Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Best and Worst of the Olympics

I love the Olympics although, I must admit, I don't have time to follow them as closely as I would like. Here are my thoughts on the best and worst of the 2010 Winter games so far.

The Best
It's the sheer drama.

Years and years of dedication and sacrifice from the athletes coming down to a brief moment of competition. A lifetime of hopes and dreams are either fulfilled or dashed before our eyes. NBC does an incredible job of researching and presenting the back-stories so that average viewers like me, with no knowledge of these sports or the athletes who compete in them, can connect with the moment and feel the weight of the event.

Call me a sissy but I can almost guarantee that if I tune in and watch 30 minutes of Olympic coverage, I will tear up at least once.

The Worst
It's the frickin "medal count".

Isn't it all about sportsmanship and doing your best in the spirit of fair competition and international goodwill? Do we really need to track such a meaningless and misleading statistic as number of medals won by each nation? Couldn't we at least adjust for the number of events in which a particular nation competes before "listing the leaders" based on absolute medal count?

I'll bet you can't find a medal count in South Korea or Finland or any other country that sends only a relative few athletes to represent their countries in select events.

While it is the 2010 games that have sparked this post, my "best" and "worst" are the same at every Olympics.

Benedict Brown

Contributed by Auggie
The honeymoon is over. Scott Brown is now being called “Benedict” Brown because he GASP!! broke party ranks and voted for a bill not created by his own party. His campaign contributors feel betrayed and have disowned him, and for good measure he is now an involuntary member of the RINO club (Republican In Name Only). And you wonder why nothing gets done in Congress? This tactic has become all too common among BOTH parties. In a nutshell, the strategy goes something like this: prevent the other party from taking action by any means possible (filibuster is preferred choice), this leads to the public perception that said party is incompetent, spoiler party wins more seats the next time around. The partisanship in our government is worse now than I can ever remember (of course, I'm not very old). This is why I’m an independent. I like to be able to have an opinion without checking with my party first.

We should fire all the idiots and start over. I’m Auggie and I approve this message.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger News Conference

I know I shared my thoughts on this earlier but here are some additional comments as well as my reaction to his news conference this morning.

Pre-Conference Thoughts

PGA players who say Tiger is selfish for holding his conference during the Accenture Tournament have lost touch. Perhaps each of them would like to give back 3/4 of the money they have earned since Tiger joined the tour because his presence in and promotion of the sport earned that money for them.

The real golf fans, those who followed the sport pre-Tiger, will still be enthusiastically tracking the leader board at Accenture whether they tuned into Tiger's announcement or not. The other fans that came to the tour only to see Tiger (constituting about 75% of the sport's recent base) were never Ernie Els fans to begin with.

As a casual fan, I was not even aware of the Accenture Tournament until I heard the whiners playing the selfish card.

Apologies: To all those who think Tiger owes anyone an apology, let's consider that. Bear in mind, there is a difference between who would "appreciate" an apology and who is "owed" an apology; we are discussing the latter group.

He hurt his wife and kids so they are owed apologies. If he made promises about representing a corporate brand with integrity and moral character then he owes his sponsors an apology. I know they are a vilified group, but I would say that if he lied to his mistresses, he owes them an apology. He also seems to have embarrassed his mother and his wife's family so I would put them on the list. All total, that's about 30 people and a dozen corporations.

I am sure those parents who held him up as a role model to their children would appreciate an apology but they cannot claim that he owes them one.

The public in general has no case for an apology whatsoever. Nor does the PGA tour. Nor do the players on the PGA tour.

Post-Conference Thoughts

I wish he hadn't read his statement but I understand the need to be careful with word choice and to get his message out accurately.

I think the highlight was his admission that he felt he was "above the rules" and entitled to privileges. That's laying your soul pretty bare.

I think he will get blasted by the media for repeating that he won't answer questions about personal details. As I said before, people are curious but don't have the right to know. The press will take his defiant stance as a challenge and it will likely ignite their ongoing furor to bring him down.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Things I've Been Muttering About

We all have busy lives. I presume your lives ebb and flow much like mine and that, from time to time, hobbies like blogging must be ignored for short periods. Had I found a bit more free time over the past two weeks, I probably would have posted my thoughts on the following:

- Peyton Manning leaving the field with out shaking hands after the Super Bowl
- Superbowl advertising 1 (the Tebow flap)
- Superbowl advertising 2 (extreme violence in movie trailers)
- US citizenship process
- Howard Dean's whooping scream that cost him the nomination
- Marathon training
- Home ownership

I'm still riled up about a couple of these so they may become blog topics in the coming days.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Enduring Super Bowl Image

Don't let it be said that Den is not in touch with his inner schoolgirl. I think this is the enduring image of the SuperBowl and I love Drew Brees.

A cool Brees

Contributed by Auggie
Happy Football fan

Only 210 days until opening day 2010! Can’t wait. In the meantime, here are some leftover Super Bowl thoughts to close out the 09/10 season.

• Well, its official, Drew Brees is now “in the conversation” when discussing the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. In case you didn’t know, “in the conversation” is media speak meaning you ARE one of the best, and can legitimately be mentioned with the other anointed ones. For the record, it doesn’t matter how good you really are, you can only be “in the conversation” if you have The Ring. This is the word of the media – amen. Brees clinched his spot in the QB pantheon with a 32-39 / 288 yds / 2 TD MVP performance against the Colts. There were no electrifying pass plays for the highlight reel, but he played spectacularly within the game plan. A quick side note: had he had produced identical stats in a losing effort because, say, his defense had totally collapsed, then he would NOT be an elite QB. Are you following this logic? For more commentary on the media’s inability to grasp the team concept see Den’s earlier post.
• In any case, I am happy for the Saints in general and for Brees in particular. I get the feeling that he doesn’t need the media validation to feel content, but as a fan I’m glad he’ll have it. Over the past few years I believe Brees has played the QB position as well or better than anyone in the league, and he has done so with class and professionalism. Of course, I would say the same about Manning. Sill, I wanted the Saints to win for a multitude of reasons which I can’t go into here because the word-count police [Ryer] will nail me.
• Interesting how Pierre Garcon’s 2nd quarter drop on 3 and 4 went from the “underrated” key moment of the game to the “overrated” key moment of the game. So many journalists have jumped on that moment as a turning point that you would think he was about to waltz the remaining 65 yards for a TD to put the game out of reach. One problem; if you’re going to play the “what-if” game then you need to mention Marques Colston’s drop a few plays earlier that would have given the Saints a first down in Colt’s territory. They were force to punt instead. For some reason no one mentions that moment - but why ruin a good story with logic.
• Some people have already jumped on Manning for his 4th quarter interception, but sometimes you need to give the defensive player credit. Not every interception is a choke even if it happens in the Super Bowl. Tracy Porter knew they had a blitz on, he knew Manning would need to release it quickly, and he knew the quick slant to Wayne was a likely response. He may have taken a gamble by jumping the route but he made a great play at the right moment and it essentially sealed the game. When you hear about teams that are good but don’t have enough “playmakers” that’s what they’re talking about. Porter made the play just like he did two weeks earlier against Minnesota to force OT.

The Saints rise from NFL doormat to champion gives hope to other franchises. Can it be long before Detroit is hosting a parade?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Shark Attack

I would say, off the cuff, that I probably hear news about a shark attack about once per year. I have no objective measure of how often I hear such news but that's my guess. Note that I live in a surfer-rich region so such news is certainly emphasized in my area.

Given this, I was not surprised when I came across a list of the number of accidental deaths in the USA, ranked by cause, and saw that shark attacks cause an average of about one death per year.

I was surprised, however, by many other items on the list. Here it is:

Deaths per Year
44,757 - Car Accidents
19,456 - Accidental Poisoning
3,306 - Drowning
742 - Bike Accidents
273 - Sun Stroke
130 - Collisions with Deer
47 - Lightening Strikes
31 - Dog Attacks
24 - Train Crashes
11 - Fireworks
1 - Shark Attacks

So let's see....

For Car accidents: that's about one person every 5 minutes. Doesn't surprise me that it leads the list but I might have guessed the actual number to be even higher.

Poisoning: you kidding me? More than 50 people a day? Does this include drug overdoses? What are people ingesting out there?

Sun Stroke: what exactly is that? Maybe these people actually drank poison and merely happened to be in the sun when they died.

Lightening Strikes: this really happens nearly once per week? I know about the urban legends and, as a former golfer I was aware of the general danger, but has anyone ever known anyone who knew anyone whose actual cause of death was lightening? Doubtful...

Fireworks: only 11? I would have guessed a few hundred on 4th of July, a few hundred more on Cinco de Mayo, a couple a day in West Virginia all year long, and a smattering of others around the new year and Bubba's birthday.

By the way, that shark photo above is a fake.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

If Air Travel Worked Like Healthcare

This puts it all into perspective: