Ah HA! (OR Nefarious Voicemail)

July 31, 2009

Turns out that Ezra is irritated by the obnoxious voicemail wench who instructs you on how to use voicemail, every time you go to leave a message.

I’ve long thought that this was a scam (like almost all other mobile phone silliness) designed to keep their consumers on the phone longer, and thus utilize more precious minutes. I was most sensitive to this when I was using a pay by the minute plan. I often found myself making 61 or 62 second calls thanks to the obnoxious voicemail wench and an overly long pause after she was done, but before the actual beep.

Now, it turns out I was right. Bastards!

several attendees (cell executives) admitted to me, point-blank, that the voicemail instructions exist primarily to make you use up airtime

Precision (OR Department of Good Ideas)

July 13, 2009

I must be going through major sports withdrawal… I check the Tour de France standings each morning, I’m actually a little sad that I won’t be able to watch the British Open this weekend, and I check ESPN.com for some piece of interesting sports related news much too often.

Today, my search for interesting sports related news was found on cnnsi.com as Chris Cooley (TE for the Washington Redskins) filled in for Peter King in his MMQB column. He calls it “Smart Football”:

The system begins by placing sensors in both tips of the ball and then it works with a laser or GPS system. At that point, the possibilities are endless. Technology is so advanced that determining anything that happens on the field with the ball is possible. The sensors indicate the instant the ball crosses the goal line, or any line for that matter. This eliminates officials having to slog in from the sideline, peer over 22 enormous men and try to determine from memory where the ball may have reached.

It doesn’t have to stop with the end zone, the league can sensor the first-down markers, as well.

This sounds like a really good idea to me. I’ve long mocked the contrast between the apparent precision of measuring for a first down and the inherent imprecision of the ball placement. Adding some computer aided precision could only improve matters.

Sure, there could be some issues, but it would have to be better than the human eye. Plus, we could eliminate challenges to the spot of the ball.

All in all, this sounds like a good idea to me… as long as Fox doesn’t get ahold of the frequency of the chips in the ball and superimpose a CGI tail onto the football.

Long Time (OR What are yooouuuu doing?)

July 5, 2009

Wow… it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I’d say “too long” but something tells me it’ll be a while again before I’m back here. Maybe it’s that summer time, maybe it’s that work is crazy busy, maybe it’s the the news never changes… or maybe it’s that I’ve finally reached my limit of “political junkiness”…

It’s been about a year and half that I’ve paid pretty close attention to what’s been happening in national politics, and while the election cycle was interesting, if disturbing in its inanity. We’re now established in the governing cycle, and there’s no reason not to believe that the next year plus will be much like the last 6 months: Republican brainless obstructionism, Democratic policy conservatism, and MSM idiocy.

Anyway, I really can’t stand it any more… our economy continues to get worse, the climate continues on it’s irrevocable path toward catastrophic change, our health care “system” continues to degrade, and our political institutions aren’t equipped to take effective corrective action. Paying close attention only depresses me.

On the other hand, there was a fantastic tennis match earlier today. I fear that Andy Roddick’s performance is going to get lost in all the talk about Roger Federer breaking Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam titles. You’ll be able to find plenty of stories about Federer, so I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge Roddick.

The NBC bobbleheads mentioned in passing that Roddick played the best match of his career two days after playing the best match of his career. As great as he played against Andy Murray in the semis, he was even better today. His serve, which has always been powerful, was a phenomenal weapon today, but it wasn’t just that. He played so well behind his serve. The fact that, until the last game of the match, he was not broken by the best player on the planet is absolutely incredible.

And Federer was on his game, too. Yet, Roddick broke him twice. He was patient, and did very well picking his spots in which to attack, and made his share of shots. The only thing I think he might have done better was attack more on his forehand.

Regardless, however, Roddick is playing the best tennis of his life and once he recovers from the heartbreak of the loss today, I feel like he’ll be a threat to win the US Open. He’ll certainly still need to get past Federer and probably Nadal, but if he keeps playing the way he’s playing he’s proven today that he’s capable of it.

So, here’s to Andy Roddick, who, I think, surprised everybody today, for giving us yet another highly memorable gem of a Wimbledon final. It sucks to lose, but you played your heart out in the match of your life. Well done, Andy.


June 9, 2009

Fun game so far – Magic by 4 – make that 3 with Lewis’ toe on the line –  with 1:06 to play at the time of writing.

Both teams just hitting shots, making passes, and filling up the basket in every way imaginable.

Coming off a conversation with my esteemed coblogger the other night – is there such a thing as an ideal basketball player?  For instance, for the frisbee players out there, if I could clone 7 copies of ca. 2003 Mike Grant (top player on Furious George), I would put that team up against any other team you put together.  Grant was about 6’2″, lightning-quick, massive ups, with excellent throws, and hucks, from both the forehand and backhand side.  He was as close as you can come, as far as I’m concerned, to the ideal Ultimate player.  Sure, he would probably get roasted by your occasional squirrely handler type, but I maintain that his speed and length would cause enough turns, and there’s no way you could shut down the “Mike Grant-swings-to-Mike Grant-hucks-to-Mike Grant deep” game.  I maintain that team would be unbeatable.

It’s harder to know if you could do the same thing in basketball.  Who brings the ball up court on a team of 2001 Shaqs?  Would a Shaq just run rampant through a team of Kobes or LeBrons?

Watching the series, I might just put up a team of 5 “Good Lamar Odoms” against any other team you could put together.  That dude is amazing.  I don’t know if it’s the fact that he’s fueled by Twizzlers or what, but that guy is some wacky combo of creepy length, quick hands, 3-point range, and smart post play.  I think 5 of him would be very tough to stop.  Sure, Odom can’t stop classic Shaq 1-on-1, but the double is effective, and if you have a team of lanky Odoms to close out on the 3-point shooters, that’s pretty hard to beat!

It’s a shame he doesn’t seem able to do it on a nightly basis, but he definitely seems to have the physical skillset to be one of the top NBA talents…

Best News I’ve Seen All Week

June 9, 2009

Via Occasional Reader M.D., news that it’s time to back away…from…the Nalgene and just go drink a damn beer.

Science now says that beer, yes beer, is more effective for rehydrating the body than plain ol’ water. I think I’m not alone when I say that this qualifies as news on par with peace in the Middle East.

Researchers at Granada University in Spain found this Nobel Prize-worthy discovery…

World’s Worst Job

June 9, 2009

Via friend D.C., Massage Therapist For The Supermodels:

God Bless My Underpants

June 2, 2009

I guess this falls under the old ‘any publicity is good publicity’ rubric, right?

My beloved sport of Ultimate once again hits the pages of ESPN, this time on Page 2, in a story by Mary Buckheit about how the Oregon Ducks, ranked #3 at the time, were suspended by their school, with the support of the UPA, for playing a naked point against the Oregon B team at a tournament.

The last straw for UO administrators was the incident at Oregon State. The Ducks’ A and B teams were scheduled to play each other at the end of a drizzly afternoon, but opted to play a quick “naked point” in lieu of a whole game. Five players took off their shirts. Five others removed their shorts and underwear. A passerby filed a complaint to the safety department, and a letter detailing the incident ultimately landed in the student affairs office in Eugene. Before long, the committee which oversees Oregon club sports decided to pull the plug on the team’s season, and the Ultimate Players Association, the sport’s governing body, agreed with the decision.

Since I’m very out of the Ultimate loop, I hadn’t heard this story, but it sounds very, well, Oregon-like.  One of the Oregon players once deliberately pissed on the foot of the UPA’s Executive Director.  I wish I were kidding about this, but I’m not.  Oregon has been, for as long as I can remember them being on the national scene, one of those teams who feels it is their right, if not their responsibility, to make misbehavior at tournaments a defining feature of their team.

So, good on the Oregon administration, and good on the UPA, for trying to set this team along a vaguely more constructive path.  I doubt it’ll have much effect – but it can’t hurt to try.