29 September 2007

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week FOUR)

The first week of byes tend to produce crappier games available for viewing, this week is no exception. This is a dismal week for watching football in Los Angeles, guess I'm going to have to go out and enjoy another sunny day, instead.

Oakland at Miami (Oakland +4.0)
Seriously, this is worth televising? Oakland (1-2) managed to eek out their first victory last week using the same cheap trick that defeated them the previous week. Miami (0-3) is winless, but should have a good chance at changing that this week against an erratic Oakland team. I'm picking Oakland anyway, can't explain why, their defense is still looking pretty strong, and they ought to hold the crappy Miami offense under 10 points. As strange as it may sound, this actually is the best game available to CBS for the early game.

St. Louis at Dallas (Dallas -13.0)
St. Louis' (0-3) porous defense versus Dallas' (3-0) formidable offense. This won't even be close. They could make Dallas a two touchdown favorite and they'd still cover easily, good thing too, since they are a two touchdown favorite. Another game not worth tuning in to. Makes for a good morning to walk the dog, I suppose. Watching my dog urinate all over the neighborhood is bound to be more exciting than watching either of these early games.

Kansas City at San Diego (San Diego -12.0)
Kansas City (1-2) has looked pretty crappy, but so has San Diego (1-2). San Diego should be less crappy this week than they have in others, and even Norv Turner won't be able to figure out a way for this squad to lose to the Chiefs. Course I could be wrong, San Diego has been messing me up for two weeks in a row. I have a lot of trouble with the spread, but KC isn't very good, and despite being burned twice by them, I still can't fathom the Chargers' offense failing to put together a performance worthy their talent. So I pick them with a great deal of trepidation, knowing they'll probably burn me again, luckily KC is really, really bad.

Philadelphia at New York Giants (Philadelphia -3.0)
Philadelphia (1-2) looked great last week, but that was against Detroit, so it doesn't really count. New York (1-2) played well at the end of last week's game, but they might flip around and get back to trying to get Coughlin fired this week. I'm picking the Eagles, cause last week McNabb looked like he had his old spark, and their defense ought to be able to give Eli Manning fits.

New England at Cincinnati (New England -7.5)
New England (3-0)has appeard unstoppable. The Cincinnati (1-2) offense has looked fantastic, but their defense has been awful. They might manage to score over 40 against a very good New England defense, but only because they'll give up 70 to the New England offense. Surprised the spread isn't 21 points in this game instead of only 7.5, I guess since the Bengals are at home they're given some credit. That's just foolish.

My nemesis Bill Simmons (if I say it enough times it will be true, plus maybe if I yap at his heels long and loud enough, he'll link to me on his The Sports Guy blog) differs with me on the Oakland at Miami and Philly at NY games. I can get two games closer to overtaking him over the season, or slip further behind, my fate is in Culpepper's and McNabb's hands.

RESULTS (Week Three) Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

That was a vexing week. San Diego isn't nearly as good as last year, and whatever is wrong with New Orleans won't be fixed soon, Chicago also let me down, and the Redskins collapsed late in a game they had won. Good thing I do these picks for entertainment purposes only.

San Diego 24 Green Bay 31
D'oh! San Diego sucks. Norv Turner keeps getting hired as a head coach for some reason, maybe after this season, no other team will be willing to make that mistake. On the bright side, Favre is playing really well, and Green Bay may be for real.

San Francisco 16 Pittsburgh 37
Woohoo! That was predictable, and I predicted it. The Steelers look better than their Superbowl year, but that may only be good enough to get them to the semi-finals in the stacked AFC. Don't see them beating Indianapolis or New England in the playoffs, but January is a long way off, so things can change. San Francisco may be the best team of the very mediocre NFC West, though, just not good enough to compete with a team like Pittsburgh.

New York Giants 24 Washington 17
D'oh! The Redskins had this game under control going in at halftime. The Giants looked like a team trying to get their coach fired, and then they scored 21 points unanswered in the 2nd half and possibly changed their entire season. If that 2nd half Giants team shows up every week, they could do well in the NFC East. The Redskins let this game slip away more than the Giants won it.

Dallas 34 Chicago 10
D'oh! I was right about one thing, Terrell Owens didn't get to do any touchdown dances, but he did rack up 145 yards on 8 catches, so he shouldn't be too upset about not scoring. Grossman was miserable enough to get himself benched this week. The Chicago defense couldn't overcome 4 turnovers by their woeful offense. Dallas appears to be the best team in the NFC, and look solid on both sides of the ball.

Tennessee 31 New Orleans 14
D'oh! The Saints aren't the same team as last season, everything that clicked last year, has fallen apart this season. Tennessee on the other hand appears to be one of those dangerous young teams that can beat any team, and lose to any team each week. Hopefully they won't get too many more televised games here, cause betting for or against them is a maddening prospect.

1-4 is pretty miserable, and my nemesis Bill Simmons did one better at 2-3. My cummulative total for the season 5-9-1, versus Bill Simmons more impresive 8-6-1, I'll catch him this upcoming Sunday, for sure.

27 September 2007

October . . ., It's Bloggeriffic!!!

Hereabouts, I going to make sure October is Bloggeriffic!!! All those daily and weekly features that I've toyed with over the years will return in earnest for the month of October. Daily LOL, Gobsmacking, and Unhinged Rants can be expected. Weekly Ain't Wrongs, Friday Funk Lyrics, and New Music Tuesdays can be expected as well. Also expect at least six new "Proposals" of a modest or immodest nature.

I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like, so I figure making a public declaration of a commitment to blogging more is the way to force myself to blog more. If traffic follows, great, if it doesn't, no big deal, the writing and digging around the news and other blogs for interesting stuff on which to comment will be its own reward (think of this as a subtle hint to link to my crap more often next month on your own blogs).

It's Haloscan's fault . . .

This would be a comment to this post over at Done with Mirrors, but haloscan didn't like the extreme linkaliciousness of my thoughts, so rather than changing all those links, I'll just turn those thoughts into a semi-coherent post. Read the post over there, read the comments already existing, and then you'll have an idea as to the context of this post:

I for one don't like the title to this post. I found Robert Graves, "Good-Bye to All That" nigh unreadable. I love his Cladius books, enjoyed most of White Goddess, but Good-bye to All That left me cold.

I know it's an important work by a great writer describing a harrowing personal experience during an important and tumultuous historical time. But the writing doesn't sing the way his other works do.

As far as the Iraq front in the War on Terror being damaging to our reputation abroad (Katie Couric will find my use of 'our' very annoying), the folks who are upset with us, were already predisposed to be upset with us, and were itching to find any excuse to return to hating America again after 9/11. The disdain for America's position as the globe's one and only "hyper-power" as some French chose to term it, was already strong in the 90s. Or maybe I imagined the whole thing. The world loved us unconditionally during the Clinton years, folks in that administration keep making that case over and over again. Janet Albrechtsen's opinion piece in The Australian earlier this year spells out things pretty well.

Pres. Bush has become the symbol for this sentiment, the Iraq War the excuse, but those feelings have existed in Europe (and to a lesser degree in East Asia) since we saved their bacon in WWII and protected them from Soviet agression.

As far as the far-left, anti-American (I'm sorry, not anti-American, pro-Global) slant of organizations like AHA, MLA, and ALA, they don't understand what damage they do to their organizations, and since they're openly hostile towards not only conservative principles, but even moderate thought, folks who aren't already predisposed to being 'true believers' who still want to get ahead in those groups figure out early on, either shut up, parrot the left-liberal party line, or find a new line of work that doesn't involve those organizations.

25 September 2007

Even Fairer Than the Fair Tax . . .

. . . I'm basically for a properly implemented Fair Tax. The cost of compliance, both in terms of dollars and in stress, with the current byzantine code is substantial. Simplification alone, could help pay for a much lower overall tax burden. On top of that, any tax code that doesn't require reporting of income, and taxes all people within the borders of the United States equally, distributes the burden of paying for government services more equitably, and would create incentives for increased consumption at the high end, and increased savings at the low end of the economic spectrum.

But I think the technology is here, or at least possible to develop, to take a national consumption tax one step further. With a sales tax, you only capture all legal sales, but there is a lot of economic activity that doesn't count as a 'sale'. On top of that, a national consumption tax would encourage the growth of a hidden cash based economy as the tax rate to equal the current revenue would need to be around 17%.

I'd like to see that burden drop to no more than 5-7%, and here's the way to do it, tax all TRANSACTIONS, not just sales. Any time funds are transferred from one entity to another, the gov't would 'skim' off five cents for every dollar spent. The total economy is $13 Trillion a year, but I've never been able to find the total transactions in dollars annually. That's not a statistic that's kept, or even guessed at by economists as far as I can tell. I would imagine for each dollar that eventually adds to the total GDP, that dollar gets passed around at least 3 or 4 times. I could be way off, it might be half that, or it might be five times that, I really don't know. But if 3 times is the right number, then you could tax transactions at 5% and still get to the approx $2 Trillion in annual revenue that our gov't seems to believe it requires to function (I bet if they went on a diet they could get by with only $1.5T).

The first step to making this happen would be to change currency so that it could only be stored electronically through bank accounts, or on debit cards with the ability to communicate with each other, and a tracking system that records transactions as they are made (without recording who the individual parties are as the transaction happens). The technology is available, it would just require a few small innovations that are already technically feasible and would be less expensive to implement, monitor, and deploy than the current process of printing paper money and minting coins. For this to work as an acceptable currency, the ability for parties to remain anonymous and invisible to the government, even while their transactions are taxed the appropriate amount, would be crucial. People would have to trust that this isn't a trick to increase surveillance, and the government would have to prove that the transactions are taxed fairly, accurately, and anonymously. The system would have to be hacker proof, while also having built in safeguards to make it impossible to use the tracking of transactions to turn into the tracking of people (whether by the gov't itself, or by others).

The advantages for this kind of system are worth the risk. All transfers of dollars, anywhere in the world would add to the US government's revenue. It wouldn't matter if the trade is illicit, or licit, the US government would get a cut. The total underground economy has wildly varying estimates as to its size, but it's not a crazy assumption to make that it's at least a tenth the size of the total economy within the United States alone. Building in a system that's blind to the kind of transaction being made would tap that resource. Plus an anonymous debit card system, backed by the US government, and guaranteed to be untraceable, would become the de facto currency of black marketeers and other reprobates worldwide. Instead of a briefcase full of 500 Euro notes, two smugglers wanting to swap $1,000,000, could do so electronically and anonymously. That could be worth a Trillion annually in revenue for the US government, alone. Bad people are going to want to do bad things, and get paid for it, might as well take a cut of the action. Having been the de facto reserve currency for bad guys around the world has helped bolster the US economy, and the rise of the Euro as a reserve currency for the black market is one of the things driving the rising Euro v the Dollar (having a 500 euro note really helps, you can stack a lot more value in a single briefcase full of euro than dollars right now). This would take away one of the tools our government uses in the War on Terror (and the War on Drugs), but the benefits would outweigh this loss.

All transactions (other than bartering) would add to the government's coffers, whether you're giving allowance to your kid, your boss is paying you for two weeks worth of work, you're showing your appreciation for a very talented stripper, or you run out to the store to buy some bananas. Interest income from savings in banks would be the only thing exempt from this transaction fee, otherwise the fee itself would cause inflationary pressure.

It's a pie in the sky concept, possibly completely impractical, but if it is practical at all, it might be worth a look at. Simplifying the way the federal government collects revenue, anonymizing the process, and speeding and streamlining the ability of people to move small or large amounts would have many economic benefits.

21 September 2007

Something Bugs Me About Journeyman . . .

NBC has a new show starting Monday night at 10pm, Journeyman. Seems like it might be a decent, Quantum Leap-ish sort of show, but with a more angst-y edge, and Kevin McKidd makes a good lead, he was great in Rome, and I don't doubt he'll be good in this show.

But, if I were to find myself back in 1997, I don't think my first inclination would be to work on personal issues or mysteries. I'd be trying to figure out a way to convince the right people to take Al Qaeda far more seriously than they did at that time.

That in of itself creates a quandry. How would you convince a skeptical CIA or FBI agent regarding the possibility of four successful simultaneous plane hijackings, with the intent not to land the planes, but to use the planes as weapons? While the idea of simultaneous hijackings was already known and feared, the concept of using those planes as weapons wasn't something that was being discussed in intelligence circles (at least if my understanding of all the 'Monday night quarterbacking' in the aftermath is correct). If you were Joe Schmo off the street, seems like you'd have a very tough time getting information to the right people. Even if you tell the right people, those people would have a very tough time convincing their superiors that greater measures than were already being taken needed to be done. To this day the various Clinton admistration folks defend the postures they took during the 90s, and many of those same people are top advisors for Sen. Clinton. The thought of Madeleine 'Dances with Dictators' Albright having the ear of another President Clinton is a scary thought. Sandy 'Pants' Burglar being in a prominent advisory position is equally unthinkable, yet there it is.

Also, you might want to remind Pres. Clinton to keep his willy to himself, or at least use extremely discrete and well vetted prostitutes, rather than an emotionally needy intern. Seems like an awful lot would have gone a lot better had that whole mess never happened.

Back to Journeyman, can they have the protagonist proceed without even thinking about stopping 9/11? I hope they address this issue in some way. Or not, it might end up being unwatchable soap-y nonsense (they seem to focus on soap opera type plot devices in all the press material, but that might be a cynical and misguided ploy to drive a female audience towards a sci-fi type show, or it might really be the night time soap the press material makes it out to be), so a small matter of whether or not to put personal issues over global security won't ever arise, or matter.

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week Three)

This week is vexing. Two weeks in, and some teams aren't doing as well as you'd expect, others are looking surprisingly good. Makes picking winners and losers difficult.

San Diego at Green Bay (San Diego -5)
San Diego (1-1) looked awful on Sunday night against New England. They didn't play particularly well against Chicago, but managed to win, anyway in Week 1. Green Bay (2-0) hasn't lost yet, but they haven't been all that impressive. I know Norv Turner is crap, and the San Diego offense has looked crappy, but I just don't see them continuing to be as bad as they've been considering the players they have. It's just not possible for them to play that badly another week, is it? Giving up 5 points is a lot, for a struggling team on the road heading into Lambeau Field, but I'll chalk up picking the Chargers over the Packers to AFC superiority, and assume that the Chargers will finally play up to their talent level this week.

San Francisco at Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh -9)
San Francisco (2-0) are another surprisingly undefeated team, while because of last year's crappy season, Pittsburgh (2-0) seem like a mild surprise with their solid start. Pittsburgh at home would seem a lock, but are they better than a touchdown better than the Niners? Short answer yes (there is no need for a longer answer).

New York Giants at Washington (Washington -3.5)
New York (0-2) have the look of a team that's trying to get their coach fired. Giving up 80 points in two weeks is pathetic. They've been hit by injuries, but that alone doesn't explain their lack of defense. Washington (2-0) are another team that you wouldn't expect to be undefeated, but here they are, 2-0 ready to get to 3-0. They don't look all that great, and they are coming off of a short week, but they should do fine against a Giants team that's in disarray. Jason Campbell should build in confidence, and he'll make some nice passes over the top of the Giants secondary. The 'Skins ought to be able to win by a couple of TDs in this one.

Dallas at Chicago (Chicago -3.0)
Dallas (2-0) has been rolling up some big point totals each week. Chicago (1-1) has been offensive (as in foul) on offense. Their defense is still solid, and Dallas' defense is a bit suspect, so this will be a battle of strength v strength and weakness v weakness. Chicago's defense will overpower Dallas' offense, and Chicago's offense will not make enough mistakes to lose this game. Chicago will win this, and win convincingly. Terrell Owens won't get to come up with any fine-inducing TD celebrations this week.

Tennessee at New Orleans (New Orleans -4.0)
Tennessee (1-1) split two close games this season, while New Orleans (0-2) has been blown out twice. But the Saints are still favored in their home opener, and I still like their chances to beat the Titans. The Saints have been underperforming on both sides of the ball. I don't expect that to continue at the Superdome. They've got too many weapons on offense to continue to stink as much as they have. They should be able to score plenty of points on the Titans, and in doing so, take away Vince Young's ability to effect the game with his legs. Vince Young isn't accurate enough with his arm (yet), to win just by passing, and the Saints defense will be able to run a QB contain and run-stopping scheme to take away the Titans' biggest strengths on offense. But if the Saints fail in this one, their season is already over, they aren't capable of working their way out of a 0-3 hole, even in a weak division.

Now to head over to Page 2 and see how my nemesis Bill Simmons picked these games . . .

I don't know if this is good or bad, but our picks are the same, except for the Dallas v Chicago game.

18 September 2007

Siren Time

Thought I'd break out the double Drudgian siren for this one.

It's going to RAIN!!!!

(there hasn't been a significant rainstorm to drench all of the LA Basin in nearly a year)

From the local coverage, you'd know that the siren is called for, otherwise you'd think, 'what the hell, it's only a little water'.

The weather advisory has some odd wording in it.
Due to uncertainties in the exact track and timing of this system...
the threat of rain in any six hour period in the current forecast is
generally 50 percent or less. However... the chance of rain during
the 36 hour period from Thursday afternoon through Friday night is
quite high. It must be stressed that these types storms are
notoriously tricky and real confidence will not come until the storm
manifests itself on satellite imagery.

Exactly how much rain this system will produce is still in
question... and will be highly dependent upon how much moisture it
can attain from the Pacific. If it tracks a bit farther off the
coast... it would likely gather more in the way of moisture...
increasing potential rainfall totals. If it tracks farther
inland... it will remain starved for moisture... resulting
in a low precipitation event. This type of system does have
the potential to produce rainfall totals in excess of one inch
under the right circumstances.

The storm is expected to move out of the area late Friday night and
early Saturday... with a decreasing threat of showers across the

This storm will likely take many tricks and turns as it migrates
southward. The National Weather Service will be issuing many
forecast updates between now and the storms arrival. Please stay
tuned to your favorite source of weather information this week to
ensure you have the latest forecast and warning information.

In other words, 'we have no idea what's going to happen, either you'll get drizzles, or torrents, but don't say we didn't warn ya'

17 September 2007

RESULTS (Week Two) Weekly NFL Related Humiliation

Ouch. 2-3 this week.

Indianapolis 22 Tennessee 20 (Indianapolis -7)
D'oh! The Colts offense did not get rolling against the Titans. Adam Vinatieri looked human, but Manning was sharp as always. Vince Young is still a work in progress. Winning is winning though, and the Colts didn't panic even though their offense didn't click. Their defense is much improved over last year's, which suggests that home field advantage in the AFC playoffs will come down to the Nov 4th match up between Indianapolis and New England (guess we won't have two undefeated teams in the AFC this year)

Oakland 20 Denver 23OT (Oakland +10)
Woohoo! I was almost right. The Oakland defense did score as many points as their own offense, they just gave up a few too many points to the opponents. Had they kept their own turnovers down, they would have won this one. The Raiders might still have a decent (for them) 6-10 or 8-8 season. Denver looks crappy. Cutler is awful, but the Broncos are 2-0.

Dallas 37 Miami 20 (Dallas -3.5)
Woohoo! I still don't believe in Dallas, but I do know Miami (and Trent Green) really sucks. I don't have anything else to say about these two teams, and I didn't bother watching this game, but it least I made the right pick.

San Diego 14 New England 38 (San Diego +3.5)
D'oh! Ouch. 19-0. Superbowl XLII Champs. Season's over. That would be the Patriots. San Diego on the other hand still has a great defense, but their offense isn't (yet). If I were into that fantasy crap, and had picked LT with the first pick, I'd be seriously pissed about now. I'd be cursing the name Norv Turner.

Washington 20 Philadelphia 12 (Philadelphia -6.5)
D'oh! The Eagles didn't look good in this, and Jason Campbell, the 'Skins young QB, just might be very, very good. The Eagles were terrible in the red zone, they didn't score any TDs this week, and didn't score any offensive TDs last week. Not a good way to start the season.

It's only been two weeks, but there are already a few teams you wouldn't expect to be 2-0 or 0-2. Houston's the biggest surprise at 2-0, not only have they played well, but they've looked good doing it. New Orleans is the biggest surprise at 0-2, their offense has been terrible, and their defense not much better. That team appears to be in trouble.

Next week the local TV games are Chargers at Green Bay, San Francisco at Pittsburgh, New York Giants at Washington, plus the Sunday night game of Dallas at Chicago and Monday night's contest of Tennessee at New Orleans. Should be an interesting week. I'll try and come up with some picks by Wednesday.

Over at ESPN Bill Simmons ("The Sports Guy") gives his picks against the spread (unlike the other ESPN folks). I'll compare my stats to his. Of the games I picked, he went 4-1, only missing on the Eagles game (last week he went 2-2-1 also, with the same picks, except for in the game that was a push)

My season total 4-5-1
My nemesis, Bill Simmons' season total (on the same games) 6-3-1
(I'll catch him this week)

16 September 2007

Short Answer, Longer Answer . . .

(via Instapundit)

TO the question posed in Marie Claire, "Is Anal Bleaching for You?"

Short answer: no.

Longer answer: nooooooooooooooooooooo!

(but if it floats your boat, go ahead and do it, just be safe and careful about it)

There Will Always Be a Britain?

Another data point (or anecdote) to suggest that criminality is a bigger problem in London than it should be based on their current prosperity.

Interesting to see the gist of the article being that this is a political embarrassment rather than just a violent property crime. DC isn't exactly a crime free city, yet I don't recall too many feds in major positions being attacked.

I get the feeling that this might be a by-product of a permissive culture towards petty crime. When petty criminals see that punishment isn't forthcoming, they tend to realize that a life of crime isn't just a 'make do' lifestyle, but rewarding, profitable, and small crimes are good, but bigger crimes are better.

a culture that prohibits good people from arming themselves, and punishes them when they defend themselves is destined to tilt the playing field in favor of thugs.

Seems like a political party that started pushing a Rudy Giuliani "broken windows" style reform package in Great Britain might gain traction.

15 September 2007

"She developed a weakness for British fare"


Scarlett Johansson loves British pub food? (that sounds as likely as her showing up at my house and wanting to challenge me in some topless Wii Sports, which Scarlett, if you are up for it, so am I)

The country that hasn't found a meat they couldn't turn into a pudding?

Nobody is saying she looks bad, just that there's a continuity problem with her fluctuating weight on the historical biopic film she's shooting in England.

If anything, she looks better heavier, but since they shoot out of sequence, and since she's so tiny, that kind of stuff can be noticeable.

14 September 2007

Things That Seem Very, Very, Very Wrong (to Me)


More British Birds Without Much Clothing On . . .

. . . this time it's in the form of a little game.

Daily Mail had an article written by an improbably named woman who used to edit Esquire (Rosie Boycott), and she was complaining that the depiction of scantily (or completely unclad) clad women in the current generation of "Lads' Mags" was more demeaning and reinforcing of inequality between the sexes than her more tasteful and equality affirming depictions of hot women with little covering. Her article doesn't just attack the mags, though, she's also critical of young women for willingly exploiting themselves, and confusing freedom with sluttiness (or is that sluttiness with freedom?).

I'm not going to argue the merits of her argument, I'll just link to it. Reading the article I noticed that one of the most popular (and raunchy) of the "Lads Mags" NUTS, has just started a TV channel. They also have a website at Nuts.tv.

There's a variety of video and content aimed at the young male Brit audience. They've got lots of discussion regarding "footie", some stuff about "gear", and of course, plenty of young women, plenty uncovered.

Speaking of largely uncovered women, this series of videos featuring two well endowed women playing Wii topless is fascinating. There are four (NSFW) videos (part 1, 2, 3, 4), in each you are supposed to guess which sport they are playing on the Wii. It's not too hard to figure out. Wii Sports is the pack-in game with the Wii console and has five sports represented. You can figure out four of them by watching the videos (or just follow the wiki link), but there are only four videos in this Nuts series. I guess they figured their audience wouldn't be interested in watching these two young women play baseball (even topless). Damn provincial of them, don't they know they might attract audience over the web from baseball lovers as well?

This is 'tease' rather than porn. Still rather juvenille, and silly, but it definitely has its place within the media landscape.

Also, to rate the titillation factor of each game, I'd rank boxing lowest as the guard position limits the view, and I'd rank golf the highest, as the ready position for a golf swing (at least as performed by the women in the video) is pleasingly provocative.

Another thing, the popularity and link love sites like Daily Mail and Nuts gets outside of their home market presents a challenge to marketers. The adverts (since we're talking UK, I'll use the UK word for ads) are still aimed at the UK market, even though I'm linking from a USA based ISP. If they want to leverage their non-home market traffic, they need to find a way to serve ads that reflect the home market of the viewer, rather than the content provider. The technology is there, and because of the frequent Drudge links, the US traffic for Daily Mail is high, so US based advertisers would be smart to send some dollars Daily Mail's way.

There's a big revenue stream just waiting to be exploited.

The Golden Age of Emergency Band Scanning?

From the opinion section in today's LA Times:

The looming shift from analog to digital television signals in February 2009 will open a prime set of frequencies to new uses. Nationally, UHF channels 52 to 69 are being cleared for public safety communications and broadband wireless services. Regionally, significant chunks of unused airwaves could open up between channels, depending on how many stations are broadcasting in the area.

First, why looming? This is something to look forward to, 'looming' suggests dread, not hopeful anticipation.

Second, what's it going to mean for everyone to have multiple devices in their home capable of picking up emergency band communications? Police scanners already exist, but it's a specialized market, but when public safety communication will be used on frequencies already tuneable on millions of consumer devices, does this mean that every old TV tuner becomes a police scanner?

The channels between the channels of the current VHF and UHF channels from 2-51 are the ones being fought over. Digital channels require much less bandwidth, and are less prone to interference, so theoretically the spaces between channels in use should be free to be used by other digital devices once terrestrial TV is purely digital. But so far, lab tests have suggested that even with digital transmission and reception, an unacceptable amount of interference is likely to occur. Microsoft had their 'whitespace' devices rejected by the FCC, but they're claiming the test was fixed (too lazy to find the links, but that's my interpretation of the back and forth between M$ and the FCC over the devices that failed certification recently).

I'm a little surprised this LAT editorial is taking the side of greater consumer freedom. They must envision some sort of liberal pirate radio and video services popping up in that bandwidth fighting the brain control rays being put out by 'the man' on the 'official' channels.

Of course, they may make a 180 turn in a few months and decry the increase use of RF signals in our daily life and claim that exposure to RF may be harmful to humans (as a few folks who believe they suffer from 'electrical sensitivity' already claim)

Victims Who Refuse To Remain Victimized Are No Longer Victims . . .

. . . if you recover your property after having it stolen, then no crime was committed?

Seems like a case could be made that British crime stats are being artificially manipulated by police who refuse to take crime reports in cases like this (I've seen on the internet more than one anecdote or article similar to this one).

Reported property crime rates throughout most of the larger EU countries is much higher than it is in the United States, knowing that you won't serve much time if caught, won't be facing a firearm if confronted by someone you target, may lead to higher crime rates.

It's just a thought.

(also, if Althouse can pick the bones of the Daily Mail for many of her posts, so can I)

Sure, I Hate Hippies . . .

. . . but who doesn't love a (slightly NSFW in a Le déjeuner sur l'herbe sort of way) naked Hippie Chick?

(with the caveat that she not be too old (Sienna Miller is only 25), not too hairy (no strands of armpit hair can be seen in photo, which is always a relief, though probably not period accurate), and pleasingly curvy (which due to a strict director mandated regimen of less exercise Sienna has a nicely curving bum in these pics), needless to say there's no way in hell that I'll watch the film Hippie Hippie Shake, even with a naked Sienna Miller in it, dewy-nostalgia for that awful scene makes me sick)

The film Hippie Hippie Shake is based on the memoirs of Richard Neville, an Australian rabble rouser who, judging from his website, is still stuck back in the 60s. Everybody is getting a serious aesthetic upgrade in this pic, I mean, really, Cillian Murphy as Richard Neville, and Emma Booth as Germaine Greer?

According to the wiki on Oz magazine, the film is centered around the British obscenity trial over an issue of Oz that mashed-up Rupert the Bear with explicit cartoons by R. Crumb.

No doubt a 'the man was keeping us down, man' movie, with lots of actors playing famous people in bit parts. These type of films tend to become self-congratulatory wankfests (to borrow a Britishism), and should be avoided at all costs.

13 September 2007

Logical Inferences (4 Year Old Edition)

“Mom, if I pee standing up but I poop sitting down, and you pee sitting down, does that mean that you poop standing up?”

Context, here.

Did I mention I'm Dylan Jennings' biggest fan?

(and not in any kind of creepy way)

12 September 2007

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week Two)

My cumulative season total is a whopping 2-2-1, let's see if I can improve on that this week. Once again, I'm picking five games, all being broadcast in Los Angeles. Our lack of a home team leads to some odd choices by CBS and FOX when they have the choice. CBS seems to be under the mistaken impression that there are still plenty of Raiders fans in Los Angeles. I don't expect any of these games to be particularly watchable. I think every losing team will lose by double digits. Last week, if I had gone with the home team each time, I would have been 4-0-1, but I didn't, and this week I'm prepared to make the same mistake and pick four out of five road teams to prevail. On to the picks (using the lines from ESPN as of Wednesday, which they need to fix and tell the person doing their lines that the home team isn't always the favorite).

Indianapolis at Tennessee Indianapolis -7
The Colts looked unbeatable at home last week against what I still believe is a pretty good Saints team. They're on the road this week, and are big favorites. Last year, they were terrible against the spread in these situations, and split the season series against the Titans, barely winning the first time (as 17 point favorites at home) and losing as 7 point favorites on the road late in the season. The Titans have a solid defense, but they won't hold the Colts offense under 20 points like they did in both games last season. The Colts will be rolling again this week putting up a bunch of points. The Titans will find a way to score as well, but I expect this to be a 38-24 type contest, with Indy simply being too much for Tennessee to handle.

Oakland at Denver Oakland +10
When the Raiders play the Broncos, it's always a battle. The Raiders always manage to play better than their current talent level, and it doesn't matter if it's on the road or at home. Getting Denver in September is a big plus for the Raiders, not having to deal with the snow. Oakland seemed surprisingly competent on offense last week, and were let down by their defense in the 4th quarter. That won't happen this week. The Raiders have one of the best defenses in the league, and they will stymie Denver's somewhat woeful offense. This will be low scoring, but I expect Oakland to eek out a 20-10 victory, and even if they lose, they won't lose by more than a touchdown, so I'm playing the spread on this one.

Dallas at Miami Dallas -3.5
I have no idea why Fox is showing this game over a more interesting contest like Seattle at Arizona. Dallas isn't "America's Team" anymore, and the Dolphins look like they're going to have another mediocre to terrible season. These teams haven't met since 2003, but based on last week, Dallas looks to be playing better at the moment. The Dolphins are 3.5 point underdogs at home, but I think they'll manage to lose by much more than that. Dallas' offense looks pretty good, and ought to be able to roll up the points on a 'Phins squad that will get demoralized early, and never recover. Half time score 24-3, final 38-10, this won't be close.

San Diego at New England San Diego +3.5
New England looked great last week, but they were playing the New York Jets, so that shouldn't really count. San Diego looked so-so, but they were playing against a monster defense in Chicago. The Pats have a very good defense, but they're no Chicago. LaDanian Tomlinson will have a monster game in this contest, rolling up better than 200 yards combined rushing and receiving. San Diego's defense will screw up the Pats timing on offense and cause them to make some uncharacteristic mistakes, I expect at least 3 turnovers from the normally solid Pats offense. San Diego will not only win, but embarrass New England (but New England may not lose another game this season, and they'll use this loss as motivation when these teams inevitably face each other in the AFC Championship game).

Washington at Philadelphia Philadelphia -6.5
The Eagles looked terrible against Green Bay last week, losing a low scoring game in OT. Didn't see the 'Skins win their low scoring OT game last week, but I don't see how they'll have much of a season this year. I think Philadelphia's offense will get better, while they're defense will play another solid game. They put an unbelievable amount of pressure on Favre last week, and rather than making spectacular plays as Favre did, Washington's young QB, Campbell, will make mistakes. Philadephia's defense will score more points than Washington's offense in this one. They may even score more points than their own offense. I expect a 24-3 drubbing of the 'Skins in this one.

11 September 2007

Remembrance, 2007 Edition

Last year I pointed to this Rudy Giuliani piece printed in USA Today for the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

It's still relevant, and I haven't seen anybody saying anything better this anniversary, so I'll point to Giuliani's comments, again.

I still think he'd be a good choice for President, but I'd be happier personally with President Fred Thompson running things.

I suspect that a President Hillary Clinton wouldn't be a disaster with regards to the war on terror, despite the lefty talking points she's been parroting from time to time during the endless campaign.

Any of the other Democrats would be disastrous, however.

10 September 2007

RESULTS (Week One) NFL Related Humiliation

New Orleans at Indianapolis Results: NO 10 Ind 41 (picked NO +5)
D'OH! That was painful. Who new the Colts would have a great defense this year? Didn't give up an offensive TD to what should be one of the better offenses this season (just not in this game). It was close for 2 quarters, then a complete blowout in the 2nd half. The Colts offense was unstoppable, and Manning was perfection after halftime. It's only one game though, and I don't think either team will play as well or as bad as they did in opening week.

Philadelphia at Green Bay Results: Phi 13 GB 16 in OT (picked Phi -3)
D'OH! The old guy is still pretty good, Favre made some amazing plays during this game. Philly's defense looks very good, though, the offense not so much. Likewise, Green Bay has a solid young defensive squad and are always a few errant throws from getting in trouble on offense.

Chicago at San Diego Results: Chi 3 SD 14 (picked SD -6)
WOOHOO!!! It's a qualified woohoo, for sure. San Diego beat Chicago, and covered the spread, but the offense played poorly, and didn't produce. Luckily the Chicago offense was even crappier. Might have something to do with both these teams having stellar defenses, though. Chicago will be fine as long as they keep the turnovers on offense down (it was a bunch of fumbles in this one, rather than bad Grossman throws), and San Diego's offense will start rolling once they aren't facing defensive squads as good as da Bears.

Baltimore at Cincinnati Results: Bal 20 Cin 27 (picked Cin -3)
WOOHOO!!! Another game where the results matched my pick, but not in the manner I imagined. A relatively low scoring game that would have gone the other way but for 3 fumbles and one INT lost by Steve McNair. Bengals weren't rolling on offense, and only totalled 236 yards on offense, but they had lots of short fields due to 6 Ravens turn overs. If Baltimore fixes the turnover problems on offense, their defense will do plenty of damage (assuming the injury to Ray Lewis doesn't keep him out of too many games, he may have torn his bicep early in the game, but played through it). Also, about the team in the booth, huuuuuuge upgrade with Ron Jaworski replacing Joe Theismann, makes for a much better show.

Arizona at San Francisco Results: Ari 17 SF 20 (picked Ari +3)
Meh! Sloppy first half, didn't get any better in the second. Leinart threw an interception on his first pass. The Cardinals Offensive Line were awfully jumpy, racking up numerous offsides penalties. Hard to succeed with those sort of mistakes. Not a good sign for the season. Both defenses look much better than last year, and Edgerin James looks like he's going to have a monster season. Will Arizona keep on almost winning like last season? I don't think so, they show some good stuff in this game, and might still have a pretty good season. San Francisco might have a decent year if their defense plays well. Also, Mike(Golic), Mike(Greenberg), and Mike(Ditka) make a pretty good broadcast team.

My record for the week, 2-2-1. Had Arizona held on, would have had a winning week, but they didn't.

Congress Should Insist We Pull OUT Immediately . . .

. . . of the endless quagmire of congressional hearings.

Watching the Petraeus hearing live on CSPAN3. 45+ minutes of opening statements, and finally when the General is given a chance to get a word in edgewise, he has a dead mic.

Part of the problem is that they are holding it in the big room since 100+ Congress critters have chosen to show up.

5 minute break to fix the mic problem. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen made sure to get the MoveOn.org "Betray Us" ad in the Congressional Record, and Rep. Hunter (or maybe it was Rep. Burton, I forget) demanded that each and every Dem representative on the committee go on record denouncing this calumny against Gen. Petraeus.

We'll see if any of that makes it in the NYT, WaPo, LAT or on MSNBC, CNN or the networks.

(overheard conversation (Skelton's mic is working a bit too well) between Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Skelton and Rep. Burton who admonished him to clear out the Code Pink folks before Petraeus testifies "Duncan knows I don't need a fuckin' lecture")

06 September 2007

Election 2008, Fred is IN! (I'm feigning surprise, can you tell?)

A campaign in 2007-8 based on a strong belief in Federalism?

I want to believe.

He's not running for President, he's running for James Madison.

I'm cool with that.

Specific proposals I'd like to see in support of stronger federalism, dismantle more than half the cabinet level positions.

A cabinet of six is plenty, State, Defense, AG, combine Interior/Agriculture/Energy into the Department of Gaia, combine Treasury/Commerce/Labor into the Department of Prosperity, Combine Homeland Security/Transportation and call it Transportation, and eliminate HUD, HHS, Education and Veteran Affairs, not because those things are unimportant, but because all those things would be better served as primarily (if not purely) state and local concerns, and the massive reduction of the cabinet is fully justifiable on 10th amendment grounds.

That's what I'd like to see as a first step towards believing Sen. Thompson's federalism. Promise to slash the size of the Executive branch, and I'll be very impressed.

Another proposal I'd like to see would be a reining in of the creeping (and creepy) influence of the Vice President. It wasn't just VP Cheney who did this, VP Gore did some pretty shady things, too. The VP should just be an understudy, and senatorial tie-breaker, nothing more. I'd love to see a Presidential candidate promise to gimp the newly muscular Vice Presidency before he goes through the selection process.

Do those two things, and I'm liable to turn this into an all Fred08.com all the time website.

04 September 2007

My World Has Been Turned Upside Down . . .

. . . Drudge has posted an earth-shattering thing on his site just now, a photo (above) of a young Hillary Clinton, presumably from her Wellesley days, where she looks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . kinda hot, not even kinda hot, really, really hot.

(I'm thrown for a loop)

The photo is to illustrate one of those 'breaking story' blurbs he does from time to time in anticipation of an article that doesn't have a link yet. In this case, the blurb is, "NYT PLANS YET ANOTHER HILLARY 1968 FLASHBACK; NOTES FROM WELLESLEY... DEVELOPING... ".

Don't know yet if it's a hit piece to prop up Sen. Obama's flagging campaign, or a coronational piece designed to rally 'progressives' around their presumed standard-bearer against the eeevil Republicans. We'll find out later tonight, I guess.

LOL Edwards?!?


(figured I'd give DRUDGE his headline up front)

Original image courtesy the Edwards 2008 Flickr page (the Iowa- Labor Day set), and big mistake allowing "remix" ing in the creative commons license for these images. Not all remixers are your friends. Some might even find your ideas regarding subjects such as health care rather astonishing.

03 September 2007

No LOLling on Labor Day

Happy Labor Day (you commies)!

No lolling today, but I'll find something to LOL at tomorrow, for sure.

02 September 2007

LOL Norsk Gangsta?!?

Bendik Stuevold Enger is big pimpin', he's a norsk gangsta!!! I guess at Bjørnsletta School in Oslo he can get away with a smile like that and still be gangsta (article about a newly established dresscode, from which I borrowed this photo, can be found here).

If he wants to bring his pimp game to the United States, two things he needs to work on, first, lose the smile, work on the sullen glare, second, slouch more, his posture is far too good for a proper gangsta pose.

(I'm not going to comment about the girls by his side, cause there's no possible comment within the template of the popular pimp game tropes that wouldn't make me sound like a vile dirty old man)

OK, I'll just make one comment by way of quoting the article:
Young women at the school, meanwhile, note that bare stomachs are out of style now. Some rather enjoy showing off their bustlines, however, in low-cut tight-fitting tops. "It's just fashion, and our way of dressing," said 14-year-old Ingvild Peersen. "And there's a difference between school and work."

(emphasis mine)

Also, when an individual school tries to ban this behavior on campus, it's no big deal, but when a city council tries to pass LAWS making it illegal to dress in a certain manner for all citizens, then that's just plain stupid. And here's a pro-sagging column from police Lt. Steve Rose in today's Atlanta Constitution Journal.

01 September 2007

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week One)

It's the new improved 2007 edition of Weekly NFL Related Humiliation. I'm sticking with five match-ups a week, all season. Makes doing this more manageable. To make things simple, It'll be the three games they show in the L.A. market during the day on Sunday (usually CBS and FOX alternate which gets to show two games), plus the Sunday and Monday night match-ups.

For weeks where they add Thursday or Saturday games, I'll just pick the 5 most intriguing match-ups.

For week one, NBC has a big NO at IND game on Thursday. The first Sunday has CBS broadcasting NE at NYJ while FOX shows PHI at GB and CHI at SD. The Sunday Night game on NBC is NYG at DAL, and Monday we have ESPN showing two games BAL at CIN and ARI at SF.

I'm going to ignore two of those games, it's opening week, so all sorts of bonus coverage, seven games are being broadcast instead of the usual five. I'm only going to pick five games a week, so I'll ignore New England at NYJ cause the Pats always leave me bewitched and befuddled. For the other game I'll ignore, I'm going with NYG at Dallas, cause I don't really care about either of those teams, and expect both of them to under perform as the season drags on. So, the picks are as follows (lines based off of the Leroy's lines as reported at vegasinsider.com as of 6:30pm PDT on Sat Sept 1, I'll add the link to the ESPN match-up boxes when they become available):

New Orleans at Indianapolis(-5.0): New Orleans +5.0
Indianapolis has lost some major pieces from their Superbowl winning team, and complacency has a habit of seeping in. New Orleans on the other hand either played way above their heads last year and were a fluke, or are a team on the rise. I'm going with team on the rise. I think the Saints will upset the defending champions on 'ring night', and do so with some ease. Side prediction, 2 TDs for Reggie Bush, and at least 2 interceptions for Peyton Manning.

Philadelphia at Green Bay(+3.0): Philadelphia -3.0
McNabb is healthy, and Favre is really, really old. Beyond the QBs, the Eagles should still have one of the better defenses while the Packers have an improving defense that might manage to keep scores low. But since Favre is going to turn the ball over plenty, they'll be on the field too much. Philly will win this, and cover the spread as a road favorite.

Chicago at San Diego(-6.0): San Diego -6.0
San Diego looks poised for success, but then they do have Norv Turner at head coach. Chicago looks ready to repeat as NFC Champions, but they do have Rex Grossman at QB. Which will screw up their team more? For this one game, I predict that the Grossman factor will outweigh the Turner factor and the Chargers will prevail by at least two touchdowns.

Baltimore at Cincinnati(-3.0): Cincinnati -3.0
This ought to be a good game. Cincinnati should improve over last seasons disappointing performance. Baltimore on the other hand were a regular season juggernaut only to find themselves get smoked in the playoffs. That Baltimore defense hasn't gotten any worse, and the offense ought to be good enough to put 17-20 points on any defense. 17 points ought to be enough most weeks. It won't be against Cincinnati at home, however. The Bengals will win a high scoring game. Expect a final score around 38-28 with the home crowd leaving happy.

Arizona at San Francisco(-3.0): Arizona +3.0
Arizona could win their division this year. I can't believe I just typed that. I'll erase that if they start out 0-6. But they won't. They're solid on both sides of the ball, should be able to run a balanced offense with James running well, and Leinart growing into his role as a star QB in the NFL. San Francisco isn't going to be awful, but Arizona is going to be much better with a new coach, and a new system. This week will be the first test.

Another prediction, either the Saints, or Jaguars will be in Southern California by 2011, quite possibly both teams (if both come, one will be in LA, the other in Orange County or the Inland Empire).

LOL Lutz?!?

This makes a lot more sense if you imagine that GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, has a habit of speaking about himself in the first person like Sen. Bob Dole.

Why am I picking on GM today?

No good reason. Just liked the photo when I saw it at Autoblog, it was calling out to be defaced. GM has actually done pretty well this year sales wise, but that's mainly cause the sharp downturn in SUV and truck sales in the first quarter reversed itself in the 2nd quarter (and sales look strong in those segments for the 3rd quarter). Once gas prices stabilized then slid back, GM's fortunes rebounded.

The company still has massive structural problems, massive image problems across their brands, but especially at their 'luxury' divisions of Buick and Cadillac, and despite making a better product of late, lag in perceived value against their rivals.

Looks like Toyota won't take over #1 in worldwide car sales in 2007, but it almost definitely will in 2008.

Bob Lutz has done a good job, but he is 75 years old, and the company he helps run is still in a lot of trouble. Still, at least they're not as bad off as Ford or DaimlerChrysler.

Paraphrasing Bob Lutz . . .

Mickey Kaus speculates regarding recent satisfaction stats regarding some American brands like Buick, Cadillac and Lincoln-Mecury.

Mickey's speculation in a nutshell, those cars are bought by the elderly, who don't demand a lot from their cars, and therefore are easily satisfied.

(BMW uses the counter of that argument to justify their consistently low JD Power numbers, 'our customers demand absolute perfection and are more willing than most to complain aka our customers are major league assholes')

Kaus links to a video clip of GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz where he boasts that at GM they "shoot for infinite life" with regards to vehicle reliability (at least with the luxury brands).

Of course it's easier for a vehicle to have "infinite life" if the lifetime of their main customers is more limited. For the average buyer of a new Buick, you could reach near "infinite life" with a car that can go for 75,000 miles. I'm having trouble finding recent stats on this, but for the sake of argument let's say the average 70 year old Buick driver no longer drives more than 5,000 miles a year, and at 80+ years old that same Buick driver drops to 2,000 miles a year (I don't think those are unreasonable assumptions), so if you bought a Buick on your 70th birthday, and averaged 5,000 miles till your 80 then 2,000 miles after that, you wouldn't reach 70,000 until your 90th birthday, and even by your 100th birthday your car would only have 90,000 miles. Meanwhile, there are plenty of Toyota drivers who would do 70,000 miles in 3-5 years. To paraphrase Bob Lutz, 'I'm confident that our cars will outlast our customers' (but that's not a good thing).

To put it in Yakov Smirnoff terms:

"You buy Toyota, you outlive car"
"You buy Buick, car outlives you!"