-)

A couple more (very deep) thoughts about the Pats

+ More irony: the team that Commissioner Goodell hammered for video taping the opposing team's signals has garnered unprecedented ratings and buzz for the league.

+ Something else about the Patriots' season: they've been blissfully injury-free.

+ This paragraph (source) amplifies my comparison from yesterday:
The Patriots' feat is more impressive because in the days of the '72 Dolphins, there was no ritualistic free agent raiding of a Super Bowl caliber roster. There was no NFL scheduling format in place that assured tougher schedules for the previous season's biggest winners. And there was no salary cap to squeeze most teams toward the competitive middle of the league.

Sunday, December 30

They did it!

The Patriots went 16-0. But that was a close one. They're beatable. It's just that nobody's done it yet.

(BTW, the Vikings really stunk last week. Good thing I'm a bandwagon Patriots fan.)

Must address Cris Collingsworth's opinion last night that 16-0 isn't in the same league as the '72 Dolphins if the Patriots don't win it all. I heartily disagree. We all know the competition back then wasn't as stiff. 16 games are quite a bit harder than 14. Plus, the much closer media scrutiny (24-7 sports coverage across all media) makes it harder.

We've all agreed on how championships are decided in the NFL. It's not best of 7 or something like that. It's whoever's the best that day. But not all championships are created equal. (And don't get me started on all of the Packers' 'world championships' before the merger of the AFL and the NFL.)

(I did fell they got jobbed on that excessive celebration penalty that led to the runback for a touchdown, but since they won, I can let it go.)

Hand it to Manning. He did real well against a tough Patriots D. The Giants did a good job.

That said, I look for a major letdown for them this week, emotionally and physically when they play TB. The Bucs will win. The Giants played really hard against the Patriots. And it will come back to bite them in their playoff run.

(Of course, I could be wrong and Eli could be right.)

Nice article on the Brady-Moss records . I like Jim Litke's writing.

Heck, even the mention of beating the Vikings' 1998 single season scoring record brings back painful memories of the losing the NFC Championship Game to the Giants.

But maybe it was for the best: I doubt the Vikes could have beaten Denver in the Super Bowl, and then we'd be all alone at 0-5 in Super Bowls.

A big, public thanks to Christine for watching the game with me. That's love.

Wednesday, December 26

Brain waterboarding

+ Nice guide to a healthy brain (I think I got this from Guam Brad). Goes beyond crossword puzzles and sudoku (Blast! Thought I had it covered!) to knowing your brain, nutrition and exercise, optimism, challenging yourself (with new stuff), thinking for yourself, socializing and laughing.

+ Guy tries waterboarding himself and finds it horrifying (via).

Mo Merry Christmas

+ Here's a link to our favorite Christmas song, Come On! Let's Boogey To The Elf Dance!

(fyi: when it's me, i spell it 'boogie' ;-)

+ And, just in case you haven't had a chance to hear this classic yet this Christmas season, a link to Adam Sandler's Chanukah Song.

(My) More Merry Christmas

First of all, just a reminder that, according to the traditional church calendar, we have moved from Advent to Christmastide. So feel free to celebrate Christmas for another 11 days!

Also, I got an Amazon gift card that I'm excited about. I'm looking forward to buying some of their DRM-free singles.

Peace!

Tuesday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

For my part, I'm listening to 'The Blues Brothers' Soundtrack, which I got today. How's that for Christmas cheer? (Belushi and Aykroyd were geniuses back then!)

We had a pretty nice day. Hope you did.

Saturday, December 22

Christmas post

Shane tagged me with this Christmas post. And away we go:

1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share Christmas facts about yourself.
3. Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Welcome to the Christmas edition of "Getting to Know Your Friends."

1. Wrapping or gift bags?

+ gift bags. i hate wrapping and am SO lazy

2. Real or artificial tree?

+ artificial, quasi-prelit (but only if Christine puts it up. if not, no tree).

3. When do you put up the tree?

+ Man, Shane and I are 3 for 3 the same. I don't put it up. When Christine does, it just depends. She likes it earlier...

4. When do you take the tree down?

+ When Christine gets to it. The year she was pregnant with the twins, it literally stayed up until Easter! :-)

5. Do you like egg nog?

+ Sure, but I don't drink it much.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

+ Intellivision!

7. Do you have a nativity scene?

+ Christine says we have 4 if you count Little People and Veggie Tales

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

+ My inlaws like to stuff stockings with practical things like Kleenex, breath mints, etc :-(

9. Mail or email Christmas cards?

+ Neither. If I get out an email with a Christmas picture of us and a 'Merry Christmas', I'm doing well.

10. Favorite Christmas Movie?

+ Easy: A Christmas Story

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

+ As late as possible.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

+ Gramma's Buttermilk Fudge

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?

+ We call them white.

14. Favorite Christmas song(s)?

+ Come on everyone, let's boogie to the elf dance!

15. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

+ 3-year rotation: Iowa with my family, NC with Christine's family, home

16. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

+ Easily

17. Angel on the tree top or a star?

+ Star

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?

+ Extended family Christmas Eve, current immediate family Christmas Day.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

+ Again, very like Shane's, but I'm most annoyed when the people closest to me stress out about Christmas. I assume strangers are going to be yahoos ;-)

20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color?

+ Nope

21. What do you leave for Santa?

+ We don't really do Santa.

22. Least favorite holiday song?

+ Auld Lang Syne.

23. Favorite ornament?

Something with a twin picture in it

24. Family tradition?

+ If Bethy keeps performing in Nutcracker, our early Christmas pretty much gets geared around that.

25. Ever been to Midnight Mass or late-night Christmas Eve services?

+ Yep, lots of times.

I will be passing this "tag" on to the following blogfriends:

Paul
Guam Brad
Jim
Madhu
Detroit Brad
Jaq
Aaron

Wonder if they'll accept it...

Thursday, December 20

Parsing Battlestar Galactica

I've been thinking about the things that bother me about Adama and Roslin and I think I've narrowed it down to what I'm going to call their core values.

Adama's is his ship. Other things can slide. He's especially a poor performer as a father, often. But he will not allow his ship to malfunction. He told Chief Tyrol he'd line up ten Callys and kill them for mutiny if that's what it took. He faced down Starbuck and Tigh when they were sowing dissension.

(I don't think this accounts for his hateful behavior toward Lee in the penultimate episode of season 3, relative to Lee defending Baltar. Unless maybe it's because of how the defense tore apart Tigh.)

Roslin's is the survival of humanity. Now I like many things about Laura. But her willingness to commit crimes against Cylons, even in a time of war - that's a problem. Strangely enough, I'm not really thinking of Season 3, Episode 7 where they have the chance to infect the Cylon race with a deadly virus. My thinking is probably not justified on this, but they attacked first and they won't let up and they are often monstrous.

The main one that occurs to me is switching Sharon's baby for a stillborn one and raising her in secret. That just seems over the line to me.

And I think there are some more for Laura, but I can't think of them right now.

I'm not saying the characters should be portrayed this way. It sure makes for interesting drama.

But I'd say they're in the neighborhood of character flaws or character obsessions. Not to be emulated.

What do you think?

Toshi Hobbit (+1)

+ Deleted scene from Star Wars: A New Hope. Totally rings a bell, even 30 years later, because this section was in the novelization and some of the other literature surrounding the movie. (via)





+ 'The Hobbit' movie emerges, with the LotR team producing (but not directing), along with midquel taking place between The Hobbit and the LotR.

The Dark Knight

Heard the new Batman trailer was awesome...

Whoa.

Still not crazy about Bale's performance as Batman (reminder: loved him as Bruce Wayne).

Ledger looks amazing as the Joker. Seems to touch properly on Nicholson's portrayal (very good for what it was).

Nice new Batcycle. Kept the old Batmobile, which I liked and like the choice; sometimes a little continuity in these superhero movies, even in such small things is nice.

Mild reservations about 'The Dark Knight' not being on a straight-up Frank Miller story, but I can get past that.

Maggie Gyllenhal as Rachel: How will she compare to Katie Holmes (who I think is 100% better looking, acting ability and choice of husband not withstanding ;-)

Might be one of those where we have to attend the premiere.

To burst or not to burst?

Unhappy vacation.

First day of two week vacation (combining company-wide paid holidays with remaining vacation): urgent care. Double ear infection. The PA said 'Your ears both look terrible.' I said 'That's how they feel.' Amoxicilin and Vicodin.

2:06 AM. 2 Vicodin in the last 5 hours. Still can't sleep.

You get to the point where you might welcome the burst eardrum. Is such a thing serious? The PA didn't seem too worried about the possibility, like a puncture was no big deal. Just see a specialist to make sure it heals cleanly.

Upon further review, it's important to keep the ear dry after a ruptured eardrum. Good to know.

I'm really not very good with pain.

Tuesday, December 18

Should a zenpundit provoke?

Mark had some 'aggravating' questions that caught my fancy. Here they are, with my answers:

Would Global Warming attract nearly the same level of interest among environmentalist activists and Hollywood celebrities if the most effective proposed policy solutions had a free market bent ?

+ no

If you were to run a country going to war would you rather be in charge of Iran or the United States? Iran or Israel ? China or Taiwan?

+ US, Israel, China. guess i’m a Machiavellian (like you ;-)

If independents and third party wannabes are correct that the country really needs an effective and competitive major third party, why are they historically unable to propose any set of original programmatic ideas that the Republicans and Democrats cannot steal ?

+ the Repubs and Dems think they are playing to their bases. they aren’t ’smart’ enough to branch out

If the EU has genuinely changed the twenty century-long warlike character of Europeans to apathetic, bureaucratic, declinists why does the idea of Germany with nuclear weapons still give everyone pause ?

+ a nuclear Germany gives me much less pause than nuklear Pakistan

Or for that matter, who’s up for the Japanese Prime Minister announcing a successful test of a hydrogen bomb ? If you’re not but you are also ok on a nuclear Iran, can you give an intellectually credible explanation as to the difference?

+ Germany:Pakistan::Japan:Iran

What government entitlement programs that you personally benefit from should people be prepared to live without ?

+ can’t think of any this minute (though i’m sure there are some ;-). (upon further review: what Dan said. my farming family has long benefited from ag subsidies)

To what degree is opposition to the death penalty rooted in opposition to the concepts of individual accountability and punishment ? To what degree is gun-control a repudiation of the right to self-defense ?

+ not much, i don’t think, in both cases. i don’t think those are the main issues in those issues

If you are pro-Life, why should a woman who happens to be pregnant have to take into account your personal religious beliefs before her baby is born but not afterward when making life-altering medical decisions on behalf of her minor child?

+ wrong question. some things are objective, and preserving life is one of them

If the rich should pay more taxes, who counts as “rich” ? Why is your arbitrary figure plucked out of the air better than mine or anybody else’s ?

+ i am willing to negotiate. let’s vote and take a simple majority

How many laws regulating the legal profession are ever proposed ? How many are passed ?

+ no idea. fewer ;-)

If the U.S government has friendly but non-committal diplomatic relations (minimal or no conflict) with another state, does that constitute “support” for the regime or ” non-intervention” ?

+ at some point, non-intervention is support

If multiculturalists are correct that that the non-Western cultures are of greater moral stature than the oppressive West, then why did none of the non-Western cultures ever practice multiculturalism ?

+ the mulitculturalist are wrong. power corrupts (and would have corrupted the nonWestern cultures, given a chance)

methodological statement v. Shane: for my part, it just seemed like fun ;-)

How about you? Any of these inspire you?

Monday, December 17

Prince Dan Huckabee, Overpaid

+ The Prince Caspian trailer looks good (I saw this somewhere, but I forget where. If it was sorry, sorry for the no-link!).

+ I like this post from Dan: here's the beginning and the almost-end:

The greatest change every to befall earth is not climate, or glaciation, or any of that: it is the rising-up of a artificial genome-plex...

What Jurassic fruits taste the sweetest? Which plants eaten by the triceratops would make good raw material for ethanol? I think we'll live to have a good idea of the answer to these questions.

Saturday, December 15

Ambisports global battlestar

+ Cool ambigram (reads the same right-side-up and upside-down) on new Princess Bride release.

+ Bobby Petrino excels Nick Saban in total classlessness and lying, ditching the Falcons for college. Not that I'd advise any coach to touch either of those floundering franchises with a ten-foot pole.

I wonder if we'll start seeing (probably already exists) owners hiring private eyes to keep an eye on their franchise players to make sure nothing obviously wrong is going down (I'm thinking of the Vick case here). If the Falcons had done their due diligence before the new contract, things might be different down there.

+ I'm seeing a lot of reactions to the Mitchell Report that say 'who cares'? Answer: I do. This stuff matters.

Actually, I came out the same as all of the majorities in this SI poll except for the 'how much of a fan are you?' question (wasn't a big one to begin with, even less now) and the last question (I answered 'Somewhere in between').

Is the Mitchell Report sufficient for due process? Obviously not and those players shouldn't be punished (based on it alone). Something further could be pursued against them, if that were desired.

This stuff should matter for the Hall, for guys like Clemens (and McGwire (sp?) before him). Not sure how you run it down, though.

Tom Verducci's writing on MLB is authoritative, and here's his take on the Mitchell Report. To wit:

What's the big deal anyway? Why should we care if players shoot up drugs?

Mitchell wickedly skewered the steroid apologists -- and backed the many disenchanted clean players I've talked to over the years -- with this concise view: "The minority of players who used such substances were wrong. They violated federal law and baseball policy, and they distorted the fairness of competition by trying to gain an unfair advantage over the majority of players who followed the law and the rules."

End of argument.

The not big deal camps have said it's entertainment. But it's entertainment based on performance and competition. And if some people juice...

+ I agree with Dan's opinion of global warming.

+ Finally, for now, I'm getting into Battlestar Galactica. Even joined Netflix to start watching through. Any other BG fans out there?

Thursday, December 13

Pop Up Video!

Have I ever mentioned how much I loved Pop Up Videos?

Not just music and video, but something to read, too! More data streams!

Take On Me is one of my all-time favorite videos. The actresses' name was Bunty Bailey. She's still listed at Crawfords Commercials.

Secret: I also like a-ha's song 'The Living Daylights'.

There are 47 videos over there to choose from. The one I'm missing is 'Torn'. I think that's the first Pop Up Video I ever saw.

Another favorite, of course, is Losing My Religion.

I must have watched that video about ten times, back in 1991, trying to figure it out.

Monday, December 10

NFL rundown

How much do you think about what your readers will think when you write your weblog posts, or think about writing them?

For example, Madhu is serious about telling me to 'go update interact!' with some frequency. But I don't think Madhu is a big NFL fan. Oh well. Here goes. It's what I've got on my mind:

+ Peter King is making me blush! He keeps writing about how much he likes the Vikings. He's got them ranked #7 in the league ! That's third in the NFC, behind Dallas and Green Bay. Whoa there, big fella!

Then check out this quote:

i. Adrian Peterson rushed 14 times for three yards at San Francisco, and the Vikes won by 20 points. Yes, the tide is turning for the Vikes all right.

j. I'm no ratings maven, but I'll bet a dime that a Dallas-New England or Green Bay-New England Super Bowl would draw the biggest audience in American television history.

k. Why do I think the Vikings might have something to say about that?

Yikes, Peter! Just don't put 'em on the cover, ok?!

+ You know I'm a bandwagon Patriots fan. I enjoyed watching them dismember Pittsburgh (another team I like) after a second year DB guaranteed a victory. Pretty stupid to give the already dominant Patriots bulletin board material. It's clear to me (and I think everyone else) that that Pats are going for the undefeated season.

And I think when Brady got in Smith's face after their first touchdown, it was probably more to fire up his team than because he was really mad at Smith. After the game, Brady's words were very conciliatory.

+ It's also ironic that the Dolphins, owners of the only undefeated season are staring a season without a win in the face.

+ Peter King also says you shouldn't spend big money on a coach or a running back because there are good values out there at lower numbers. Hard to disagree. Once again: it's Moneyball for the NFL. Look for value. Don't bet.

+ Check out this Super Bowl dream from Don Banks:

I know what I expect to see in Glendale, Ariz., eight weeks from now: The greatest matchup of winning machines in Super Bowl history. That would be a New England team that enters 18-0 in its quest for perfection, against a Dallas squad that's 17-1, with its only loss in Week 6 to those very same Patriots. Two teams with a combined 35-1 record, and a .972 winning percentage.

How much fun would that be? They hype alone would be historic. Brady vs. Romo. Owens vs. Moss. Armageddon, indeed.

It could happen. And what would the line on that game be? Pats by 14?

+ Yes, I subscribed to SI's news feed. Should have done a long time ago.

That's enough for tonight.

Update: Ok, I take it back: one more:

This is a cool exercise by Don Banks: Knowing what we know now, how the draft would go today.

I'm outta here.

Tuesday, December 4

November highlights

In other photo news, Christine has the November highlights Picasa album up. Lots of good stuff in there including tearing down the brick wall in our front yard, Bethy in the Nutcracker, Christine's birthday and haircut, Thanksgiving and, the pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance, our new entertainment center!

Well, that might be a little strong. This one of Christine and me is awfully nice:

Unedited, retouched, Photoshopped or otherwise changed. We're just good looking people, people! ;-)

Photo caption contest!

This picture is not my new profile picture, but it probably should be:

Want to caption it? Some pretty obvious ones leap to mind (especially considering the happy shirt coincidence ;-)

(Did you know you can make foam swords with pool noodles and 3/4" PVC? There are lots of variations and improvements (start here if interested), but Wil wanted his to look as much like lightsabers as possible.)

Saturday, December 1

Ok, now I can watch some other channels

I was a little discouraged about my tv reception, and I was thinking of giving up. I don't watch that much tv anyway, right?

But I was looking at reviews at BestBuy.com and saw the link to the Consumer Electronics Association's guide to antennas, antennaweb.org. You can plug in your address and it'll tell you what direction to point your antenna by degrees of the compass and what kind of antenna you need. Great. And they link to Radio Shack as a participating provider, so I went to Radio Shack.

They put me on to this really pretty small (about the height of a cereal box, but not as wide) indoor/outdoor antenna. I figured I'd take it home and try it and if it didn't work I'd take it back and try something bigger.

Well, it's working pretty well. I went from 1 HD channel to 5 (not counting piddly local weather and a couple extra SC PBS stations). I'm getting ABC (regular broadcast) now, which I couldn't get before (watching OU-Mizzou right now). The only HD channel I'm not getting that I want is ABC.

So, tomorrow I'm going to get some longer coaxial cable and try this sucker outside. But if I don't get ABC in HD, I'm going to stick with this antenna, because, after all, there's literally nothing I watch on ABC (including no NFL) and I'm very satisfied, on balance.

Good end to a pretty good Saturday.

That was the best Christmas album ever! (again)

I know, I used this title for my Sufjan Stevens Christmas collection paean last year, but it's still true.

Who knew we were waiting for Christmas songs with a lot more banjo?! (Well, maybe Guam Brad...)

Now, admittedly, I'm not a huge Christmas music fan, and I don't allow listening until after Thanksgiving, but I haven't even gotten to my previous fave yet. Yes, it's true. A Charlie Brown Christmas has been supplanted.

One more great thing about Sufjan: he sings the standards, including songs about Santa, and he's sincere. He also sings songs about bad Christmas happenings, and that's good, too. He's the only one who sings songs about Santa that I actually like!

Reading last year's post, it's pretty good. Go check it out if you're interested at all.

You can listen to some of these songs on Hype Machine ...

(I now have 2 Brad B's on my blogroll. So we'll make them Guam Brad (above) and Detroit Brad. DB, what do you think of Sufjan?)

Run, don't walk, to get this album if you don't already have it.!