Friday, November 22, 2013

ACC Wheel of Destiny is still spinning

One of my family's favorite parts of College Football Final is the ACC Wheel of Destiny.  When the wheel spins, who knows what will happen in the ACC.  Can Duke withstand the wheel?  Would Miami really have withstood VT and Duke without the wheel spinning?  Only the 'Noles have withstood the wheel this season ... or have they?

With a couple weeks left, there still a chance that the Coastal Division could have a five way tie.  UNC and Duke play in the last week of the season.  So assuming Duke gets past Wake Forest, VT beats UVa, Miami beats UVa and Pitt, the season could come down to the UNC - Duke game.  The Victory Bell could be ringing for Duke or ... VT.

If all this holds and there is a five way tie for the Coastal Division, Virginia Tech would get the tie-breaker.  The tie break is the record between the tied teams.  Duke, GT and Miami would all be 2-2, with UNC being 1-3.  That leaves Virginia Tech with wins against GT, Miami, and UNC.

So that's the Wheel when it comes to the Coastal division.  Given the way the season has worked out, a five way tie is the only way the season could end up.  Of course, Miami could lose one of those games, which would then give VT a 2-1 record, Duke a 1-2 record, and GT a 2-1 record.  Here, VT beat GT so, once again VT wins the division.

For completeness, if Duke wins out, they win the division.  GT wins the division if, Duke loses both games, VT loses to UVa and Miami loses to UVa or Pittsburgh.  No scenario give the division to UNC (GT beat both UNC and Duke, lost to VT and Miami).  Miami can win the division if they win out, VT loses to UVa, and Duke loses to either Wake Forest or UNC.

But, this is the ACC, where the Wheel is king!  So, how does the wheel spin onto FSU?  Simple, VT wins the Coastal division.  The Hokies are the best matchup to FSU in the ACC (assuming they show up).  FSU has already beaten Miami (nobody wants to see that again).  GT is good, but they aren't able to keep up with FSU.  Duke is in a renaissance, but they couldn't convert a third down against VT, enough said.

If Virginia Tech shows up and plays the way that they can, like they did against Miami, then they would give FSU a good game.  Virginia Tech's offense is the key, if they can score points, the defense will take care of business.  VT's special teams have been "special" this year which gives an edge back to FSU.  However, what are we really talking about?  We're spinning the wheel, the ACC wheel of DESTINY!  The wheel has sense of reality, point spreads, or history, the wheel spreads chaos.  There's no chaos like FSU losing in the ACC Championship game this year.  Again, enough said.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NASCAR : future or yawn

Okay, so I'm really uninspired by Jimmy Johnson.  Sure, he's a good driver, just about driver says so.  He seems like a nice guy, which even for someone in his circumstances isn't a guarantee (ref a Busch brother, etc).  But he does drive a Chevy and France Jr likes him, so he's got an advantage that's, oh let's say, unquantifiable.

Can we talk?  Let's face it.  I'm a Ford guy.  I drive a Mustang.  I've owned a Ranger and two EXPs.  (Let's just say, Ford should have kept making the EXP.  It's a two-seater Escort.  I was getting 40 miles a gallon in a car back in 1988.  Take that all Prius fans!)  Also, I'm a Richard Petty fan.  He's about the only guy I've every really pulled for.  Petty didn't drive a Ford, but he wasn't a "chosen one" by France either.

So nothing in my NASCAR cred would lend me to pull for JJ.  I guess if I really thought that having yet another guaranteed champion would ensure NASCARs success, then I'd have to be a JJ fan.  Well, I never bought into the JG spiel, so don't think I'm into JJ.  In fact, everyone knows that a surety on decreasing audience share is to have a repeat, repeat, repeat champion.  So, let's face it, JJ winning doesn't help NASCAR.

Having been watching NASCAR races for the better part of over 40 years, I can't tell you when I have cared less for watching the races.  You know who is going to win.  One of Busch, Harvick, Johnson, Gordon is almost assured of winning.  I want the time back in my life that I spent watching the last Texas race because I thought Roush might win one.  Homestead would have been fun to watch except that after watching the first 50-60 laps, I got tired of hearing how JJ was going to win the whole thing and most likely win the race too.

So what could change to help NASCAR?  Stop penalizing the drivers for not expressing complete confidence in NASCAR, a ill word towards a reporter, or, gasp, an angry word at another driver.  I miss drivers with personality.  Oddly enough, I've become a Tony Stewart fan simply because he's not the cookie cutter driver.  There was a commercial a few years ago about Kenseth robots (I think it was Kenseth).  Well, that seems like most drivers.  Check out an interview with Ward Burton, classic gold.  Even Earnhardt was afraid to hit Jimmy Spencer, but if you didn't cross him, you didn't have to worry about it.

Seems like a Busch brother can drive around the track wrecking anyone, but if you appear to be the cause of them wrecking, it's off to the NASCAR official tent for you.  I'm not looking for a bunch of wrecks, I spent my childhood defending the sport and decrying the supposed love of wrecks.  In fact, I won't even watch Daytona or Talladega because all they are is a big wait for a wreck.

Still think France (doesn't matter what the suffix is) doesn't play favorites.  Check out Bill Elliott's career.  The guy won when no other Ford's could win, so what did NASCAR do?  Changed the template on the Ford to make the Chevy's more competitive.  A travesty was the way NASCAR fought to get JG his Winston million.

What do I think France X will do?  I think he'll try to buy more of the speedways.  Owning 33% of the tracks and the series isn't enough control for him.  Oh well!  I guess if I wasn't yawning over the last season, I could figure out a way to end this blog more interestingly.

Monday, November 11, 2013

No Tea for the Republican Party

Ah yes, once again, it's election time and the Republican party is mad at the Tea Party again.  Those silly people think that they can field their candidates and just expect us to help them.  If that last sentence made you wonder which party I was intending in either part of the sentence, I think you actually understand.

For those of you only watching the network news (can't really call them mainstream as they aren't), the Tea in Tea Party stands for Taxed Enough Already.  Continuing to talk to these network news watchers, the Tea Party consists of the most diverse cross section of people that exists in politics.

The allure of the Tea Party is partially the simplicity of it.  They believe that government should operate within the revenue that it already has before adding more taxes onto it.  A secondary goal would be to reduce the amount of money that is required to keep government running, ah, if only.  The simplicity of this argument goes across all demographics.  You don't have to be rich or poor, gay or straight, black or white, Republican or Democrat to benefit from smaller government.

So when the Tea Party started to get movement, people in the Republican party wanted to leverage what the Tea party was doing.  I was in a couple meetings where the attitude was 'hey, they're great, if only they'd do the work for us'.  That's kind of like, noticing that your neighbor is good at making their mortgage payments, so why not try to convince them to make yours too.

So the established party and candidates tried to get the Tea Party to do what they wanted, irrespective of understanding what they were about.  Shocker, the Tea Party figured out that they could sponsor and run candidates in elections too.  The Republicans then think that they have been stabbed in the back.

I supposed if they wanted to, the Tea Party could run candidates in the Democrat primaries.

Microsoft makes me long for paper!

I've enjoyed my run with Microsoft Outlook.  I maintain my contacts happily in Outlook.  I had found it to be a great place to put information about my accounts, including login and other account information.  Then once I could sync it to my phone, it got even better.  However, I guess those times are over.

Years (I mean many years) ago, I used to have an electronic organizer.  Okay, I went through a couple electronic organizers, the next one more cool than the last.  First, there was the one that could dial a number for you into a phone.  So when at the airport using a payphone (oh geez, if I have to explain this ...), I could have the organizer auto dial the number for AT&T, then the number I wanted to call, and finally my account number for the billing.  This tool helped when the cyber thieves actually watched to see what numbers you pressed on the keypad (am I really this old?).

I went from there to a Casio organizer which had a spreadsheet function in it.  So I could keep all my information in there.  Next stop was the Palm 3c which allowed me to edit my information using my computer.  All this seemed so unnecessary once I was able to leverage Outlook and get the information synced onto my phone.  I've found this to be a convenient place to keep information like family social security numbers, drivers license numbers, airline and the like membership numbers, and website login information or at least keys to remember the login information.

Can you imagine!?  One place to put all your information and it gets ported automatically to all the devices that need it.  Plus, if you change the information on a device, it gets updated in Outlook and voila the other devices too.

Or so it did.  I was really looking forward to the Windows 7 phone.  As chronicled in other posts, that turned out to be a big bust.  In order to get the information from my computer to the phone, I had to sync to the Microsoft website (hotmail).  Well, can't tell you how excited I was to think of all that information that I kept in Outlook on the web.  So, I didn't do that.

What I did do, was determine what phone platforms could sync to an Outlook client.  It turns out that the Apple iPhone and Android devices could do it, but not a Windows device.  (Last I checked Outlook was still sold by Microsoft.)  So I went to an Android device, which I've liked much better than my Windows 7 phone.

Now, I've purchased a Windows 8 laptop to replace my Windows 7 laptop which I thought was slowly dying.  Fortunately, I've figured out what was wrong with my Win 7 laptop, so I'm good.  Thankfully, because I really don't think the Win 8 platform is very user friendly.  Now, don't get me wrong, I've been using Win 8 for about two years.  I have a development machine which had a developer beta copy and now has dual boot to both Win 7 & Win 8.  I also have a few tablets around the house that have Win 8 on it.

However the requirement to use a Microsoft login in order to use the laptop is just simply over the top.  I installed 8.1 on it, and have regretted it ever since.  The way that the apps get installed and customized is very different.  There are also a few other issues, but the whole Microsoft login issue just riles me up.  I created a local login, but in order to access the store I have to log into my Microsoft login and get a code sent to my cell phone EVERY TIME.  Once, I could understand, but no, it's EVERY TIME.

So now I have to figure out what I'm going to do with my contact information.  I'm not about to put all that info on the web.  I'll have to scrub my outlook as well before I can even port it over to the new laptop.  Then it hit me, there is a solution which will keep the cyber crooks at bay.  I can put all that information into a notebook.  No, not a notebook computer, a notebook notebook, you know, the kind that comes from trees.  Yeah, I think I've finally got my answer.

Monday, November 4, 2013

How many drummers do we need?

Recently, there was a discussion about how people should be free to do whatever they want and society should support this.  My immediate thought was that if everyone gets to do whatever they want "to benefit society", you have to ask, how many drummers do we need?

I have several friends who consider themselves to be drummers.  While a couple are pretty good, they aren't currently good enough to generate enough of an income to even pay for their cell phone bill.  A couple even play in bands, it's what they truly love doing.  Of course, they have other income streams that actually pay the bills.

Given the popularity of the 'Rock Band', 'Guitar Hero' (and DJ Hero, really?) and other similar games, it seems that there are even more of us who would really like to spend their time playing instruments for a living.  Look at the number of people who turn out for the 'Voice' and 'Idol', plus how many other TV shows are in a similar vein.  In addition, have you even heard some of these people who claim that singing is their passion and it sounds like nails across the blackboard!

Lots of people want to work for certain types of organizations, sport teams, iconic organizations, for example.  I recently worked in the wine industry and that is another industry that seems to attract people.  However, the number of these organizations is small in the universe of companies.

Do you really think we could get someone to WANT to man the register at the local Burger King which is next to the local high school?  The line gets long, the kids are snarky, and the adults are annoyed (and annoying).  I always feel sorry for the cashier when I forget and go in there around lunch time.

We already have enough problems with 'jobs American's won't do' which basically consists of working in the fields bringing in the crops.  Do you really think that we'd have less of a problem if only those people who WANT to do this, did it?

No, it would be harder.  We'd have less production of food since less people would be working there.  Still, there are a number of people in this country that think we should move in that direction.  Of course, if all I wanted to do was drum ....

Friday, November 1, 2013

Obama: It's okay for me but not for you!

So there are two things that are for sure when it comes to President Obama.  He hasn't done anything wrong and President Bush (pick one) did nothing right.  His time in the Senate gave him plenty of time to criticize the president and presidential powers.  However, with himself as president, he's happy as a clam doing anything he wants with 'Executive Privilege'.

My feeling is that he's one of those people who thinks that they can do well what others cannot.  (Find a lot of these people in political office!  My favorite is Fed Chief Bernanke who's macro economics book warns against doing just about everything he did while Fed Chairman.)  Bush didn't care about people, Bush didn't wage war correctly, Bush didn't torture terrorists right (or was that enough).  Ah but Sen. Obama as President would change all that.  Countries would respect us again.

So what happened when President Obama took office.  Hmmm, he didn't close Guantanamo Bay and we're still in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Seems like just about everything that he complained about Pres. Bush, he's still doing, plus some.

Is it possible that he's got another motive?  We know that he never really tells us what he's planning on doing.  (He tells the SEIU and other unions when he meets with them in private, just listen to the leaked speeches.)

My guess is simple.  He wants to leverage all the executive power for himself, but at the same time try to implement ways of removing those 'privileges' for future presidents.  Of course, he's smart enough to handle such power (just ask him), but no one else should be allowed such power.

His willing accomplices in Congress (particularly the Senate) have turned a blind eye to his transgresses of Executive Power.  I'm sure near the end of his presidency, we'll start to see a change in that attitude which will take effect only once He is gone.