Saturday, April 28, 2007

Screwed That One Up

Well, the 16th pick has come and gone. Justin Harrell is now a Green Bay Packer, and Brady Quinn is still on the board at the 20th pick. F*ck.

We passed up Quinn, linebacker help, safety help, wideout help, and offensive line help. Good job Ted. Even if you were committed to interior D-Line help, at least Alan Branch from Michigan was healthy for his career, and more productive.

Two things from ESPNs coverage. First, they have to address the HiDef issues. Placing graphics on for standard viewing is all fine and dandy, but it sucks for this. HiDef channels are just that - their own channels. Hire another set of graphics peeps, and run HiDef programming. Also, over half the clips of the college players you're showing were filmed in HiDef. Get someone off their ass, have them find it, and put it on your 'hi-def' channel. Really, running a TV network shouldn't get f*cked up as much as it does over at ESPN.

They were kind enough to put this graphic up for me.

Who the hell is Frank Walker??? If he's the best addition the Packers picked up, they're in ALOT of trouble.

Here's another great pic from ESPN today... seems Packer fans weren't too happy with the pick.

Well, you can't tell by the picture, but Nort is angry on the inside. I'm disgruntled as you can see... and I have no idea what Will was doing at Lambeau for the draft party.

***the best part about that pic... those were kids in the front row that were booing the pick )***

So You're Saying There's A Chance!!!!!

It's 1:30pm and.......

Quinn's still on the board at the 13th pick!!!!!!

And the bills took Lynch, the RB that everyone thought the Packers would take with the 12th pick.... so now we HAVE to take Quinn!!!

Christmas In April

It's been almost four months since the last meaningful college football game ( the Senior Bowl doesn't count - although I like the cameras on the sidelines, and microphones in the huddles ). But in a few hours, it's Christmas in April for me, as the NFL draft begins.

It works two-fold for me. I love NFL football, and really love college football. So not only do I get to watch NFL teams make additions to their futures, I've spent the last few years watching these players. Will can tell you what Josh Howard's free throw percentage was for the month of February for the games that the Mavericks were on the road.... Nort can tell you how many yards the leading receiver for the '86 Packers had..... and I can tell you where he went to college. That's my talent in this life.

And while I randomly picked '86.... without looking it up... I'll guess the receiver was Lofton ( unless he left by then, but I'm not sure..... Nort will reply with who it was )... but I do know that he went to Stanford.

So knowing full well that I will be completely wrong about the rest of what I'm about to type.... here's my thoughts/predictions on what will be the first two and a half hours of the draft. For those of you not familiar with the draft, that means I'm really only going to talk about the first few picks or so. They get fifteen minutes per pick, so it tends to drag on for the first round.

Pick 1 - Oakland -
Oakland is in a world of hurt, and they're not putting the band-aid on yet, even hours before the draft. Most of the time, by now, we know who the first pick is. Teams that own the first pick are allowed to negotiate with players prior to the draft, and can ink them ahead of time. Oakland hasn't done that yet. Consensus is they'll take strong armed JaMarcus Russell of LSU to play QB for the next decade. The O-line is a mess, and Russell's work ethic has been called into question - which is never good if you're a QB that might be taken number one. WR Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech is BY FAR the best pure football player in the draft, and Al Davis loves wideouts.
What they will do: Draft JaMarcus Russell, QB LSU
What they should do: Calvin Johnson, WR Georgia Tech
The learning curve is too steep at this level, and Russell will get pounded. I accept the argument that drafting Johnson is no good if you don't have anyone to throw to him... but I just think passing on Johnson is silly. See if a marginal QB becomes available in June when the cuts come down, and ride out a year, and draft a QB high next year. Russell wasn't much on the radar at the start of the year, and now he's toted as the #1 pick. He's got the athleticism, sure, but he was on a loaded LSU team. Other notable QB's that came out of college with rocket arms and decent mobility include; Kyle Boller, Patrick Ramsey, Mike Vick, Jay Cutler, JP Losman, Joey Harrington, and Ryan Leaf. Not a list Russell would like to end up on.

Pick 2 - Lions -
Where to the jokes begin? The Lions have taken over as the laughing stock of the NFL. It seems like they've been picking in the top five for the last decade. They infamously took WRs with top five picks for three consecutive seasons............ and they might take another one this year. With Russell most likely going number one, Johnson will fall to number two. I swear to goodness, I made a joke to Nort in October about the Lions taking Johnson, and I had to explain to Nort who he was.
What they will do: Draft Johnson ( but not hang on to him for long. They'll either trade the pick, or Johnson before the day is over ).
What they should do: Draft Johnson, and keep him.
You've got Kitna, McCown and Orlovsky ( from Connecuitt ) at QB, and while they're not barn burners, Kitna isn't a pile of shit either. Two of the three aforementioned WR have been busts, but Roy Williams is turning out to be pretty solid. Johnson would be a great addition to him, and help take pressure off the deep backfield that has Duckett, Jones, Calhoun and Caseon. The last caveat is that drafting Joe Thomas, left tackle from Wisconsin would be a very good pick for them here, if Johnson goes number one.

Pick 3 - Browns -
Consensus is that they'll take Adrian Peterson, RB Oklahoma. I can't much disagree with this pick. They're under alot of fire in Cleveland, and they've got a whole bunch question marks at RB. They did sign the fantasy league killer in Jamal Lewis, but he's not a long term answer. Peterson comes in with ALOT of hype, and he won't be the next LT or LJ.... but he'll be good.
What they will do: Draft Peterson
What they should do: Draft Peterson
Yeah, this one seems too logical for me - so here's five bucks saying it won't go down this way.

From here, I'll spare you the details, but here's my thoughts on the rest of the first half.

Pick 4 - Tampa Bay - Trade down
Pick 4 - Falcons/From Tampa Bay - LaRon Landry, S, LSU
Pick 5 - Cardinals - Joe Thomas, T, Wisconsin
Pick 6 - Redskins - Trade down
Pick 6 - Dolphins/From Redskins - Brady Quinn, QB, ND
Pick 7 - Vikings - Nobody. They don't get the card up in time.
Pick 7 - Tampa Bay/From Falcons - Levi Brown, T, PSU
Pick 8 - Redskins/From Dolphins - Jamall Anderson, DE, Arkansas
Pick 9 - Vikings finally get the card in. - Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
Pick 10 - Texans - Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson

I mock the Vikings, but if they Quinn doesn't fall to them, they'll take Okoye wherever they pick. Yes, I realize that two trades in the top ten picks is NOT likely, but they're my damn predictions. No, I don't plan on getting many of them right. That's why I like watching the draft.

As for the Packers, since they won't trade up to get Quinn, I think they'll take Lynch, the RB out of Cal. Once Favre retires, both our QB and RB will have gone to college together. And we all know what kind of powerhouse Cal is. Woo hoo.

Well, now I'm just getting ornery. Bed time peeps. If you're not doing anything tomorrow, you can come watch the draft in HiDef on the 56 inch screen. It'll be fun, I promise!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Free Market Enterprise???

For the three readers of mine that aren't from the great state of Wisconsin, let me introduce you to our Governor, Jim Doyle.

I don't even know where to start, but I wanted to touch on one major topic. Before we get to that, I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss his budget plan for 2007. Doyle's budget calls for an increase of TWO BILLION dollars in revenue by 2008.

Not a total revenue... but an INCREASE of two billllllllllllion dollars. ( tell me those two pictures don't look alike ) In just two years. He has also vowed to raise this money without placing additional burdens on the Wisconsin public. We're already one of the highest taxed states in the nation. For years, Wisconsin ranked as the fourth highest taxed state in the country, only behind Maine, New York, and Hawaii. This past year, we've slipped to seventh, and apparently, Doyle can't pay his bills on that low of an income.

An increase of two billion dollars in revenue to the Wisconsin public means that there will be an average out of pocket cost of $400 per Wisconsinite. That's in addition to the taxes we're already paying!

How is he going to get this money you ask? Well, in a deft political move, he's going to tax, and surcharge various things that are politically unpopular. There's going to be a dollar increase in the cigarette tax. Everyone likes that, smokers pay more, so maybe they quit - and those that can't quit will keep funding the tax. There's increases on hunting and fishing fees, the drivers license fee is going up, the car registration fee is going up, and there's going to be a tax on oil companies. This we'll get to.

Nick had a good article about when is a tax not a tax..... but I'm still staggered at a billion dollar a year increase for two years. Where does the money go? As of 2005, Wisconsin was spending over 1.34 billion dollars a year already to run the state. We need to double that by 2008? To pay for what????

And while you can argue forever on what government SHOULD spend our money on, or how much they should spend...... I can't get over how they choose where the money comes from. A tax on smokers. Think the smokers feel that's fair? Smoking is not good for you, but it's not illegal. Too much alcohol isn't good for you, but there's no 'drinking' tax. ( I really hope I didn't give Doyle another idea there, cuz a 'drinking' tax would suck ballz ) Or the tax on oil companies. Doyle says he's doing that because the oil companies had 'record' profits over the last few years. He's trying to insist that he can legislate that the tax won't be passed onto the consumer. A new report says that won't be that easy.

Being in the transportation industry, I'd like to see that the tax won't get passed on to my company, or the general public... but the larger issue for me is WHY the oil companies? Think of how many companies had 'record' profits last year. All that means is that you had a higher profit than in the past. Oil companies are showing record profits, largely because we're consuming ALOT more gas. That's not their fault, so why are they going to be penalized over that?

My company is young, but if we stay on track, we'll post a record profit for 2007. And it would seem inconceivable to not post a record profit for 2008. It's a silly example, because we didn't set up shop until 2006, but an example none-the-less. How is my taking advantage of a free market, and trying to make as much profit as I can, any different than what the oil companies are doing?

We're in the transportation industry, and the short version is that we ship stuff. Currently, 70% of our business is transporting medical specimens. Over 90% of our business comes from the medical fields ( the 20% comes from x-rays, medical records, non-stat/non bio stuff ). We found a niche here in the area that other companies were avoiding. And we're doing really well with it. June will be one year into it, and we're ahead of schedule. We've got more vehicles and employees than we'd thought we'd have at this point, and no intention of slowing down.

So do I have to worry that down the road, Doyle will give me a tax that I can't pass on to my customers, just because I'm posting record profits? ( maybe I should work for Doyle, and just keep giving him all these bad ideas ). If you do it to Big Oil, then don't you have to tax the tech industry? Or how about the banking industry that is doing pretty well these days? ( the Dow just passed 13,000 today. seems like some hedge fund managers are making record profits these days too ) It's a friggin joke. People don't like high gas prices, so that makes Big Oil 'evil'. But they're not evil, they're a business. Period.

Here's an idea for Doyle. How bout you forget the extra $2 billion dollars over the next few years... and even cut down on the $1.4 billion we're already spending in the state? If Doyle can get us down to around the middle of the pack of tax rates for the states... maybe my company can hire some more employees, and help out the economy. We'd be able to buy more vehicles, and contribute to the economy, and help a car dealership hire more employees. Maybe if the existing gas tax ( and the stupid fact that we have to have reformulated gas here ) were lessened, we could charge a little less for routes, and we'd see a large increase in new business. New business would allow us to hire more employees, thus helping the economy...... and so on.

But silly me. I think that government should try to spend as LITTLE as possible. Most of the time, politics really makes me want to puke.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gone Fishing

A news piece came out from this week about how Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas is choosing to decline an invite to attend the annual draft hoopla, and instead continue a tradition of going fishing with his father on draft day.

Apparently Mel Kiper of ESPN was interviewing Thomas on the subject the other day, and basically berated him for not going. You DON'T have to go. I'm sure there are things that are fun during the weekend, but let the large man be. I'm also sure that he'll have his cell phone with him, so he can be called by one of the top 5 teams when the time comes.

Oh, and btw, the article does contain a pretty unflattering picture of Thomas scratchin his nutz. But when you're as big as him, I guess you can pretty much abide by the rule, "if they itch, scratch 'em".

What A Week

Some random thoughts, and some ramblings off those thoughts from the week that was. Normally, this would fall under the "Safety Tips" entry - but some of this will be too long to keep in bullet point form..... this may be a long one.

I had a rough estimate of a post regarding MY week that was, but then the world started coming apart at the seams. I did have a rough week.... but if you really look at it.... in perspective it wasn't that bad. More on my week in a bit.

First two stories that ended up being intertwined, and both are pretty fucked up. The Duke lacrosse players were exonerated this week, after almost a year of living with false accusations against them. This, in and of itself is nothing like the second story of Don Imus getting canned for saying something stupid. But there is an interesting common ground.

The Duke players, who were accused of raping an exotic dancer at a house party, were cleared of all charges against them. They steadfastly held to their innocence, but in the court of public opinion, were found guilty about thirty seven minutes after the case went public. Did I think they were guilty? I paid only moderate attention to the case, but if push came to shove, I prolly would have bet that they were guilty.

I would have been guilty of making a snap judgement on the boys. My pre-judgement was that they were spoiled rich kids, and athletes with a sense of entitlement. Just because I don't like their basketball team, does NOT mean I can make gross generalizations about everyone that goes there. I've only known one person that went to Duke, and I thought the world of her. I worked with her at a restaurant, and she was the antithesis of what I assumed Duke students were like. But these were boys, and worse yet, athletes. Stories of the good that athletes do never make it to press, only the bad things. So it wouldn't be a stretch to put them in the 'bad' category without a second thought.

But while they may have shown poor judgement in bringing a stripper to a house where college students would be consuming copious amounts of alcohol - they didn't do anything near what they were accused of. And yet, they've been paying for it, and worse, ever since. Their teammates even faced the wrath, as the 2006 season was cancelled for the WHOLE team. Fair, prolly not, but that was the choice of the administrators. This won't end with their "my bad" from the DAs office. People have already labeled them as the Duke rapists, and public perception is about as easy to change as it is to keep Al Sharpton away from a camera.

Ah, good ol' Al. Al, and his cohort Jesse Jackson ran SO fast to the defense of the girl, that Al even forgot to put in hair gel that day. Jackson even went so far to offer to pay the girl's way through college. These were affluent WHITE men, who attacked a working-class BLACK girl. How dare they! Nevermind that her story changed more times than Peyton Manning has appeared in a commercial. Nevermind that there was no DNA match to any lacrosse player found. But, like the Tawana Brawley case, that didn't matter. This was a black girl attacked by white men.

Now that we know they didn't do anything wrong, Al and Jesse have left these boys waiting for an apology. They used the case to advance their own agendas, and used the boys as props. I'd even guess now that they found their next sacrificial lamb, they don't even think about the Duke boys anymore.

Their next lamb was Don Imus. I never listened to Imus, but I knew who he was. All I knew was that he was some old dude on the radio, that had a history of pushing the envelope as a shock-jock. Well, the world got to know Imus after he said something really, really, really, really stupid about the Rutgers women's basketball team. But unlike Al and Jesse, Imus apologized. Like TWO HUNDRED times. Imus even went on Sharpton's radio show to talk about the issue, and apologize there. Imus agreed to meet with the team, and apologized to them in person.

They accepted his apology. Should be end of story, right? I mean, c'mon, the people he offended accepted his apology. Let's move on right? Nope. Al and Jesse want Imus fired. And they got their wish.

Was he wrong for what he said? Hell yes. You don't get that far in a career without being smart, and what he did for that moment was unbelievably stupid. But he apologized to Al, to the public, and most importantly, to the people he offended. If he did all that, and the Rutgers team accepted, why does he need to be fired? Punished, yes. Fired, no. Sharpton and Jackson needed something to stay in the limelight, and fight a battle the wrong way. Both of these stories should have had feel-good endings to them. The Duke boys get cleared, and they get to work on returning to normal lives. Imus apologized, and learned his lesson. Race relations can move on, because now there's one less old white codger who will think before he speaks again. But neither of those scenarios play out, because Sharpton and Jackson don't like those endings.

From there, we look at what happened in Virgina. That is a tragedy of the most epic proportion. If the next 60 years of my life are ANYTHING like the last 30 years, I will never understand what it will be like to have to experience something like that. People far smarter and better than I are more equipped to talk about how life can move forward after something like that, and I hope I echo everyone else when I say that my prayers are with everyone associated with Virgina Tech.

But even now, less than 36 hours after the tragedy, we're confronted with a cloning effect of what we just talked about above. Talking heads are using this indescribable tragedy to advance their own cause. "We need to ban guns! We need better security! We need to profile!" Everyone needs to just shut the fuck up right now. Nick says kinda the same thing, and I can't agree more. Using this horror to advance your own agenda RIGHT now, well, that makes me not give a shit about your agenda.

Aside from death and taxes, one other certainty is that sometimes, you just have no fucking control over what happens to you. There is absolutely no level of control, level of security, or amount of safety measures you can put in place to make you 100% safe. A meteor could hit your house while you sleep tonight. An extreme example, for sure, but being completely safe is a fallacy. It's just not possible.

And it's even worse when you add a human element. The Virgina massacre was not a terrorist attack, but that of a lone mad man ( at least at the time of this posting only one individual is linked, they haven't said if any of his friends knew about it ). The trouble with people like this - and this includes the terrorists - is that if someone is willing to end their own life, they will find a way around any security measure. Choosing to end your own life is the ultimate trump card. Someone that hell bent on causing mass chaos, so determined that he's decided to end his own life, is someone that will find a way. Not a pleasant thought I know, but it's a cold reality of this world.

Can we be safe? Sure. Just not 100% safe. Can we be safer? That's the goal. But do NOT use events like this to push your own agenda. This was a tragedy, and should be treated as such.

Which really puts my week in perspective. I was not happy about being on call 24 hours a day for nine straight days. I wasn't happy about being up till 7 am one day during the week. I wasn't happy about being a man short at work all week. I wasn't happy about missing football for work. It was a very hard work week. Someday I'll post more about what I do, and while it's not physically stressful, it can be tough work at times. We're a young company, and I was left in charge for the week. I did it very well, and I worked very hard to make sure everything got done. And I wasn't happy about how tired I was at the end of the nine days.

But you know what?

No one's accused me of rape.

People aren't wrongly saying I should be fired.

And I'm still alive.

I'm sure in the future, I'll bitch about stressful things, or complain about things that in the grand scheme of things don't really matter. But this week, of all weeks, I'm doing pretty well.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. This was one of those posts where I just started typing, and this is what I got.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Yup, These Are My Girls

Had the conference indoor meet this past week, and Bob came out to get some pictures. I had planned on using them as a tool with the girls to show them what they're doing in the air. In the interest of humor, I've uploaded some ones of them NOT doing what I taught them.

I actually do know what I'm doing, and got a 2nd, 5th, and 7th place out of my girls that night. Thankfully, they didn't look like these all night.

This one's not so bad, just bring the pole in closer to zero, and it won't be as much work up top to get over.

This one and the next one are not from the same height. If she'd just turn, it wouldn't be so freakin hard to get over.

At least she's consistently NOT turning.

This one turns so much, she starts to helicopter.

But then ever so often, they almost get it just right.

For a cool look at the textbook way to vault, here's a clip of one of the best...sorry, I can't do anything about the music. The guy in the blue shirt at the ten seconds into the clip is jumping at 5.95 meters, or 19 feet, six inches.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Only Took Thirteen Years

I finally saw "The Shawshank Redemption".

Say, you know, that's a pretty good movie.

It took me forever to see "Boyz in the Hood", and now this. Maybe if I wait a decade to see a movie, every movie will turn out good.

Well, maybe if Ben Affleck stops acting that might work.