- Member for
- 6 years 6 weeks
- View recent blog entries
|1 week 3 days ago||Another one who should not be forgotten||
The first time I saw him pitch it took me a few minutes to realize that he was catching and throwing with the same hand. He was so slick and matter-of-fact about the switch that it almost escaped notice.
Despite all that he's accomplished, he always seemed grateful and never took any of it for granted. Truly a Wolverine to be remembered.
|1 week 4 days ago||After the usual things||
like college funds for my nieces/nephews/cousins, pay off all the mortgages and so forth, one of the things I'd do is put a fast specialty courier service on retainer. Once a week or so, I'd have them pick up Eduardo's, Gino's East, Zingermann's, etc. and fly it out to California (half-baked, ready to reheat as needed, etc.). Because when cost is removed as an obstacle a bunch of things that you'd never consider really doing suddenly aren't all that hard.
The other things depend on how much money I end up with. If it's really half a billion, then I would find out exactly how much money it would cost to eradicate malaria (shout out to Nothing But Nets), dig sustainable wells for every village without one (shout out to charity:water), or electrify Africa, but those aren't projects you can do for a "measly" $50M.
|2 weeks 5 days ago||Rudy T rocks||
I met him at the Johnny Orr/Bill Frieder camps when I was a kid. Hope he's remembered for more than the victim of a devastating punch.
|2 weeks 6 days ago||Ausmus isn't great but Caldwell is blowing his chance||
The Lions had a chance with Bridgewater's injury and the Packers' aging roster, but don't look like they can seize the day. Still, we're all of four games in, so he probably won't get canned.
Ausmus was not the problem with the Tigers this year. Their two big free-agent buys both failed - one somewhat expectedly (Zimmerman, because pitchers both get injured more often and their injuries have more impact on their play) and the other not. Upton has been a sabermetric darling for a long time but his first half looks a lot like one of his brother's bad years, and that's definitely not a good omen. They did better than I thought this year because Verlander reinvented himself and Cabrera and Kinsler held off Father Time again, and then they got good seasons from young pitching.
Next year is interesting - the Indians are young and the Royals offense looks old with Gordon trailing Upton on the path downhill, but the Tigers aren't going to get better by standing still. In fact, with every passing day the decline, perhaps catastrophic, for Cabrera, Kinsler and Verlander gets closer.
The Tigers are in a bad spot because their window will close, and they're already spending a ton on underperforming players, without a lot of young talent coming up. (Look at Cleveland and compare ages and performance to see what I mean.). Short of discovering the next Mike Trout (and actually developing him and not trading him away) to give them an All-Star bat at rookie prices, they'll have to spend and they might not be able to. There's not a lot of great bets on the market and at some point even the quest for a title will bow before the odds of hitting on a 100M bet on double-zero.
Now given all that, they might swap managers anyway, and getting a really good manager might add a whole win to their total over the year. If they can get someone really good that might help.
|4 weeks 2 days ago||Press conferences are fan base litmus tests||
Things are going great? The coaches are funny and accommodate the questions.
Things not going so well? The coaches are not cooperating and stonewalling.
It's a Rorshach inkblot - you will leave with whatever you brought with you.
|6 weeks 1 day ago||Not sure what we can do||
I hope tech finds answers, because when people say in all seriousness that a kid who can't legally drink or vote in most places has had only two traumatic brain injuries and that's perfectly normal, we've jumped the shark.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||Freshman LT has me worried||
Not because he'll be a disaster. Not because I don't think he'll be OK.
I worry because whether or not we have a successful season comes down whether or not our LT can handle McDowell and Bosa Part II. Our expectations are rightly sky-high, but we will have a "disappointing" 10-win season if our offense flames out in our rivalry games.
Our road to any goal - NC, B1G, whatever - requires beating OSU in OSU. Matching our LT weakness (even if it would be a strength at other times/places!) against their pash-rush strength is not the best first step. I know Harbaugh can scheme around it, but that puts him in the hole in one of the few coaching chess matches he's not rated to dominate.
TLDR: Our season might very well come down to whether or not Brederson can block Bosa in Columbus. Without the jerseys, where would you place your bets?
|8 weeks 3 days ago||Defend The Bastards||
- written on a check from a Miami man to assist in the ACLU's defense of the Nazi party's right to march in Skokie, Illinois in 1977
This is not a new problem, and it doesn't have an easy solution. The line between free speech and hate speech, safe spaces and insulated bubbles, constructive criticism and vindictive harangue, is often blurry. Reasonable people can draw them in very different places.
What I would hope is mostly this - that universities are safe-from-physical-harm places for unpopular opinions, places where people can speak without being subject to the Heckler's Veto, and places where "I don't agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it" is honored.
I would hope that bullying, shaming, intimidation or any other personal, non-responsive argument is not tolerated, whether the opinion being expressed is popular or not.
|9 weeks 6 days ago||And this is why people worry about the OL||
Our entire season will likely come down to beating OSU on the road. We're betting that a year of growth more than offsets the loss of our best blocker, and that OSU loses more than it gains in that year of growth as well.
The other question I have is whether or not OSU can adjust if we do manage to block. Last year they simply played press coverage with guys behind and let Bosa wreck us. This year they have Schiano as a DC and as much cr*p as he gets he does know defense better than the departed DC; they're likely better equipped for a chess match.
Still and all, the real issue comes back to talent - even Harbaugh can't make up for a deficit this wide. The flips side is that if we can at least draw at the line of scrimmage, Harbaugh and Finch can win it from there. Can we make it a chess match?
|10 weeks 2 days ago||There is a large dichotomy between our outcomes||
If we "only" win ten games, the team will be a disappointment to many. And we almost certainly can't make the B1G championship and hence the playoffs without beating OSU in Columbus, which makes the OSU quote above particularly relevant. Yeah, they lost a ton of guys, but the last time we beat OSU in Columbus was so long ago our incoming recruiting class would be hard pressed to remember anything from that time, much less the game.
Whether or not we're a playoff team comes down to holding serve and then beating OSU on the road.
|10 weeks 3 days ago||529 plan, other savings and debt||
Just like everyone else, we have been saving as much as we can towards college plans and will see what my son's options are when he gets closer. He's eight, so we have time, but are doing what we can now.
|11 weeks 3 days ago||The Tiger hero is either Verlander or Cabrera||
Depending on whether you value exceeding expectations or total production. Romine is a utility guy, and it's great that he can play everywhere, but he's not good enough to play everyday, and that means he just can't be that useful.
The best versatile players are more in the mold of Tony Phillips, Ben Zobrist, or (maybe) Brock Holt - guys who are good enough to play everyday, good hitters, and good enough at a variety of positions to allow the manager lots of options.
|11 weeks 3 days ago||Life is too short to apologize for what you like or dislike||
Never hide your passions for another's good opinion. You'll only lose it anyway when the truth comes out (or maybe you won't!) and in the meantime you'll be unhappy and on edge trying to be someone you're not.
I appreciate that might be easy for me to say, but I assure you I have experience here and finally being upfront about what I liked and disliked was a huge relief.
A distant relative was visiting his grandmother and when she offered to make him lunch and asked what he wanted, he, being a polite and well-bahaved child, said whatever she made would be fine. So he got tuna fish and being polite and well-behaved, choked it down even though he disliked it.
Then it turned out that he ended up visiting Grandma every week for a year or so. Grandma, being a loving person, remembered that he had had tuna fish last time, and proceeded to make it each time. And each time he ate it.
Finally, Grandma, Mom and child all visited at the same time, and when Mom offered to help with lunch:
So the moral here is be polite but honest, or you'll get tuna fish (or have to ignore the game) every time.
|11 weeks 5 days ago||We good||
Whether we are great or not comes down to beating OSU in their house, at nearly the height of their powers.
I predict 11-1, and if that loss isn't to OSU we will be in the playoff.
|13 weeks 1 day ago||Without knowing either one personally||
I would guess that the list of things Harbaugh wouldn't do to win more football games is shorter than the equivalent list for Brady Hoke. Not that either of their lists is long - they chose this life - but Michigan always demands more wins, and if you can't get them one way ...
|13 weeks 4 days ago||The B12 has Texas and Oklahoma||
who will not join the P12 or B1G (they've turned down overtures before). Any division of the B12 has to pass muster with Texas and probably Oklahoma; the ACC doesn't have any schools as desirable as either one of those (especially since ND is an independent).
In fact, without expansion, the B1G TV deal, and our hiring Harbaugh, there's a case to be made that the B1G would be OSU and an upstart MSU holding together a conference weaker overall than the B12.
Texas and Oklahoma aren't bolting anywhere, especially not somewhere where they'd be second fiddle. They're more likely to accrete a conference around them than to join someone else.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||The other motive to expand||
Is to become less likely to be the conference left out during the oft-predicted future TV bubble bursting/realignment. It seems much more likely that the ACC will be the one to fall, but a bigger Big XII is another step away from that. The B1G, SEC and P12 are all in good positions so it's not hard to see a scenario where the AC gets divvied up and Virginia gets added to the B12 because of West Virginia and other eastern schools they have. This is also a hidden benefit of Rutgers and Maryland for us - we have "dibs" on UConn @ Tenagra, when the walls fell.
|13 weeks 6 days ago||I used to play pickup with a guy in his late fifties||
He couldn't keep up with the fastest of us, but he could outshoot anyone on the court and outlast most of us. Phenomenal shape and while his shot was unorthodox, he'd had forty-plus years to work out all the kinks.
I played moderately competitive ultimate frisbee into my forties, but that's not unusual for that league.
|14 weeks 2 days ago||My eight-year-old loves Ticket To Ride||
Aside from many of the upstream mentions (Settlers, Power Grid, Martian Rails, Puerto Rico, etc.), I will add
Titan: The Fantasy Monster Slugathon
It is the best game Avalon Hill ever made (yes, I mean that) and is currently made by Valley Games, with a play-online iOS app. (Prophetdotmac on Game Center if you're up for a game.)
|14 weeks 3 days ago||Discouraging fouls is tricky||
For example, if dunks are worth three, anyone who might dunk will get fouled. Even if they get three free throws, a 90% FT shooter will miss at least one more than a quarter of the time. Most of the league doesn't shoot nearly that well, so fouling becomes a better strategy. Plus they might not call it!
As for three seconds, one of the reasons the league shoots threes is because they can't just hold the ball until their behemoth has bench-pressed the other behemoth and gotten position for a dunk/layin. Restrictions breed creativity in small doses; in this case between three seconds and the three pointer, it's worth shooting from outside even if you only hit a third of your shots. Change the rules, and the efficiency of inside shots goes up (and the number of fouls again, as fouling people becomes a more effective strategy), so people start packing it in again.
The trick to reducing fouls is to make the penalty higher. Make breakaway fouls a goaltend plus possession, so it's not worth it unless you really can play defense. Similarly, make off the ball fouls in the last five minutes also add a technical foul - so one free throw by the fouled side's best shooter, and the ball, to be taken after the penalty for the foul, if any. Now you can only foul the guy with the ball.
The flip side of that is that free throw shooting becomes less and less important for anyone not handling the ball a lot - now it's important for everyone.
|14 weeks 3 days ago||No bad accidents||
But one shining moment of stupidity.
I was really bummed out one year around the holidays and decided to go look out at Boston from the roof of the Little Dome. It's a shallow dome on the roof of a four story building at MIT, and at the time it was a common rite of passage to find the right sequence of non-locked doors that would get you out on the roof and climb the dome. Normally this would not have been a big deal ... But it was winter in Boston, and the roof and dome were covered with snow and ice. Making it to the top was quite the challenge but the view was spectacular. I felt better and went back to my room and went to sleep.
Next morning and I wake up with the WTF-were-you-thinking!? reaction. Took a few minutes to get that thought out of my head and move on. Whoever looks after fools and drunkards was working overtime that night ...
|14 weeks 6 days ago||Maybe Richard II||
To see who really killed the Princes in the Tower.
Amelia Earhart and Jimmy Hoffa if I can survive the experience.
If I get to change things ... whoof. Maybe with the President, trying to convince him not to commit to fighting a jungle war halfway around the world, with crippling military restrictions, with no defined objective and no end in sight?(1) It's never been clear to me that WWII could be prevented by killing Hitler - there never seems to be a shortage of insane charismatic men who will use the angry and downtrodden and pervert their just grievances into violence and oppression. (WWI for similar reasons - the interlocking web of alliances and grievances was going to explode sooner or later.)
It's possible that my visit might be best spent influencing Chairman Mao(!) - that would be quite the trick.
What historical inflection points turn on a single person I could influence for the better?
|14 weeks 6 days ago||Gianni by Robert Silverberg||
Explores this idea but with Gianni Pergolesi (prolific composer of the Stabat Mater and others until he died at 25). Neat story: http://www.majipoor.com/work.php?id=374
|15 weeks 4 days ago||A one loss M team has a hard time making the playoffs||
Because with one loss, it most likely means we beat one of MSU/OSU and lost to the other. That in turn makes it likely that whoever we lost to wins our division, and without a conference championship we're not getting in.
If we want a playoff berth, we need to beat both MSU and OSU on the road. The last time we beat OSU in Colombus was sixteen years ago, MSU, eleven. Any Harbaugh coached team that does that will almost certainly be undefeated to boot :)
The schedule may be easy overall, but the difficulty is concentrated in the worst way for a playoff berth. We will have to earn it.
|16 weeks 2 days ago||Toy Story 3||
Got a little weepy at the end.
|16 weeks 3 days ago||Not sure we'll have snaps for a freshman wideout||
We return our three wideouts from last year, and add some talented guys like Ways and Harris. Then there's MCDOOM in the same boat.
On top of that, we have a huge assortment of blocky/catchy guys who are going to dominate playing time. I would almost bet that our Butt-Bunting-WheatlyJr-Hill sets are more common than three wide (or that when we do we'll flex a TE, probably Butt instead). Barring injury I don't see enough snaps to make up for the cost of their redshirts.
|16 weeks 5 days ago||His writing helped me realize how important line play is||
His continual focus on parts of the game I thought were unimportant helped me understand how the game works and appreciate how much the success or failure of a play or team is dictated by things that happen off-camera, away from the ball. His strokes robbed him and us of that gift.
The Thinking Man's Guide to Football is still around and worth reading, at least, and his SI columns are in the SI Vault. Hang in there Dr.Z!
|16 weeks 5 days ago||You are quite right||
El Dorado features the quote I linked, while Rio Grande has Maureen O'Hara; both are favorites. I think I was typing both in and accidentally tap-select-deleted the first bit.
|17 weeks 2 days ago||96 hours||
Not recommended. It was for the first real death march project I worked on - we overcommitted drastically and ran into a major issue four days before launch. Steve Jobs was flying out to demo the project in another country so we had no real choice but to get it done. So I worked three days and nights to help get it done and sure enough, had a catastrophic failure at launch. We spent the next 24 hours stabilizing the site and I finally just crashed for three hours on the floor of a coworkers cubicle. Woke up feeling worse than before but staggered through the rest of the day until it was fixed, then went home and slept for 16+ hours. Fortunately I had a vacation scheduled for that weekend and didn't have to go back into work until I'd recovered and was able to rationally assess what had gone wrong.
The post-mortared for that project was interesting - about the only time I've ever seen everyone standup and one after another rationally criticize management for biting off way more than we could chew, and the design lead for shoehorning in his pet model despite not needing it for the features we had to deliver. Management took it standing up at least and copped to their errors, and took care to try to mitigate those mistakes in the future. (Which is a big factor in why I still work there.)
|17 weeks 2 days ago||An army hasn't crossed the Rhine in 70+ years||
This is the longest period for which that's been true since the Roman Empire. Whether the EU/EEC or NATO is most responsible for that is an interesting question, but that they both contributed is undeniable. (Hat tip to Charles Stross, "The Unspeakable Truth" at antipope.org.)